March 31, 2009

Sesam to close

After having lost 500 million NOK, Schibsted is closing its search engine Sesam (no). Schibsted misread the search market in general, and Google's strength in particular, when it started to build its own technology and search engine in 2005.

Schibsted would probably have been better off if it had focused more on building its own AdWords (technology and sales force) and adding local touch and depth to search results by having guides/answers written by humans (think or Mahalo) on top of licensed search technology (preferably from Google).

That would have given Schibsted the possibilty to leverage at least three areas (sales, local distribution, content) that the company is relatively stronger in than technology. Now Sesam, in the company of Microsoft and Yahoo, ended up losing the battle to Google.

For some reason Schibsted pulling the plug on Sesam reminds me of MTG pulling the plug on Jan Stenbeck's print adventures (Finansvision etc) in the post-bubble and post-Jan Stenbeck climate of 2003.

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