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SEM consolidation picks up

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Consolidation among search engines, which began about a year ago with deals such as Overture Services' acquisition of AltaVista and Yahoo!'s acquisition of Inktomi, has now given way to consolidation among the search engine marketing companies that provide services. Experts say we will see the trend continue apace.

"The market is going through another round of consolidation fueled by optimism, which is enabled by a lot of cash reserves, and it's feeding into a lot of growth," said Gary Stein, senior analyst at Jupiter Research.

Among the deals that have been done in just the last five months are:

n E-mail marketer Digital Impact acquired Marketleap-a paid inclusion, pay for placement and search engine optimization marketing services company-in July.

n FindWhat, a second-tier search engine, merged with eSpotting, a paid search marketer, in July.

n aQuantive, an interactive marketing company and parent of Avenue A, Atlas DMT and Atlas One Point (formerly GoToast), acquired sbi.razorfish, a Web development company, in June.

n DoubleClick acquired Performics, a search engine marketing company, in June.

n Ask Jeeves acquired Interactive Search Holdings-which has Web properties including My Way, My Search, My Web Search and iWon-in March. -Carol Krol

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