LookSmart is an American search advertising, content management,[2] online media, and technology company. It provides search, machine learning and chatbot technologies[3] as well as pay-per-click and contextual advertising services.

LookSmart
LookSmart logo.png
Founded
  • 1995 (1995) (as Homebase)
  • October 1996 (as LookSmart)[1]
HeadquartersHenderson, Nevada, United States
Founder(s)
URLlooksmart.com Edit this at Wikidata

LookSmart also licenses and manages search ad networks as white-label products. It abides by the click measurement guidelines of the Interactive Advertising Bureau.[4]

LookSmart also owns several subsidiaries, including Clickable Inc., LookSmart AdCenter, Novatech.io, ShopWiki[5] and Syncapse.[6]

The current CEO of LookSmart is Michael Onghai[7] and the company is headquartered in Henderson, Nevada.[8]

EtymologyEdit

The name "LookSmart" is a double entendre, referring to both its selective, editorially compiled directory and as a compliment to users whom the company thinks "look smart".[9]

HistoryEdit

1995–1998Edit

LookSmart was founded as Homebase in 1995 in Melbourne, Australia by husband and wife Evan Thornley and Tracy Ellery, executives of McKinsey & Company.[2] Reader's Digest invested $5 million in the company for an 80% stake.[2] The original concept of Homebase was to build a female and family-friendly web portal to supplement the Reader's Digest magazine.[2] After leadership and strategy changes at Reader's Digest, which reduced RD's focus on its online business, RD wanted to shut down Homebase, which would have cost $4 million in payouts and other termination costs.[2] The founders and former McKinsey's employee Martin Hosking instead proposed a cheaper leveraged buyout of Homebase.[2]

On 28 October 1996, the company launched its LookSmart search engine.[10] At launch, the search engine listed more than 85,000 sites and had a "Java-enhanced" interface.[10] In June 1997, the search engine underwent a major redesign, dropping its original Java-based browsing system.[11]

LookSmart was sold back to the founders as well as Martin Hosking through a leveraged buyout in 1998, with Reader's Digest providing a $1.5 million loan and retaining about a 10% equity stake.[2][12] Also in 1998, a search box was added to the LookSmart search engine along with People Search, Yellow pages, Discussions and shopping search.[13] In May 1998, the company raised $2.3 million from Amwin and $6.0 million from Cox Media Group and Macquarie Bank and was valued at $23.3 million.[2] On 21 December 1998, LookSmart stopped accepting pornographic advertisements.[14]

1999–2001Edit

By 1999, the company had 500 employees and LookSmart was the twelfth most visited website worldwide with 10 million users, behind AltaVista and ahead of Snap.[2] In early-1999, the company reached an agreement to provide directory and listing services for Microsoft for 5 years. The deal provided the company with $30 million upfront and guaranteed payments of $5 million per year.[2][15] In late-March 1999, the company raised $59.6 million based on a post-money valuation of $430 million from Amerindo Investment Advisors, Citicorp Equity Capital, Cox Interactive Media, Hambrecht & Quist and others.[2][16] In May 1999, LookSmart formed a strategic partnership with direct-response marketing company Guthy-Renker and acquired some of their assets from their e-commerce division for $3 million.[17][18]

On 20 August 1999, during the dot-com bubble, the company became a public company via an initial public offering on the NASDAQ, debuting at $12 per share and raising $92.4 million based on a $1 billion valuation for the company.[2][19] LookSmart used the money it made from its IPO to open offices in Denmark, Canada and the Netherlands.[20] By October 1999, the stock price reached $30 per share, giving the company a market capitalization of $2.5 billion.[20] The founders' 15% stake was worth $375 million.[21] On 10 November 1999, LookSmart and BT Group founded joint venture BT LookSmart.[22][23] In December 1999, LookSmart purchased FutureCorp and its free email service Start for more than $5 million from its co-founders Michael Mak and Bardia Housman.[24] Also in December, LookSmart acquired 14.5% of the voting stock of Dstore Pty Ltd. for $300,000.[25]

In 2000, FindArticles, a website which provided access to articles previously published in magazines, journals, and other sources, was founded[26][27][28] as a partnership between LookSmart, which authored the search technology, and the Gale Group, which provided the articles for a fee.[29][30][31]

