Ask Jeeves Buys ETour Assets

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Ask Jeeves has acquired key assets of Internet and direct marketing firm eTour for an undisclosed amount of cash, the search engine company said yesterday.


ETour, founded in 1999, describes itself as a personal guide for touring the Web.


Among the assets that Ask Jeeves bought are:


· The eTour.com Web property, with more than 4.5 million registered users.


· ETour's direct Web site delivery engine.


· A proprietary direct e-mail marketing technology with 2.2 million unique newsletter subscribers.


· A registration system that can leverage demographic information to deliver specific content.


· More than 230 vertical Web site tours.


· An established advertiser base.


Ask Jeeves, Emeryville, CA, said it made the move in order to expand its targeted advertising products while providing a broader set of relevant search results to its users.


Through eTour.com's delivery engine, Ask Jeeves users will be able to receive a set of vertically oriented Web sites tailored to their interests. Ask Jeeves will operate the eTour.com site.


By the fourth quarter, Ask Jeeves expects to have fully integrated eTour's direct Web site delivery engine into its own site. That will include more than 230 vertical Web site tours that eTour developed and maintained.


Ask Jeeves said that in addition to enhancing the Ask.com user experience, it expects the purchase to add new revenue streams to the Ask Jeeves Properties division.


Ask Jeeves also plans to use eTour's e-mail marketing technology, coupled with its registered user base, to provide advertisers with a targeted audience and a suite of direct e-mail marketing products.


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