Asking Barry Diller about Ask.com is not so easy.
The media mogul caused a stir on Wednesday when he said that Ask.com, the search engine owned by his Web holding company IAC/InterActive Corp, has “no value inside IAC.”
The comments, which were made onstage at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference in San Francisco, generated a wave of blogs and tweets concluding that Diller had given up hope for the No. 4 search engine in the US, which had a modest 3.8 percent market share in August according to comScore.
Now Diller says he was misunderstood.
“I did not say that Ask has no value inside of IAC, period,” Diller clarified in a subsequent statement.
“In response to a specific question, I said that many of our assets are not ‘valued’ in the stock, and Ask is one of them…I was asked specifically if Ask would be better off with us or another company or standing alone. In the context of that question, I said that since it wasn’t valued in IAC - like so many of our businesses, because we have so many - that it would only be ‘valued’ stand alone.”
Lest anyone interpret the clarification to mean that Diller believes Ask would have more value as a standalone company and could thus be on its way to the auction block, another recent series of Diller statements and clarifications about Ask are worth keeping in mind.