Diller: Vertical Search Represents Key Opportunity

A year since IAC’s spin-off of several businesses, IAC Chairman Barry Diller, during a 2Q earnings call, saw some bright spots, including ServiceMagic, which saw a 5 percent jump in service requests. Diller also expressed optimism that the company had strong opportunities in several key areas, especially vertical search, and extensive downloads of its iPhone apps, which add up to 5.5 million (although these were mostly from its Urbanspoon acquisition).

All this despite a sour business climate that has eaten into Citysearch‘s display ad revenues and turned IAC’s “emerging” business unit into a “retreating” business unit (to steal a line from Niki Scevak).

Diller noted that Ask.com is going to unveil coupons and deals sometime next month.  While there were no suggestions that Ask can directly take on Google and Yahoo/Microsoft in the search leadership, Diller said “we’ll continue to roll out areas that we think we can offer consumers a much richer search experience than our competitors. We’ll continue to evolve and grow … and compete against Google in different areas, vertical areas.”

IAC’s rich content provides a much better experience, argued Diller. For instance, it over-indexes for questions and incorporates extensive user-generated content.

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