LookSmart to charge incentive fee in new strategy

LookSmart Australia has refreshed its local business strategy to increase revenues through establishing a "ubiquitous" presence in the search engine business, newly appointed CEO Jason Kellerman has announced.

The appointment as Australian honcho has brought Kellerman considerable relief. "Rather than preaching to others what to do, I wanted to be on the business side," the US ex-pat and former Mercer Management Consulting principal said.

LookSmart will exploit its newly engineered Express Business Listing system to fulfil its strategy for web omnipresence. Companies will be charged $340 for LookSmart to perform a 48-hour "expedited review" of their website. "There's value in being able to jump the queue," Kellerman said. "There's lots and lots of websites out there."

Kellerman offered businesses more inducement to pay the fee for the favoured position, saying: "There's a good chance they're going to acquire a customer or a transaction."

LookSmart also claimed only 15 per cent of its sites would be commercialised. LookSmart would "profit from high-end businesses" like digital camcorder vendors seeking distributors, Kellerman said.

From 1998 to 2000 advertising comprised 40 per cent of total revenue, according to Kellerman. He felt it was "too premature" to forecast local earnings on the Express Listing product. "Only day three on the job," he joked.

Kellerman was plucked from an e-commerce director's role at LookSmart Limited by company chairman Evan Thornley, who cited Kellerman's leadership and analytical skills as reasons for his selection.

Kellerman replaces outgoing Australian CEO Tim Pethick who will head BT LookSmart, the joint venture between the British telco giant and LookSmart.

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