Episode 33: Overture (with the Internet History Podcast!)
Ben & David dive deep into the early days of internet search, with the help of the best in the internet history business: Brian McCullough from the Internet History Podcast! We are huge fans of IHP at Acquired, so this was a real treat to collaborate with Brian and the great work he does over there. In this episode we cover the story of how a small incubator in Southern California spawned perhaps the greatest tech business model of all-time, Yahoo!’s fumbling of that golden opportunity, and Google’s recovery of that fumble to cross into the end zone of tech history behind the biggest moat ever constructed on the internet.
Topics covered include:
Overture’s origins as part of the Idealab incubator run by famed early internet entrepreneur Bill Gross
Invention of the paid search business model… initially by returning ADS ONLY in response to search queries
The eventual marrying of Overture’s paid search (ads) with organic search results via syndication on other properties like Yahoo!
Revenue from Overture’s ad partnership saving Yahoo!’s business after the internet bubble burst
Yahoo!’s eventual acquisition of Overture for $1.4B in 2003
But… the really interesting story here: Overture’s 'inspiration' of Google’s business model and the creation of "the greatest advertising machine in the history of the world"
The original (pre-Overture) Google business model: selling a box!