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January 17, 2006


Mark Johnson

I'd expect some consolidation in 2006, though it's not clear to me who might buy a travel search engine (TSE). Farechase was bought by Yahoo in 2004, but it's fallen behind Kayak and SideStep since then. Kayak's deal with AOL and Google's attempt at travel search suggest that a portal might buy a TSE, but I think AOL is the only candidate. An online travel agent (Orbiz, Travelocity, Expedia) is unlikey, because they can't figure out how CPA/CPC would alter their merchandise revenue stream. A comparison shopping site might be a good fit, but the complexities of partner relationships in travel are a shift from their usual business. I'm still hoping for a SideStep IPO in late 2006 or 2007!


I m not sure why there is so much value to a meta-data search engines. Whether its a travel or normal search. They are easy and cheap to program and there is nothing impossible involved there. The main factor is adaption. I guess that is why everyone pays for their acquisition. So considering this, Side Step should be aggresive about adaption more than anything else. I think they did pretty decent job beside being a application rather than just web page search.

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