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News International invests in search engine

25 октября 2007

News International has made a multi-million pound investment in a new property search engine in spite of already owning half of Propertyfinder. Globrix, an unlisted company, said it received funding for an advertising drive next year with reserves for its second and third years as it tries to establish a new search engine modelled on a news aggregation business.

News International invests in search engineCurrently, property search engines such as the market leader Rightmove charge estate agents to market their properties on the site.

Daniel Lee, the chief executive of Globrix, said: “We see our model as more like a Google, where we gather all the properties available on the net and make our money by reserving part of the search page for advertising.

“Estate agents want to get as many eyeballs as possible on their properties and we believe we can get that.”

Agents would have to opt out from having their listings included on the site, which will use “spider” search engine technology to guide customers to properties that fit their criteria.

News International, which owns 50 per cent of Propertyfinder with an Australian partner, declined to comment on the deal and neither party was prepared to say how much money was involved.

It is believed the company, which publishes The Sun, The Times and their Sunday sister papers, hopes the new search engine will complement its existing holding.

One industry analyst said: “Barriers to entry in this market are pretty high and it is not clear that estate agents would welcome this kind of approach.

“On the other hand, nothing that involves support from News International from a cash and marketing point of view should be underestimated.”

At least one other website, Zoomf.com, approaches searches in a similar way.

Источник: Financial Times

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