It's been a busy month for GoTo, with its AOL partnership now live, new in-roads to bring its listings to the United Kingdom, and a deal to provide paid links to Lycos and HotBot just approved.
Paid links from GoTo.com are now appearing at AOL Search. The top three bids for any particular term at GoTo will also be displayed for a search for that term at AOL Search. They'll be shown at the top of the page, in a clearly marked and well disclaimed "Sponsored Links" area.
Given this, if you wanted to be in the top AOL Search results for a particular search term, you would open a GoTo account, bid on that term and ensure that you were one of the top three bidders. Note that AOL Search is not displaying descriptions with the GoTo links, so make your GoTo page titles attractive and enticing (but not misleading), in order to encourage clickthrough.
GoTo has also just announced today that its paid links are soon to appear at Lycos and HotBot, through a new three-year deal. They'll most likely be shown in a similar manner as with AOL Search. No ETA on when they'll go live -- expect more news on this, as it comes.
GoTo's UK site has also gone live, but more importantly, GoTo is also pegged to provide results to UK Internet service provider Freeserve, bumping Inktomi out of that partnership (though Inktomi will still provide any unpaid results). It's a real coup for GoTo, because Freeserve is the UK's largest ISP, with 2 million users. The two-year deal is significant in that it gives GoTo's UK advertisers immediate access to the huge audience that performs searches from the Freeserve home page.
It's also significant that paid listings are being dumped on such a large audience without there being any mention of it that I've seen in the UK press. Let's put this in perspective. Even with the changing climate in the US toward paid listings, if America's largest ISP -- AOL -- were to suddenly to change so that the bulk of its search results were paid ads, there would certainly be some criticism. The same thing is set to happen in the UK, and not a word is being said.
Meanwhile, GoTo competitor Kanoodle is extending its reach to Europe through a new partnership with Espotting, a UK-based paid placement search engine. Advertisers at either service will be able to run their ads across both North America and Europe, should they desire.
I-Search GoTo UK Special Edition
I-Search, Oct 24, 2000
The decision by GoTo to set minimum bids at 5p (7.5 US cents) and require a minimum opening balance of 25 pounds (US $37.50) has drawn some criticism, as summarizes in this special edition of the I-Search mailing list.
GoTo to Change Name, Rebrand
InternetNews.com, Oct. 26, 2000
To underscore how much GoTo sees its future as a distributor of paid ads, rather than a standalone search service, the company is seeking a new name. Ironically, it fought and won a lawsuit earlier this year to protect its logo from confusion with Go.com's former logo.
FindWhat.com Cooks Up Santa Claus Giveaway
@NY, Oct. 4, 2000
Are you a failing dot com? If so, paid placement search engine FindWhat.com wants to give you some free ads in hopes you'll want more, if you survive the year.
GoTo Redevelops, Reaches Out
The Search Engine Update, Sept. 4, 2000
Covers how GoTo sees its future not as a destination site but rather in powering paid listings for other search engines.