Terra Lycos is set to enter the paid placement game alongside players such as Overture and Google, when the company opens its "InSite AdBuyer" program to advertisers in the coming weeks.
The program will allow advertisers to purchase guaranteed placement on a cost-per-click basis, with ads distributed on the Lycos and HotBot search engines, which are owned by Terra Lycos. Ads will also appear on AllTheWeb.com, a search engine operated by FAST. The company has a close partnership with Terra Lycos already, providing crawler-based editorial results to the Lycos web site.
Of course, advertisers can already purchase their way onto Lycos and HotBot, given the existing partnership that Terra Lycos has with Overture. So what's the value in this new product and why is Lycos seemingly trying to simultaneously compete with and partner with Overture?
The Overture partnership, which runs through November 2003, is not being eliminated. At both Lycos and HotBot, the "Sponsored Search Listings" section of results will continue to show the top three paid listings from Overture for whatever was searched for. The same is true for AllTheWeb.com. Instead, the AdBuyer program will fill new paid placement spots to the right of the search results page.
An example of what's to come can already be seen at Lycos and HotBot. Both now have up to three new Google-like ad boxes appearing on the right side of the screen (paid disclaimers are to be added soon). Currently, these are filled by those who occupy positions four through six in Overture's paid listings. However, when the AdBuyer program launches in a few weeks, the boxes will be devoted solely to AdBuyer listings.
Terra Lycos hopes that by running its own program, the company will be able to strengthen financial relationships already established with those who purchase inclusion into its editorial results, as well as attract new search engine marketers into its fold. That client base is deemed essential to Terra Lycos's long-term success.
"As a company, I don't want to only be a distributor for other people's content. That's not the only business model I want to have. I will distribute Overture listings to my customers, because they do a wonderful job, but at the same time, I would like to have relationships with some advertisers directly," said Tom Wilde, general manager of search services for Terra Lycos.
Terra Lycos will be using technology for its listings from FindWhat, but it will not be carrying FindWhat's listings themselves. Instead, Terra Lycos will have its own independent set of paid listings, which will be shown only on the AdBuyer network of sites: Lycos, HotBot and AllTheWeb.com.
As with Overture, you'll bid for higher placement in the results, when the program opens to sign-ups within the next week or so. There will $0.05 minimum bid requirement, a $50 opening deposit and no monthly minimum charge amount that must be met. Listings will be subject to editorial review, a process that will be handled by FindWhat's staff. Ads themselves aren't likely to appear until mid-September, at the earliest. Terra Lycos wants a "critical mass" of advertisers and expects to go live with.
Here you will find information about all Lycos InSite programs -- the existing paid inclusion programs and a link to the new InSite AdBuyer area, where you can preregister for information.