Down with the Dow Jones
It seemed unthinkable just a couple of months ago. Dow Jones (NYSE:DJ) was a sleepy financial media giant. Then News Corp. (NYSE:NWS) came along, offering a huge premium to acquire the company behind The Wall Street Journal.

Making the unlikely rich offer should have been a territorial warning shot. If anyone else thought that Dow Jones was worth $60 a share, why was the stock trading in the $30s? Because voting power in the company rested with a family that had been reluctant to cash out in the past, bidding high was the only way to get noticed.

Well, it's been an interesting week, as the Bancroft family finally sat down to talk turkey with News Corp. chieftain Rupert Murdoch, just as other potential suitors began to voice heavy interests in the suddenly hot property.

A conspiracy theorist would argue that some of these interested parties are just trying to do Dow Jones a favor, getting News Corp. to reluctantly sweeten the offer. However, that flies against the logic that at least one of these rumored suitors has a knack for media restructuring. The main reason that Dow Jones hires fear News Corp. is that layoffs and corporate reshufflings may cost them their hides. However, financial stagnancy also beckons change, so it may not be long before Dow Jones is acquired anyway.

If this does indeed lead to a bidding war, it would be a travesty to Murdoch's strategy of starting so high, in what would be a foiled attempt at a seamless buyout.

If you Ask.com the right questions ...
If you've never seen the hit show Extreme Makeover: Search Engine Edition, you could have caught it live this week when IAC/InterActiveCorp's (NASDAQ:IACI) Ask.com went for a dramatic do over. You probably wouldn't recognize it, especially if the last time you banked on Ask.com for guidance you had Jeeves the butler showing you around.

The new Ask.com is a winner. Search engine result pages comes back with three columns, showcasing term-specific items like websites (of course) but also snapshots, video, and related news. Yes, Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) has been incorporating new features into its pages lately, but Ask.com -- with just 5% of the market -- is not immune to taking chances.

Unfortunately, search engines have become so powerful that it's not as easy as a clever marketing strategy or even superior search functionality that determines how consumers go about when they need to find something online. In short, it's a great look for Ask.com, but it doesn't matter if folks don't look.

Until next week, I remain,

Rick Munarriz

Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz recommends windshield wiper fluid when trying to look back. He is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early. He does not own shares in any of the companies in this story. The Fool has a disclosure policy.