Busy Week For Mamma.com

It’s been a busy week for meta-search engine Mamma.com, which announced an acquisition, launched a new tool and watched its stock price yo-yo.

The search world overall vibrated with changes this week as major players Yahoo and Overture expanded their paid inclusion search program, the folks at second-tier Ask Jeeves dumped theirs and, in a jaw-dropping $343 million deal, agreed to acquire privately held Interactive Search Holdings.

Mamma.com, which operates a meta-search engine, a paid search listings network and a pay-per-click ad network, had an even wilder ride. The second tier company’s stock closed at $4.05 Monday. Then Mamma reported a fourth-quarter profit, compared to a year-earlier loss. Upon the release of the news Tuesday, Mamma’s stock more than tripled, going up to $12.70 on the Nasdaq after hitting a new year-high of $15.80 during the session.

The soaring stock had search industry insiders abuzz, noting it was an example of how search’s blazing hot success is bringing investment into the sector.

But the ride wasn’t over yet. On Thursday, Mamma announced plans to acquire privately held Digital Arrow of Delray Beach, which provides email marketing services and pop-up/pop-under ads. With the acquisition, Mamma.com is hoping to become a one-stop shop for advertisers, according to Deborah Kilpatrick, the company’s product marketing manager.

“They [Digital Arrow] are an opt-in email company with their own email lists,” Kilpatrick said. “Down the road we are trying to work out an integrated advertising solution. We do largely pay-per-click search and some paid inclusion, and we purchased a banner ad company in 2002. So if you’re a small site, you can use us to do complete Internet coverage.”

Digital Arrow had about $2 million in revenue last year. The acquisition will be paid for with cash and stock to be determined following a due diligence period, according to Mamma.

On Friday Mamma capped off the week by announcing the upgrade of its Media Solutions pay-per-click client account management system. The system was redesigned and new features, including reporting statistics, on-the-hour statistics and geo-targeting, were added.

With geotargeting, an advertiser can set the search so that it only targets people in a given country. If, for example, the advertiser was targeting the U.K. it wouldn’t receive traffic from the U.S. “That way, if you’re not shipping to the U.S. you don’t have to pay for clicks you’re not interested in,” Kilpatrick said. It’s also possible to get reports on traffic from multiple countries or just one, she said.

“We are now one of the few to provide geotargeting on the keyword services. We’ve been adding it on the ad network for some time and now we have it on the search network as well,” said Guy Faure, the company’s CEO.

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