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U.S. Bancorp Piper Jaffray Internet Analyst Safa Rashtchy Sees Online Search Market Revenues Reaching Nearly $7 Billion by 2007

Analyst Releases "The Golden Search," a New Report on the Search Industry

MENLO PARK, Calif., March 20 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Over the past 18 months, the prominence of search as the most effective online marketing tool has risen dramatically, while ways to monetize the search page have been expanding as well. In his new in-depth research report on the online search industry entitled The Golden Search, U.S. Bancorp Piper Jaffray Senior Analyst Safa Rashtchy asserts that the industry represents a major growth market, which he expects will reach nearly $7 billion in worldwide revenues by 2007, growing at a compounded annual rate of 35 percent. In addition, he believes that the key driver of growth is "the increased popularity of search as the most efficient way to find products and information, and simultaneously the rise of search as the best way for advertisers to find and acquire customers."

Rashtchy has identified five key trends that he believes will shape the future of the search industry, and understanding these trends will enable investors to identify potential winners in this growing market. These trends are:

    1. Search Capitalism -- Overturism, or the idea of paid search as a
       market-driven customer acquisition vehicle
    2. Googlism -- increased importance of relevance and a race to provide the
       best search experience,
    3. Globalism -- the increased importance of international markets and its
       impact on the partnerships among search companies,
    4. Elitism -- concentration of search among key destinations and the
       increasing importance of branded destinations, and
    5. Realism -- the next phase in search: in-context search.

"The combined outcome of these five trends is that search will expand from its current form to have a much wider scope in functionality and monetization and could become one of the biggest revenue segments for portals around the world," said Rashtchy. "We also expect significant consolidation and merger and acquisition (M&A) activity in the search space, with the value of market leaders in search monetization and technology continuing to rise."

In Rashtchy's opinion, the two most important companies in the search space are Overture Services, Inc. (OVER, $15.54, #>) and Google. Among portals, he believes Yahoo! Inc. (YHOO, $22.21, #=) and MSN (MSFT, $26.32, #>) have the best focus and potential on expanding their search market share, and both are facing stiff competition from Google.

To examine trends in the online search industry, Rashtchy hosted the Piper Search Symposium: 2003 and Beyond Tuesday in New York. The highly successful symposium featured senior management from nearly all major search companies, including Yahoo!, Google, Overture, AltaVista Company (CMGI, $0.84, #>=), Fast Search & Transfer(TM) (FASRF, $0.86), LookSmart, Ltd. (LOOK, $2.10, #>), Ask Jeeves, Inc. (ASKJ, $6.49, #>), FindWhat.com (FWHT, $9.70) and eSpotting.com. Those interested in accessing the webcast archive of the Piper Search Symposium: 2003 and Beyond, please go to www.gotoanalysts.com/ss .

To receive a copy of The Golden Search, clients and members of the media should contact Dana Wade at dwade@pjc.com or 415-277-1556.

U.S. Bancorp Piper Jaffray, a subsidiary of Minneapolis-based U.S. Bancorp, is a focused securities firm comprised of three divisions: Equity Capital Markets, Fixed Income Capital Markets and Private Advisory Services. The firm provides a full range of investment products and services to individuals, institutions and businesses. The firm has over 120 offices in 24 states across the country. The Equity Capital Markets Division focuses on the needs of growth companies in the health care, technology, financial institutions, consumer and communications growth sectors. The firm has a national reputation for its expertise in fundamental research and equity and debt financing. The Fixed Income Capital Markets business provides bond issuers, individual investors and institutional investors expertise in investment banking, underwriting, trading, sales and research. The firm offers innovative solutions in corporate and government debt financings with particular expertise in corporate, health care/hospitals, real estate, higher education and government debt. The Private Advisory Services division financial advisors provide guidance in retirement planning, education planning, estate planning and wealth accumulation. Investors select from a wide array of products, including fee-based products, stocks, bonds, mutual funds, annuities, insurance and trust services. U.S. Bancorp offers a comprehensive range of financial solutions through U.S. Bank, U.S. Bancorp Asset Management, U.S. Bancorp Investments and U.S. Bancorp Piper Jaffray. For more information on U.S. Bancorp Piper Jaffray, visit www.piperjaffray.com .

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The following disclosures apply to stocks mentioned in this report if and as indicated: (#) U.S. Bancorp Piper Jaffray (USBPJ) was making a market in the Company's securities at the time this research report was published. USBPJ may buy and sell the Company's securities on a principal basis. (^) A USBPJ analyst who follows this Company or a member of the analyst's household has a financial interest (a long equity position) in the Company's securities. (@) Within the past 12 months, USBPJ was a managing underwriter of an offering of, or dealer manager of a tender offer for, the Company's securities or the securities of an affiliate. (>) USBPJ has either received compensation for investment banking services from the Company within the past 12 months or expects to receive or intends to seek compensation within the next three months for investment banking services. (~) A USBPJ analyst who follows this Company, a member of the analyst's household, a USBPJ officer, director, or other USBPJ employee is a director and/or officer of the Company. (+) USBPJ and its affiliates, in aggregate, beneficially own 1% or more of a class of common equity securities of the subject Company. (=) One or more affiliates of U.S. Bancorp, the ultimate parent company of USBPJ, provided commercial banking services (including, without limitation, loans) to the Company at the time this research report was published.

Nondeposit investment products are not insured by the FDIC, are not deposits or other obligations of or guaranteed by U.S. Bank National Association or its affiliates, and involve investment risks, including possible loss of the principal amount invested.

USBPJ research analysts receive compensation that is, in part, based on revenues of USBPJ Equity Capital Markets, which include investment banking revenues. USBPJ research analysts who follow this Company report to the Head of Equity Research who, in turn, reports only to the Head of Equity Capital Markets.

This material is based on data obtained from sources we deem to be reliable; it is not guaranteed as to accuracy and does not purport to be complete. This information is not intended to be used as the primary basis of investment decisions. Because of individual client requirements, it should not be construed as advice designed to meet the particular investment needs of any investor. It is not a representation by us or an offer or the solicitation of an offer to sell or buy any security. Further, a security described in this release may not be eligible for solicitation in the states in which the client resides. U.S. Bancorp and its affiliated companies, and their respective officers or employees, or members of their families, may have a beneficial interest in the Company's securities and may purchase or sell such positions in the open market or otherwise. This report is a communication made in the United Kingdom by U.S. Bancorp Piper Jaffray to market counterparties or intermediate customers and is exclusively directed at such persons; it is not directed at private customers and any investment or services to which the communication may relate will not be available to private customers. In the United Kingdom, no persons other than a market counterparty or an intermediate customer should read or rely on any of the information in this communication. Securities products and services offered through U.S. Bancorp Piper Jaffray, member SIPC and NYSE, Inc., a subsidiary of U.S. Bancorp (NYSE: USB).


Additional information is available upon request.

SOURCE U.S. Bancorp Piper Jaffray

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