Search Engine Partnerships


This page lists articles from Search Engine Watch and around the web covering how various search engines and search providers have partnered with each other. Also see the Who Powers Whom? chart, which summarizes some key partnerships. Also note that some older partnership stories from before 2004 might also be listed on the Search Engine Marketing Articles page.

NOTE: Article links often change, especially the older an article is. In case of a bad link, use the publication’s search facility, which most have, and search for the headline. Also, some very old articles flagged “no longer online” might indeed be online — but the former URL no longer resolves, and it’s not worth the time investment for me to try and personally track down these down versus spending time producing new content.

Jump to articles from:
Sept. 2004 Onward
Jan-Aug 200420032002-2001
2000-199919981997 & Earlier

Articles From Jan-Aug 2004

Ask Jeeves knocking on Japan’s door, Aug. 23, 2004

Ask Jeeves has partnered with Tokyo-based software company Transcosmos and launched a beta version of Ask Jeeves Japan. More also here: Partner Is Key to Launch.

Ask Jeeves, Google extend ad links deal, July 26, 2004

Ask Jeeves extends its agreement to carry Google’s paid listings through 2007. Some discussion here.

Amazon Switches From Google To A9
SEO Book, June 14, 2004

Amazon’s web search is now powered by A9, its search subsidiary. Previously, Google powered Amazon web searches. Google is still a key partner, in that A9 itself uses Google at its core. But the change puts A9’s own unique feature now in front of a larger audience. More about A9 can be found here.

LookSmart/UC Berkeley Bow Affinity Search
MediaPost, June 8, 2004

LookSmart, that Survivor of the search world, comes up with a new strategy with staying on the island — affinity search. UC Berkeley supporters will be encouraged to make use of a forthcoming CalBears Search service, powered by LookSmart. Some revenue earned by the service will go to support the university’s athletic programs. Question is, which way will Stanford University go? It was the birthplace of both Google and Yahoo.

Contact-ual Search
ClickZ, May 14, 2004

Those using Plaxo with Outlook or Outlook Express will now be able to search against Yahoo from within their email software.

Yahoo takes Google’s spot on CNN, May 13, 2004

Yahoo outs Google as CNN’s search partner.

Will Yahoo woo Jeeves from Google?
CBS MarketWatch, April 19, 2004

The agreement between Google and Ask Jeeves, though it runs through 2005, it up for negotiations this year. This article examines whether Yahoo will try to get Ask Jeeves back, a plum win given the still sizable share of search traffic Ask commands.

Overture wins big-fish partners, April 5, 2004

Overture gains CNN, ESPN and the Wall Street Journal as distribution partners.

BellSouth shakes Google’s hand, April 5, 2004

Google partners with BellSouth to power search for BellSouth’s internet access customers.

Overture takes search ads to U.K. phones
Reuters, March 30, 2004

Paid listings from Overture are coming to cell phones in the US.

Yahoo finds a friend in MSN, March 26, 2004

Who did MSN put in front of its top strategic partners? Yahoo CEO Terry Semel — whose company is both Microsoft’s current search partner and a chief competitor. Semel wants to encourage cross-network buying, and the idea seems especially that MSN and Yahoo want to jointly get more spending going online. Of course, this cooperation doesn’t appear to extend to getting the buying going on Google, as well!

AOL got Google warrants in 2002 -filing
Forbes, March 18, 2004

Flash back to 2002, and there were some people surprised that AOL dumped Overture and Inktomi in place of Google. Overture suggested Google was taking a loss and also dismissed the idea that having good editorial results for partners was necessary (something it flip-flopped on a year later, when buying AltaVista and AllTheWeb).

Now it appears that AOL gained the right to purchase 1.9 million preferred shares of Google for $22 million. John Battelle estimates selling these might bring in $200 million.

I’m sure the stock warrants sweetened the deal and gave what Google cofounder Sergey Brin described at the time as “competitive monetization.”

AOL: ‘Search is just a feature’
CBS MarketWatch, Feb. 27, 2004

AOL has no search “leakage” problem requiring it to buy a search engine, the company says. Instead, by focusing on developing its own service, which uses Google and other databases, it manages to retain plenty of search traffic from those connecting with AOL, the company says.

Would AOL drop Google?
CBS MarketWatch, Feb. 25, 2004

AOL has “alerted users to what’s existed beyond AOL,” says an analyst in this report, which is a launching pad for speculation that AOL might want to by Ask Jeeves to stem the flow. This gives Google way, way too much credit. AOL used to OWN its own search engine, WebCrawler, back in 1995. It owned WebCrawler because even then, AOL users wanted more than the AOL walled garden. They hardly woke up to the web thanks to Google. Buy Ask Jeeves and stem the “leakage?” People are still going to leave AOL. Buy Ask Jeeves, and the only difference is that instead of getting just a share of the ad revenues on AOL Search (and probably a healthy chunk), AOL would get all of them. It could still happen, of course. But AOL would eat crow after making strong declarations about being in for long-haul with Google just months ago.

