IAC’s Barry Diller: Not everything has to be Twitter

Jul 23, 2010

Diller says his websites didn't miss the social media wave because not everyone has to ride it.

By Shelley DuBois, reporter

Barry Diller's sitting on some prime, if diverse, Internet real estate. His company, IAC/InterActiveCorp (iaci), owns Match.com, Ask.com, Citysearch, and about 50 other sites that seem like they could create the kind of digital sharefest communities that Facebook and Twitter have built.

But IAC didn't miss the boat, Diller said at Fortune's Brainstorm Tech conference. At least in the case of Match.com, the site just doesn't lean that way.

"Match.com is about what it’s about, which is flirting and getting dates. That’s what it does, and the dialogue that people have is, of course social, as is intercourse."

<!-- more -->But social intercourse happens outside of the site. The site makes money because subscribers pay to use the service. Plenty of them, apparently.

"It’s got now a million and a half subscribers, it’s doing fine."

Other sites that will depend exclusively on ads will have to prove themselves, Diller says. While Facebook, which is primarily a social media site, "is definitely becoming a very potent place to advertise," he doesn't see Twitter as a natural advertising platform. But then again, he concedes, it's early in the ad game.

It'll be interesting to see how Diller plans to join social media and advertising in his own property, since IAC is planning its own semi-social media project. On July 29th, the company will reveal a new Q&A feature to spruce up Ask.com that is reportedly "a little bit search and a little bit social." This comes despite rumors that Diller has been trying to sell the site, but couldn't get a bidder.

Much like online advertising, it's been difficult for corporations to nail down revenue streams from wireless devices, says Diller. But companies should absolutely be gearing up to do it. "If you’re not participating in building wireless services for all sorts of form factors, then you’re out of your mind," he says.

And it's personal.

"I am so in love with the iPad," he said. "I’m drawn to it. I care for it. Not as much as I care for my dog."

Still, that's pretty good for a piece of hardware.

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