To Monitor Web Sites, Chat Rooms and News Groups

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CINCINNATI ( -- Intelliseek, a provider of advanced search engine technology used and partially owned by such organizations as Ford Motor Co. and the Central Intelligence Agency, is merging with consumer feedback portal, the companies announced today.

Executives billed the deal as a new opportunity for marketers to use the Internet as "the world's largest focus group." Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Online listening apparatus
The new company will be called Intelliseek but will retain the PlanetFeedback site and brand as a conduit for spontaneous consumer feedback and provider of applications designed to solicit, track and analyze comments made directly or indirectly via Web sites, chat rooms and newsgroups.

The merger links two privately held companies founded by Procter & Gamble Co. alumni in the late 1990s that are the most prominent players in a small universe of Cincinnati-based dot-coms.

Mahendra Vora, founder of Intelliseek, will be chairman-CEO of the combined company and its Intelliseek and PlanetFeedback divisions. Pete Blackshaw, formerly CEO of PlanetFeedback, becomes co-chairman and chief marketing officer of the new company. Mike Nazarro, chief operating officer with PlanetFeedback, retains that title in the new company. And Sundar Kadayam, chief technology officer of Intelliseek, continues that role.

The merged entity will have a combined 65 employees headquartered in PlanetFeedback's offices in Cincinnati, and the two companies combined will have $14 million in cash, though sales figures were not disclosed.

Monitoring threats
Intelliseek is among a handful of technology firms in which the CIA's In-Q-Tel venture capital fund has a stake. The CIA, as well as U.S. Department of Defense, are clients who use the company's "meta" search engine technology to track potential national security issues and threats on the Internet.

Mr. Kadayam said marketers can benefit from access to the same level of detail to discover what consumers are saying about their brands on the Web.

Besides the national security market, Intelliseek also provides extensive tracking and analysis of Internet chatter for Ford Motor Co., which is also an investor.

PlanetFeedback's current clients for research tools and feedback applications include P&G, Omnicom Group's DDB Worldwide, Jet Blue Airways and the University of Cincinnati.

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