One of the first stocks I owned was Ask Jeeves (bought out by IACI – formerly ASKJ) which I bought after the tech bubble collapsed. It was trading at a little over a dollar and the company was quickly growing revenues and earnings. I sold the stock too early but I still made over ten times my money in that stock, a ten bagger in Lynch speak.
Ever since then I have followed the internet search sector to see if another small player could follow a similar path as Ask Jeeves. I’ve followed the second tier search companies for a couple of years and frankly I don’t think there is any money to be made investing in these companies (from a fundamental perspective).
The smaller companies like Looksmart (LOOK), Copernic (CNIC – formerly Mamma.com MAMA), Miva (MIVA – formerly Findwhat.com FWHT), and Local.com (LOCM) are nowhere close to making a consistent profit. If you have ever used their websites you know why. They simply don’t deliver relevant search results. (more…)