In March 2000, LookSmart's stock price briefly peaked at $72 per share.[12][32] On 28 March 2000, the International Olympics Committee (IOC) signed a sponsorship deal with LookSmart by adding a custom-built LookSmart directory to the Olympic Games' website.[33] On 30 May 2000, Juno Online Services reached an agreement with LookSmart to provide Juno's subscribers access to LookSmart's directory and LookSmart's stock jumped 8%.[34] On 26 July 2000, AltaVista reached an agreement with LookSmart for it to be their exclusive directory provider.[35] In October 2000, the company acquired Zeal for $20 million.[36][37]

As a result of the dot-com bubble bursting in late 2000, the company fired 172 employees or 31% of its staff in January 2001 to cut costs.[38] Also in January, LookSmart shut down Inside The Web and LookSmart Live! due to them being unrelated to their core business model.[18] On 17 January 2001, the company reached a deal to provide product categories from its directory to Amazon.[39]

Also after the dot-com bubble burst, LookSmart paid $90,000 to transfer 52.8% of its ownership of FutureCorp back to its founders.[24][25]

2002–2003Edit

On 12 March 2002, LookSmart announced that they would be acquiring WiseNut for about $9.25 million in stock.[40] LookSmart completed their acquisition of WiseNut in April.[41] In June 2002, Thornley resigned as CEO but stayed on as chairman[42] and three of the seven members of the board of directors resigned in response, including Robert Ryan, Myriann Byerwalter and James Tananbaum.[42][43] In July 2002, BT LookSmart acquired UK Plus from Associated New Media (ANM) for an undisclosed amount.[44][45] On 1 October 2002, Jason Kellerman became the CEO of LookSmart, having previously served as COO of the company.[46] In early-December 2002, LookSmart paid US$3.5 million in cash and 1 million in LookSmart shares to purchase BT LookSmart from BT Group and subsequently shut down the joint venture.[47] LookSmart also returned US$1.5 million in restricted cash that was to be used for the funding of the joint venture.[47]

In January 2003, LookSmart acquired Intellectual property rights from Grub for $1.3 million in cash and stock.[48] On 6 March 2003, LookSmart announced that they had renewed an agreement with Time Warner Cable's Road Runner division to continue providing directory listings for Road Runner subscribers.[49] On 9 July 2003, LookSmart announced that they had reached an agreement to provide listing services in the United States for web portal Terra Lycos.[50]

In August 2003, LookSmart stated in a financial report that Microsoft, which accounted for 64% of the company's listing revenues in the last 6 months and 70% of the company's overall revenue, started testing its own search technology without LookSmart's listings on some of its websites in the United Kingdom and LookSmart's stock dropped more than 20% on 15 August and continued dropping on 18 August.[51][52] Also in August, William Lonergan became the new CFO of LookSmart.[53] In October 2003, LookSmart reintroduced its bid-for-placement ads in order to compete with Google and Yahoo!, which were previously offered through LookSmart's UK division.[54] On 6 October 2003, Microsoft announced that it would not renew its agreement with LookSmart and the company's stock price plunged 52.3% in a day and its stock fell to $1.44 per share.[51][55][56] In response to this, LookSmart fired half of its employees in December 2003.[57]

In September 2003, the company settled a lawsuit filed in May 2002 by Legal Staffing Partners after the company converted thousands of websites that originally had paid a onetime submission fee into a cost-per-click payment model.[2][58]

In 2003, LookSmart had a net income of $5.8 million and made $140.9 million in revenue.[59]

2004–2009Edit

In January 2004, LookSmart sold its Australian operations to Telstra's online division Sensis and most of LookSmart's 30 employees in Australia started working for Sensis.[21] Also in January, Jason Kellerman resigned as CEO of LookSmart and was temporarily replaced as CEO by Damian Smith.[60] Starting on 15 January 2004, LookSmart's directory listings were no longer shown on MSN Search.[55] In April 2004, LookSmart acquired Net Nanny from BioNet Systems, LLC for $5.3 million in stock and cash.[61] On 1 July 2004, Teresa Dial replaced Thornley as chairman of the company.[62]

