Thursday, May 15, 2008

BPN 1099 ilse gives up in favour of Google

The Dutch pioneer search engine ilse has lost the search engine battle in favour of Google and will no longer be the heart of Startpagina, the starting pages for Dutch language sites. The company ilse media is defining a new strategy.

In 1996 ilse, the first Dutch search engine, was launched by Wiebe Weikamp, Merien ten Houten and Robert Klep. ilse grew at an amazing rate and quickly became the market leader in Dutch search engines. Two years later in 1998, a group of friends, under the supervision of Durk Jan de Bruin set-up Startpagina. This site with site pages per subject, including all daughter sites (respectively 1,500 and roughly 5,000 pages) quickly grew to become the biggest Dutch internet portal. By 1999 Google appeared on the scene. In 2000 VNU magazines, now Sanoma magazines, acquired both companies and put them in ilse media B.V.

The search engine became the stimulus for the development of a digital publisher company. By now ilse media has a network of 150 websites, of which Starpagina is the largest. It has a news site and a weblog site. IN 2005 ilse media started a cluster of youngsters and youth sites under the name newrulez. Ilse media also manages the women and home sites of Sanoma publishers and the site, an electronic television guide, for the public broadcast stations.

From the beginning the search engine ilse was a popular site for the Dutch language searchers. When Google started its activity, ilse was on its height and has been going down ever since. In the last year there was a discussion about the search engine. Most people thought that the engine had come at the end of the cycle. And this became clear from the penetration rate, which went down to 5 per cent, while the real use for searching went down to 2 per cent. Presently users of Startpagina use Google five times a week, while the search engine of ilse media is used five times a week.

Of course Google will bring in extra revenues. But the management of ilse media will have to contemplate the use of the search engine. The company is adamant in stating that the dismissal of their own search engine ilse is the beginning of the end. Ilse media is working on a new strategy for the search engine. One way will be to use the search engine for vertical sites like the women magazines of Sanoma.

On May 8, 2008 ilse media announced a new site,, a family and relatives sites, which offers tools for keeping contact with family and relatives and for mapping the relatives. has a few competitors in the Dutch market:, and is the Dutch version of the popular German and is run by De Telegraaf.

Blog Posting Number: 1099

Tags: search engine

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