As they said they would when they expanded their alliance back in December 2005, AOL and Google are now offering advertisers the ability to buy search ads that will only be seen on AOL Search, using a white-label version of the AdWords platform.
The AOL Search Marketplace will allow marketers to target ads specifically to AOL Search users, and to coordinate search campaigns with other kinds of ads on the AOL Network. The move is an extension of the strategy AOL embarked on last summer, in which it began moving away from its roots as a dial-up service provider to become an ad-supported media network.
AOL's own research, as well as multiple third party reports, have noted a boost in performance when advertisers buy both search and display ads.
AOL will continue to share revenue from ads on its network with Google, though it's not clear whether the arrangement changed with this new implementation. This is the first time Google has offered a white-label version of the AdWords platform.
AOL has also made some changes to its shopping search and local search products. At shopping.aol.com, comparison shopping results previously supplied by Shopzilla have been replaced by results from new partner Pricegrabber. A new AOL Local Search beta has also been launched, sporting a combination of results from AOL-owned MapQuest, AOL CityGuide, and Yellow Pages business listings.