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Answers.com has to be one of the best Generic DOT Com domain names that has been turned in a growing profitable business with revenue at $160 Million and the site seeing 8 million new Answers per day is huge, 50% of the revenue is from its subscription base of 180 million registered users.
Answers.com started out being owned by Idealab founded by Bill Gross who has been involved with over 100 companies in last 30 years – Idealab has been involved with some of the best Generic Dot Com domain names such as Tickets.com, Shop.com, Shopping.com, Jobs.com, Feedback.com and many more.
Answers.com has just announced ForeSee shall become an Answers owned company and they are dropping a rumoured $200 million for the business, I think they should also start using their cash pile to buy more domain names they should try to purchase Answer.com – It is currently parked at Above.com and under privacy protection, Answers.com has an opportunity to further extend their daily traffic and revenue, even if purchasing Answer.com for seven figures they should see a ROI on their investment but also protect themselves should another business decide to build a competitor business on Answer.com.
Another domain name that I would like to see Answers.com purchase would be Questions.com – Currently owned by domain name investor Matthew Smith of Saga City Corporation who owns some of the best generic domain names in a mixture of TLDS .COM, .NET & .ORG
Quote of the day – “If you look at what you have in life, you’ll always have more. If you look at what you don’t have in life, you’ll never have enough.”
Here is the full story from TC.
Q&A platform Answers.com is announcing a big acquisition and fundraising tonight–the company is buying customer experience analytics company ForeSee, and just raised $300 million in new funding in equity from existing investors, including Summit Partners, TA Associates, AFCV and others; and in debt from SunTrust Robinson Humphrey and Silicon Valley Bank. We’ve heard that Answers paid north of $200 million for ForeSee, which raised around $20 million in funding.
It’s an interesting move for Answers, which has had a complete turnaround in the past five years. Answers originally only operated a community-generated Q&A site at Answers.com, and was a public company. In 2011, Answers was acquired by AFCV Holdings, a portfolio company of Summit Partners, for $127 million in cash. AFCV subsequently delisted Answers and took the company private. At the time, shareholders were unhappy with the terms of the deal, claiming it undervalued Answers.com, and tried to block the sale, which eventually went through. Answers was also hit with a round of layoffs in June 2011. In 2012, the company took another minority investment, this time from private equity firm TA Associates.
With new leadership, Answers began evolving its approach and decided on a platform strategy, explains CEO David Karandish. Basically, Answers wants to be more than just a Q&A destination, and realized that its future lied in providing Q&A content on other sites, such as retail sites. In the quest to dominate this space, Karandish has been quietly acquiring a number of companies over the past year, including ResellerRatings, Easy2, and a few others. Last year, Answers attempted to buy About.com from the New York Times Co. for around$270 million but lost the bid to IAC.
Karandish tells us that this acquisition of ForeSee enables Answers to provide a full suite of solutions that span the customer life cycle, from optimizing customer acquisition via valid question and answer engagement to analyzing the customer experience to predicting future customer behavior. ForeSee helps businesses evaluate the success of their customer touch points. Its clients include half of the Fortune 100, half of the top 100 internet retailers, half of the top 10 banks, and nearly every US governmental organization. Since its inception, the company has captured more than 100 million customer experience responses (we frequently cover the company’s analysis).
Once Answers integrates ForeSee, Answers will be able to offer businesses the ability to embed question and answers relating to their products and experiences on their sites, and measure customer engagement and service. This is all available via a SaaS product.
As for Answers, Karandish says subscription revenue now accounts for 50 percent of the company’s revenue. The company is generating 8 million new answers per day and counts 180 million registered users. And sales are $160 million for 2013, up from $20 million a few years ago. 2014, adds Karandish, will be spent integrated ForeSee, and readying the company for an eventual IPO.
If Answers can be the go to Q&A, and customer experience management platform for retailers and other online sites, the company could indeed turn itself around and defy many of the challenges it has faced in the past. Static Q&A Sites (ie Yahoo Answers) have started to fade away in presence on the web, but Answers has a potentially interesting strategy to monetize and increase engagement. In this case, execution of this plan and continued growth will be key to the company’s success when (and if) it goes public and endures public investor scrutiny.