Big Distribution Win for Espotting, January 15, 2004

Espotting wins a distribution deal with UK publisher Emap., Switchboard Join Forces, Jan. 13, 2004 expands its reach to Switchboard’s yellow pages results.

Kanoodle Teams With MarketWatch For Content-Targeted Links
MediaDailyNews, Jan. 7, 2004

Kanoodle’s fledgling contextual ads program wins its first big partnership with CBS

Articles From 2003

LookSmart Search Engine Losing Two More Partners
eWeek, Dec. 11, 2003,3959,1411427,00.asp

Shortly after the new year, LookSmart listings will no longer be offered through the Sprinks web site or integrated into Inktomi’s paid inclusion listings. The company also recently closed its UK operations and is planning to cut half of its workforce elsewhere. The company has also signed new distribution deals with SearchFeed, myGeek and ABCSearch. But these services are unlikely to recover much of the reach lost when the Inktomi deal ends, much less the disaster of losing MSN.

FindWhat, Verizon Go Local in Tandem, Dec. 3, 2003

Yellow pages site is planning a cost-per-click paid listings program for its site, powered with technology from FindWhat.

Support for third player as Yahoo drops Espotting
NewMediaAge, Nov. 18, 2003

Media buyers in the UK say they want Espotting to survive the loss of its Yahoo distribution, in order to ensure there’s competition in the market. Oddly, however, it’s hard to see what competition this is creating. Since Overture, Google and Espotting don’t overlap in distribution, there’s not much for them to compete about. If you want reach, you buy all three — and given their bid-for-placement models, the competition on pricing is really against other media buyers.

Espotting snatches ITV deal from Overture
NetImperative, Nov. 13, 2003

Espotting wins a deal to provide paid listings to the UK’s ITV television network’s web sites.

Overture, SLI to power NBC search, Nov. 10, 2003

NBC has cut a new deal with Overture to place paid listings on and The company is also to use technology from SLI to refine results and present related searches links. SLI’s technology used to do the same thing back when NBCi operated as a portal. The technology was previously sold by GlobalBrain to NBCi. SLI, involving the same principals from GlobalBrain, bought the technology back.

Espotting boosts client base but loses Yahoo
Netimperative, Oct. 30, 2003

Yahoo Europe has now switched from Espotting’s paid listings to using those from Yahoo-owned Overture. Espotting says that a diverse distribution base should help it ride out the loss.

Critics Take Wary View of Shopping Web Link
New York Times, Oct. 27, 2003

In a real coup for shopping search engine, it now has a deal to be featured on the Consumer Reports web site. The magazine is hoping that the arrangement will not hurt the impartiality that it is known for.

FindWhat Enters Japan Partnership, Sept. 26, 2003

FindWhat is providing the backend technology to Mitsui, which will sell paid listings in the Japanese market. Mitsui doesn’t yet have a distribution network, however.

Overture steals Freeserve from Google
NetImperative, Aug. 21, 2003

Overture makes it official and confirms what was seen and reported last month — that major UK ISP Freeserve has switched to using Overture-powered results.

MSNBC taps start-up for ad technology, July 29, 2003

Another contextual ad deal — this time involving start-up WebRelevance placing ads at

Overture, Knight Ridder Ink Search Pact, July 28, 2003

Overture will be providing paid and editorial search results, as well as contextual ads, to 32 newspaper web sites operated by Knight Ridder, including the Philadelphia Inquirer and the San Jose Mercury News. It follows on a deal with Canadian portal Sympatico, which Overture has won away from Google.

Overture extends HP deal, July 17, 2003

HP will continue to make Overture the default search provider for those who purchase its computers. Don’t like it? Too bad — last year when I wrote an article about changing Internet Explorer search defaults, I heard from an HP user who discovered that making changes had apparently been disabled by HP. Imagine!

MSN, eBay Ink Search Ad Pact, July 10, 2003

eBay’s cut a deal to give it prominent placement on MSN’s search results pages. Try a search for “barbie” at MSN Search, and you’ll see eBay in the Features Listings section. Not sure if that’s part of the new deal or an example of an existing direct ad relationship with MSN. Regardless, notice the repetition. As eBay also bids on Overture, it appears in the Sponsored Sites area. Even more, look at Amazon — an ad deal with MSN puts them into Features Listings, then the ad deal with Overture puts them in Sponsored Sites, then the paid inclusion deal with LookSmart gets them into the Web Directory Sites area. Not bad — unless you’re a user looking for a little variety in your search results.

LookSmart Inks Search Deal with Lycos, July 9, 2003

LookSmart listings will begin appearing on Lycos later this year for “commercial terms,” in a new deal between the two companies. Lycos tells me that they will be showing 10 LookSmart results head of AllTheWeb listings for 50,000 terms that LookSmart has determined are commercial in nature. LookSmart is also guaranteeing that despite the commercial emphasis, Lycos should feel the results displayed will all be relevant to users.