In 2005, LookSmart was forced to consolidate its shares after facing suspension from the NASDAQ.[32] On 15 March 2005, LookSmart had a market cap of $96.21 million and its stock price was at $0.85 per share.[63] In May 2005, LookSmart started providing Ask.com with its sponsored listings.[64] On 28 March 2006, LookSmart closed the Zeal directory.[65]

In January 2007, ContentWatch Inc. acquired Net Nanny from LookSmart.[66] John Simonelli, the CFO and COO of LookSmart, resigned in June 2007.[67][68] On 17 July 2007, the company sold Grub to Wikia[69] for $50,000.[37] On 1 August 2007, David Hills resigned as CEO of LookSmart and Edward West was appointed CEO the same day.[70] Also in August, LookSmart's management made the decision to exit consumer products and sell or dispose of their websites and assets associating with their consumer properties revenue stream.[37] Further developments in 2007 included Michael Grubb resigning as CTO of LookSmart on 7 September 2007,[71] LookSmart closing WiseNut in late-September,[72][73] the company delisting from the Australian Securities Exchange on 1 October,[74] the company selling Zeal on 15 October for $50,000,[37] the company selling FindArticles to CNET Networks on 9 November for $20.5 million,[37][75][76] and William Bush being appointed CFO of LookSmart on 20 December.[77]

On 14 January 2009, LookSmart had a market cap of US$28 million and its stock price was at $0.14 per share.[32] In March 2009, the company sold Furl to Diigo.[78] In May 2009, Ask.com, which accounted for 89% of LookSmart's company publisher solutions revenue in the first quarter of 2009, announced that it would not renew its contract with LookSmart for sponsored listings.[64] In December 2009, Jean-Yves Dexmier became the CEO of LookSmart.[79] On 31 December 2009, Ask.com ended its contract with LookSmart for sponsored listings.[64]

2013–presentEdit

In February 2013, Michael Onghai became the CEO of LookSmart.[80] On 2 September 2013, LookSmart's Canadian subsidiary, LookSmart Canada Ltd., acquired assets of Syncapse Corp. upon court approval for $3 million.[81] On 22 September 2014, LookSmart announced the launch of its Information Technology services offering Novatech.io.[82]

On 16 July 2015, the company had a market cap of around $3.6 million and its stock price was at $0.63 per share.[83] In October 2015, the company transferred all of its assets to its subsidiary, LookSmart Group Inc. and spun off the ownership of LookSmart Group to its shareholders.[84] LookSmart, Ltd., the company's former entity, completed a merger with Maritime Technologies Corp., a subsidiary of Pyxis Tankers Inc., on 28 October.[84]

On 24 March 2017, LookSmart Group completed a merger with its subsidiary, LookSmart Capital Inc. and LookSmart Group announced that it would de-register its common stock and suspend its public reporting obligations.[85] The company changed its trading symbol to LKSTD for 20 business days and changed its trading symbol back to LKST afterwards.[85]

