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"Retooling" IAC's search engine to be a better discrimination gatekeeper model

The NYT continues its leading coverage of the search business with its article today on "The Retooling of a search engine." The article describes what I call IAC's discrimination and gatekeeper plan to turn around and to make it a more popular and valauable search engine. 

Barry Diller, the head of IAC, has shrewdly collected many popular Internet sites, like Ticketmaster, Citysearch, HSN (Home Shopping Network), Evite, and, and ihas said publicly that they will more tightly integrating these popular sites with's search engine. This is a classic gatekeeper model, which creates value by skewing search results to their home-owned sites. Now this is also called vertical integration, which is legal and has many benefits for consumers. To be clear, I believe vertical integration like this is just fine.

It is instructive to note however, that IAC strongly supports net neutrality regulation of only broadband companies -- not all potential Internet gatekeeper models like themselves -- a very self-serving policy stance. So what does this mean in practice on Â 

  • If someone searches for the keyword "dating" on the search results put the home-owned site in 3 of the top fourteen listings and before well-known competitor which shows up as lowly number 15. Is IAC's search engine algorithm discriminating against well-known competitor

The more appropriate question is why is it neutral and OK for IAC/ to actively discriminate against content and applications, which is by the way directly against the FCC's net neutrality principles which also apply to IAC, but it is not ok for a broadband company to have the same freedom that IAC has?

  • If the counter is that only has 5.8% percent market share, then why did IAC suppport net neutrality legislation that applied to free or new broadband companies that have little market share?
    • Could it be that IAC is asking for the Government to protect the search business from competition?
    • Could it be that is "degrading" eHarmony's access to the Net audience against the FCC's first ne neutrality principle?

Lastly, kudos to the NYT for exposing that is functionally just a lapdog of Google as "The alliance with Google, which serves up about 60% of all the ads on Ask, will end next year."  Maybe Google is propping up to make it appear that the search engine business is more competitive than it really is?

  • FYI: according to the article, Score Media Matrix as of October has Google with 45.4% of all searches, Yahoo with 28.2%, Microsoft with 11.7% and with 5.8%. In other words, a very concentrated industry by antitrust standards.  Â Ã‚