Microsoft acquires Greenfield Online and Ciao for $486 million, expands further in commercial search

Microsoft continued to expand it’s reach in commercial search today, acquiring Greenfield Online, Inc, owners of Ciao GmbH, for $17.50 US, in a transaction valued at $486 million.  According to the press release:

Ciao is a comprehensive source for intelligent shopping on the web, combining consumer reviews and ratings from a multimillion-user-strong online community with up-to-date price information from thousands of online merchants. It currently has more than 26.5 million unique visitors per month (source: comScore Inc, May 2008) across seven countries, who so far have generated more than 5 million product reviews.

Microsoft has secured a buyer for Greenfield Online’s Internet survey solutions, so it will retain Ciao and the commercial search piece, and get rid of the rest, apparently.  The move will help to strengthen Microsoft’s commercial search efforts in Europe, with Ciao websites operating in seven European countries:

The popular price comparison service will help to bolster Microsoft’s intentions to make Live Search a consumer destination to research and purchase goods and services online, not only in the US, but around the world.