On 3 April 2017, LookSmart Group announced the launch of its new data center building located in Central Phoenix, Arizona as a technology center, Silicon Canyon.[86] On 13 April 2017, LookSmart Group announced partnerships with the Clickable Institute of Technology, Entrepreneurship and Digital marketing and Richie Bello West to help veterans, minorities and immigrants at Silicon Canyon.[3]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Muller, Jeanne (2003). A Librarian's Guide to the Internet: Searching and Evaluating information. Elsevier. p. 40. ISBN 1780631774.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m Golis, Christopher (2010). Enterprise and Venture Capital: A Business Builders' and Investors' Handbook. ReadHowYouWant.com.
  3. ^ a b "LookSmart Group Inc. and Silicon Canyon Announce Clickable Institute and Richie Bello West Partnerships". Accesswire. 13 April 2017. Retrieved 13 February 2019.
  4. ^ "Interactive Advertising Bureau Click Measurement Guidelines Version 1.0—Final Release" (PDF). Interactive Advertising Bureau. 12 May 2009.
  5. ^ "LookSmart Group Inc (LKST.PK)". Reuters. Retrieved 19 March 2019.
  6. ^ "LookSmart Reports Results for Second Quarter of 2018". Accesswire. 8 August 2018. Retrieved 10 April 2019.
  7. ^ "Executive Team Michael Onghai CEO". LookSmart. Retrieved 13 February 2019.
  8. ^ "Company Overview of LookSmart Group, Inc". Bloomberg L.P. Retrieved 13 February 2019.
  9. ^ Sherman, Chris (8 October 2003). "What's in A (Search Engine's) Name?". Search Engine Watch. Archived from the original on 3 January 2015. Retrieved 13 February 2019.
  10. ^ a b Cleland, Kim (7 October 1996). "DEAL HELPS READERS TO DIGEST THE WEB : RDA SETS SITE LAUNCH, SEARCH TOOL". Ad Age. Archived from the original on 3 February 2019. Retrieved 2 February 2019.
  11. ^ Sullivan, Danny (16 June 1997). "The Search Engine Update, June 17, 1997, Number 7". Search Engine Watch. Archived from the original on 14 April 2016. Retrieved 2 February 2019.
  12. ^ a b Crook, Andrew (14 January 2009). "Thornley 1: the Macquarie connection". Crikey. Archived from the original on 22 November 2009. Retrieved 13 May 2019.
  13. ^ Baker, Loren (24 April 2006). "10 Years of LookSmart – Visual Timeline". Search Engine Journal. Archived from the original on 18 October 2007. Retrieved 13 February 2019.
  14. ^ "LookSmart abstains from adult advertising". CNET. 21 December 1998. Retrieved 25 March 2019.
  15. ^ Hu, Jim (8 February 1999). "LookSmart to fill MSN's search results". CNET. Retrieved 13 May 2019.
  16. ^ "Short Take: LookSmart gets $60 million in financing". CNET. 31 March 1999. Retrieved 25 March 2019.
  17. ^ Hamstra, Mark (21 May 1999). "Looksmart, Guthy-Renker Partner". DMNews.com. Retrieved 19 March 2019.
  18. ^ a b "LOOKSMART LTD – 10-K Annual Report – 12/31/2002". Retrieved 19 March 2019.
  19. ^ "LOOKSMART LTD (LOOK) IPO". NASDAQ.
  20. ^ a b "LookSmart shares poised for something, but what?". Marketwatch. 14 October 1999.
  21. ^ a b Chessell, James (22 January 2004). "LookSmart not looking smart". The Sydney Morning Herald.
  22. ^ "Company Overview of BT LookSmart". Bloomberg L.P. Retrieved 28 April 2019.
  23. ^ "BT joins LookSmart in pounds 130m venture". The Independent. 11 November 1999. Retrieved 28 April 2019.
  24. ^ a b "Founders Start again after LookSmart's exit". The Sydney Morning Herald. 26 March 2002. Archived from the original on 7 June 2002. Retrieved 10 January 2021.
  25. ^ a b "Report of Independent Registered Public Accounting Firm". US Securities and Exchange Commission. 2004. Retrieved 11 January 2021.
  26. ^ "FindArticles.com WHOIS, DNS, & Domain Info – DomainTools". whois.domaintools.com. Retrieved 16 December 2018.
  27. ^ Price, Gary; Kennedy, Shirl (9 November 2007). "LookSmart Sells FindArticles to CNET Networks for $20.5 Million in Cash". Resource Shelf. Archived from the original on 23 June 2008. Retrieved 18 July 2008.
