ASX-listed Carsales.com.au has snared its first external customer for an innovative search engine developed by its IT team in Melbourne.
Brazilian company WebMotors is using Carsales.com.au’s RyvusIQ engine to drive (pun intended) its website, which enables consumers to advertise, sell and buy new and used cars online.
Carsales.com.au’s IT team originally created the engine to run its local website, but has since been looking for potential external customers.
Carsales.com.au purchased a 30 per cent stake in WebMotors last April but the company’s CIO Ajay Bhatia was quick to highlight that this is a “commercial deal” and WebMotors can choose any search engine it wants.
WebMotors paid an upfront fee for the technology and pays an ongoing monthly fee for its use, he said.
WebMotors is majority owned (70 per cent) by Spanish bank, The Santander Group.
The search engine is the brainchild of Carsales’ developer Michael Ridgway and was initially created for internal use across the organisation’s many websites.
Development began in 2010 when Carsales.com.au's users wanted to be able to search by multiple vehicle makes, models and colours.
At the time, it was restricted by a search engine – that cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to implement – which wasn’t responding quickly enough to customer requests.
CIO Bhatia believes that RyvusIQ is the first major search engine built in Australia.
Bhatia said Carsales.com.au expects WebMotors to soon license its backend image server that is hosted on Microsoft’s Azure cloud platform and delivered to local users through the Akamai Content Delivery Network.
The middleware caches and resizes images for customers to improve image download speed and resolution.
Bhatia said he also expects Malaysian business iCarAsia – which runs the Apache Solr search engine – to license to image server technology. Carsales has a 23 per cent stake in iCarAsia.
Earlier this month, Carsales.com.au purchased a 49.9 per cent stake in South Korean online automotive trader, SK Encar for A$126 million.
Meanwhile, Bhatia said the “next major step” for Carsales.com.au would be to tackle the North American market with its search technology and the company was in discussions with a firm in the US. Carsales.com.au has not invested in any companies in North America.
Carsales.com.au's shares were trading at $10.80 per share in Friday morning.