Bits and Bytes for October 19, 2004

Rocketinfo Improves Blog Search

Search engine RocketNews has added new technology aimed at giving better results for blog searches. Site users can specify the type of blog or indicate if they’re looking for blogs from a particular geographic region.

“We’ve been offering weblog searching on RocketNews for some time, but we really wanted to improve the search experience,” said Rocketinfo director of research Martin Thornell. “By categorizing the blogs in our database…we’re providing the ability to create tightly focused searches that produce the results people want.”


Ask Jeeves Taps Telcontar For Maps

Ask Jeeves has tapped Telcontar, a location-based-services software firm, to power the map search function on its search engine. The map capabilities, which include city maps and driving directions, are aimed at further expanding the company’s Local search features.

“Local is a top search category on Ask Jeeves, and maps and driving directions are important components,” said Jim Lanzone, senior vice president of search properties at Ask Jeeves.

The Telcontar technology lets clients integrate digital maps and traditional database content drawn from multiple sources.


AOL Adds Content for Kids, Parents

America Online teamed with 4Kids Entertainment to launch 4Kids World on AOL’s KOL service for kids, with interactive features from brands like Yu-Gi-Oh! and the Fox Box Saturday morning lineup.

“This alliance exemplifies the mission of the KOL service — to give kids the content and programming they love in a safer and more protected online environment that parents can trust,” said Malcolm Bird, SVP and GM of Kids and Teens.

The KOL service has also launched Popstar! world, with content from tween-focused entertainment magazine Popstar!, and a “Cartoons and Video” world with audio and video content. These new worlds join seven other partner worlds including Cartoon Network, Kids WB!, Time for Kids and Sports Illustrated for Kids.

The company also launched AOL Parenting, a resource for parents from pregnancy through childhood. The site offers content from Time Inc. magazines Healthy Pregnancy, Baby Talk and Parenting, as well as community areas like Pregnancy Circles and Mom-to-Mom Circles.

“AOL Parenting marks a continuation of our Life Management strategy to provide members with all the services they need to make their days, and lives, easier to navigate,” said Tina Sharkey, SVP of AOL Life Management and Community.

Other AOL “life management” resources include AOL Food, Living, Bill Pay, Health, Diet & Fitness, Research & Learn, AOL Books, Horoscopes, and Homework Help.

AOL Parenting is integrated with AOL’s inStore shopping channel, allowing parents to compare brands and prices, view Parenting’s “Mom-Tested” reviews on gear and toys, and create and share “wish lists” with friends and family.


Buy.com Ties E-Commerce and Social Networking

E-tailer Buy.com has acquired social networking site Metails.com, hoping to leverage word-of-mouth communication to help it reach young, tech-savvy customers. Details of the cash and stock acquisition weren’t disclosed.

The move comes on the heels of Overstock.com’s decision to incorporate social networking into its new auction site. In the Buy.com model, users of Metails.com will receive rewards when people buy the products they recommended.

“This acquisition extends our reach to a core audience of young consumers who have literally grown up online, and who are continuing to expand their personal networks online,” said Neel Grover, president of Buy.com. “The effect of like-minded consumers sharing product information and being able to act on that information and purchase their friend’s recommendations in one destination is explosive. With the acquisition of Metails, Buy.com is set to capitalize on this growing trend.”

The company expects to launch the re-branded and redesigned Metails.com later this year.

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