  28. ^ Schwartz, Matthew (11 February 2008). "Bnet.com branches out: CNET business information site bulks up its content offerings". BtoB Online. BtoB. Archived from the original on 21 July 2011. Retrieved 18 July 2008.
  29. ^ "Cases and Issues in the News". American Antitrust Institute. Archived from the original on 3 May 2008. Retrieved 18 July 2008.
  30. ^ Tomaiuolo, Nicholas (2004). The Web Library: Building a World Class Personal Library with Free Web Resources. Information Today, Inc. pp. 19. ISBN 0910965676.
  31. ^ "About FindArticles". FindArticles.com. Archived from the original on 2 October 2002. Retrieved 15 February 2019.
  32. ^ a b c Schwab, Adam (14 January 2009). "Thornley 2: LookSmart share sell-off remains unexplained". Crikey. Archived from the original on 22 November 2009.
  33. ^ "Olympics.com Signs Sponsorship Deal". The New York Times. 28 March 2000. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 1 May 2019.
  34. ^ "Juno and LookSmart strike deal, shares gain". CNET. 30 May 2000. Retrieved 25 March 2019.
  35. ^ Festa, Paul (26 July 2000). "LookSmart pays portals to use its service". CNET. Retrieved 25 March 2019.
  36. ^ "LookSmart Gets Wise To Value of Volunteers". Forbes. 4 October 2000.
  37. ^ a b c d e "LOOKSMART, LTD. 2007 Form 10-K Annual Report". U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
  38. ^ "Layoffs for Looksmart". American City Business Journals. 12 January 2001.
  39. ^ "LookSmart inks directory deal with Amazon". CNET. 17 January 2001. Retrieved 25 March 2019.
  40. ^ Tomasula, Dean (13 March 2002). "LookSmart to Buy WiseNut Search Engine in $9.25 Million Deal". DMNews.com. Retrieved 3 June 2019.
  41. ^ "LookSmart completes purchase of WiseNut". CNET. 8 April 2002. Retrieved 25 March 2019.
  42. ^ a b Sinclair, Jenny; Zetter, Kim (2 July 2002). "Thornley tips LookSmart profits after boardroom showdown". The Age.
  43. ^ Olsen, Stefanie (2 July 2002). "LookSmart replaces chief with COO". CNET. Retrieved 25 March 2019.
  44. ^ "BT LookSmart buys UK Plus search engine". The Free Library from Farlex. 2002. Retrieved 29 January 2019.
  45. ^ Cullen, Drew (4 December 2002). "BT LookSmart has ceased to be". The Register. Retrieved 28 April 2019.
  46. ^ Mullins, Robert (29 September 2002). "LookSmart aims to outsmart Google with its new offering". American City Business Journals. Archived from the original on 30 December 2003. Retrieved 28 January 2019.
  47. ^ a b "LookSmart buys out and shuts down joint venture with BT". The Sydney Morning Herald. 5 December 2002. Retrieved 28 April 2019.
  48. ^ LookSmart SEC filing, 2003
  49. ^ Olsen, Stefanie (6 March 2003). "LookSmart renews Road Runner deal". CNET. Retrieved 25 March 2019.
  50. ^ Olsen, Stefanie (9 July 2003). "LookSmart licenses search to Lycos". CNET. Retrieved 25 March 2019.
  51. ^ a b Badenhausen, Kurt (31 October 2005). "Your Big Best Friend—Or Not". Forbes. Archived from the original on 29 October 2005.
  52. ^ Hines, Matt (18 August 2003). "LookSmart's Microsoft deal looks rocky". ZDNet.
  53. ^ "LookSmart names new CFO". American City Business Journals. 25 August 2003. Archived from the original on 26 October 2003. Retrieved 28 January 2019.
  54. ^ Olsen, Stefanie (2 October 2003). "LookSmart reintroduces bid-for-placement ads". CNET. Retrieved 25 March 2019.
  55. ^ a b "MSN Agreement With LookSmart to End January 15, 2004". www.shareholder.com. 6 October 2003. Archived from the original on 18 October 2003. Retrieved 25 March 2019.
  56. ^ "Deal with Microsoft dies and LookSmart's stock plummets". American City Business Journals. 7 October 2003.
  57. ^ Hu, Jim (12 December 2003). "LookSmart to lay off half of staff". CNET. Retrieved 25 March 2019.
  58. ^ Olsen, Stefanie. "LookSmart fees backfire into lawsuit". CNET. Retrieved 25 March 2019.
