John Battelle is speaking to Barry Diller of IAC. John asked straight off: why did you buy Ask? Barry: search box would keep evolving and more convergence through it. They "plunged" into an arrangement with Ask. If they failed and didn't gain share, that's OK - because it (Ask) has "enormous promise". Barry says a lot of things to do: gather a lot of services together that is differentiated as possible. Features are appealing - if they can market them "noisely enough" then that's a way to gain market share. They have a lot of verticals, services, which they can link up to Ask.
John: Google is leader in the space and isn't losing share. What comes to mind when you think of Google?
Barry: they were first ones to clean the page up - it was a kind of genius. [this is not verbatim btw]. Basically says they're a great product.
John asks a question about being an "Internet Mogal". Barry talks about being "distribution agnostic". Things will come through the search box / convergence will create a potential total change-up of the players.
John asks about user-generated content and Barry's position on that. Barry says "there's not that much talent in the world". Talks about "editorship", people who have talent and expertise in entertainment space not going to be displaced by 18 million people making home videos (!!). John segues to Rupert Murdoch - "he's bought these things very cheap or they're worthless". Says Murdoch takes risk and is a risk-taker.
John asks his reaction on eBay buying Skype. Not the kind of deal he would make for his company. He says eBay's buy is speculative, but won't elaborate.
John asks about "net neutrality". Barry says it's about doing anything you want (re services), but can't get in the way of anyone else doing services.
qst: is future of IAC increasing distribution or increasing breadth?
Barry: we have lots of brands, could screw it up. Innovate. Only constrained by their own ideas.
qst: re dismissing microcontent, user-generated content. Speaking as a Media Mogal, not Internet Mogal?
Barry: we're talking about mass audiences, a system of entertainment. Entertainment, making tv or movie or game - going to be relatively few people doing that, due to not enough talent.
qst: how can minor internet players transform in new media world?
Barry: if you have a good idea on the internet, you have "so much more runway", more opportunities. Good ideas resonate. Nothing really stands in the way - unlike other forms of media, which have gatekeepers etc.