  59. ^ "LookSmart sees higher revenue, lower profit". American City Business Journals. 4 February 2004. Archived from the original on 24 February 2004. Retrieved 28 January 2019.
  60. ^ Olsen, Stefanie (21 January 2004). "LookSmart chief resigns". CNET. Retrieved 25 March 2019.
  61. ^ "BioNet sells Net Nanny for $5.3M". American City Business Journals. 29 April 2004. Retrieved 29 January 2019.
  62. ^ "TERESA DIAL ELECTED CHAIR OF LOOKSMART BOARD". U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. 28 June 2004. Retrieved 3 February 2019.
  63. ^ "LookSmart Ltd (LOOK)". Yahoo! Finance. 15 March 2005. Archived from the original on 16 March 2005. Retrieved 2 May 2019.
  64. ^ a b c Johnson, Nathania (26 May 2009). "Ask.com Will Not Renew Contract with LookSmart". Search Engine Watch. Retrieved 12 February 2019.
  65. ^ "Looksmart Closes Zeal, Concentrates on Furl.net". Search Engine Journal. 23 March 2006. Retrieved 7 January 2019.
  66. ^ "ContentWatch Inc. Acquires Net Nanny from LookSmart Ltd". www.netnanny.com. Retrieved 29 January 2019.
  67. ^ "LookSmart's CFO to step down". American City Business Journals. 7 June 2007.
  68. ^ Sterling, Greg (8 June 2007). "Good News, Bad News: LookSmart CFO Resigns, Company Ups Guidance". Search Engine Land. Archived from the original on 22 May 2011. Retrieved 1 March 2019.
  69. ^ Vance, Ashlee (27 July 2007). "Wikia snatches open search software from LookSmart". The Register.
  70. ^ "LookSmart CEO resigns, interim replacement named". Reuters. 1 August 2007. Retrieved 12 February 2019.
  71. ^ Sterling, Greg (6 September 2007). "LookSmart CTO Resigns". Search Engine Land. Archived from the original on 2 January 2010. Retrieved 1 March 2019.
  72. ^ "WiseNut". WiseNut. 27 September 2007. Archived from the original on 27 September 2007. Retrieved 10 January 2019.
  73. ^ "WiseNut". WiseNut. 29 September 2007. Archived from the original on 29 September 2007. Retrieved 10 January 2019.
  74. ^ "LookSmart to be delisted in Australia 1 Oct". Reuters. 22 June 2007. Retrieved 17 February 2019.
  75. ^ Russell, Terrence (8 November 2007). "CNet Buys FindArticles From a Similarly Regrouping LookSmart". Wired Blog Network. Wired. Archived from the original on 18 January 2008. Retrieved 18 July 2008.
  76. ^ Eldon, Eric (8 November 2008). "CNet buys FindArticles.com from LookSmart for $20.5 million". Venture Beat. Retrieved 18 July 2008.
  77. ^ "LookSmart Appoints New Chief Financial Officer". investor.shareholder.com. 20 December 2007. Archived from the original on 24 December 2007. Retrieved 30 January 2019.
  78. ^ "Diigo Buys Web Page Clipping Service Furl Away From Looksmart". TechCrunch. 9 March 2009.
  79. ^ "Jean-Yves Dexmier, Former Chairman, Looksmart Ltd". Bloomberg L.P. Retrieved 19 March 2019.
  80. ^ "Michael Onghai". MGT Capital Investments. Retrieved 13 February 2019.
  81. ^ "Form 8-K for LOOKSMART LTD". Yahoo! Finance. 8 September 2013. Archived from the original on 8 September 2013. Retrieved 9 January 2019.
  82. ^ "LookSmart Announces its NovaTech Managed IT Services Offering". PR Newswire. 22 September 2014. Archived from the original on 10 April 2015. Retrieved 20 May 2019.
  83. ^ "LookSmart, Ltd. Stock Quote & Summary Data". NASDAQ. 16 July 2015. Archived from the original on 17 July 2015. Retrieved 17 January 2019.
  84. ^ a b "Pyxis Tankers Inc. Completes Merger with LookSmart, Ltd. and Expects to Commence Trading on the NASDAQ Capital Market Today" (Press release). PR Newswire. 28 October 2015.
  85. ^ a b "LookSmart Group Effects 1 For 100 Reverse Stock Split, To Deregister, Applies To Become OTC Pink Current/Alternative Reporting" (Press release). PR Newswire. 24 March 2017.
  86. ^ "Looksmart Launches Silicon Canyon for Businesses Owned by Veterans, Minorities, and Immigrants in Phoenix, AZ". Yahoo Finance. 3 April 2017. Retrieved 13 February 2019.