Moreover cheers Yahoo deal
netimperative, July 7, 2003

Yahoo has cut a deal to use Moreover’s news search service within Yahoo News.

Sprinks to sign
CBS MarketWatch, July 6, 2003

MSN may have cut a deal to carry Overture’s contextual ads, but over on MSNBC, contextual links will be powered by Sprinks exclusively, for the next nine months.

Freeserve to drop Google searches
PC Pro, July 3, 2003

Google’s out at major UK ISP Freeserve, replaced by Overture-owned AllTheWeb listings.

Espotting unveils new search partners
Netimperative, June 12, 2003

European PPC search engine Espotting signs new distribution deals with Mamma and Euroseek.

Infoseek and Lycos to unite portals
The Japan Times, June 4, 2003

Infoseek may be an abandoned brand in the US, but in Japan it is thriving — and now absorbing Lycos Japan into the Infoseek Japan portal.

Primedia unit strikes AOL link deal
CBS MarketWatch, June 2, 2003

Sprinks will be powering contextual ad placement on AOL Time Warner-owned Netscape, CompuServe and AOL Instant Messenger.

All Eyes on Google
Forbes, May 26, 2003

Yet again one of the endless “how Google came to be” stories that many of you have read. Why do you keep seeing these? In part, it’s because each publication needs to do their own. This time, Forbes steps up to the plate. Once past the usual history, finally some good new details, including worries over whether AdWords would fly on a PPC basis (it did). The latter part of the story highlights that Microsoft is now jumping big time into search, with at least 70 people researchers involved. I like the description of Overture as Microsoft’s “new best friend” because Overture researchers are now frequently visiting Redmond. Indeed, Overture would love to be in the position of powering all of Microsoft’s search needs, rather than just the paid component. But Microsoft has often been accused of working closely with companies only to lock them out of future deals, when it decides it has learned enough to succeed on its own. Could being best buddies with Microsoft ultimately leave Overture having helped its way out of a long-term relationship? “We don’t just have our heads in the sand that that could happen,” admitted Overture chief operating officer Jaynie Studenmund, when we spoke during a visit to Overture last month.

Ask Jeeves: Why did you junk Espotting for Google?
The Register, May 16, 2003

Following on last year’s move by the US-based Ask Jeeves site, Ask Jeeves UK now will be showing paid listings from Google, bumping out those from Espotting.

Overture signs deal with Gator, April 4, 2003

Overture has made it official and signed a three year deal to distribute its paid listings through Gator’s new SearchScout program. Those who run Gator, an application that stores passwords and form data, will be shown SearchScout results via pop-under windows when they do searches at other search engines, such as Google. Gator’s system of delivering contextual ads has upset some site publishers in the past, while some users consider the software to be “scumware,” claiming it gets installed unknowingly — something Gator itself strongly denies. The main issue for Overture advertisers, however, is really one of conversion. Will the ads convert as well as those that are search-targeted? Gator and Overture say yes. It may be so, but it would be nice to see Overture offer an opt-out to advertisers who don’t want contextual placement via Gator or other distribution partners, in the way that Google provides.

Google Inks Amazon to Comprehensive Search Deal, April 3, 2003

Google’s giving Amazon both web search capabilities and Google’s contextual links

Microsoft Denies Paid-Search Plans, April 2, 2003

No, says Microsoft, we aren’t planning our own paid listings network to replace Overture. Investors worried about this rumor brought Overture’s shares down in early April. It came out of a research note from SoundView’s Jordan Rohan, who cited an interesting internal memo about Microsoft’s plans to invest more in search. Microsoft spun the official word that such investment isn’t aimed at paid search products.

Report: Microsoft eyes paid search, April 2, 2003

As per the story above, but the focus is more on Rohan’s report, suggesting that both Yahoo and Microsoft will eventually wean themselves from Overture. Has denials from both Overture and an unnamed Microsoft source, who also says investment will be in improving and building Microsoft’s own search technology.

Overture Expanding Globally With MSN Korea, April 1, 2003

Overture will be providing paid listings to MSN Korea through December 2004.

Google, Ink Search Pact, March 31, 2003 is getting editorial and paid listings from Google. Oh, did I say editorial? Let me use financial analyst speak: algorithmic and paid listings.

Google Secures Scandinavian Deal, March 31, 2003

Google is to provide editorial results to Scandinavian portal Eniro.

MSN Search: We’re In No Rush To Change
The Search Engine Update, March 4, 2003

Over the past two months, there’s been a run on crawler-based search engines. Yahoo intends to buy Inktomi. Overture plans to buy AltaVista and AllTheWeb. The question everyone is wondering is what impact these changes will have on MSN Search. General manager John Krass clarifies some of the rumors and speculation that have been swirling around his popular service. Yes, MSN examined AltaVista but was not “serious” about buying it. In fact, Krass says that for the time being, outsourcing for MSN’s search results seems the best option. “We’re looking at all of our strategic options right now. What’s the best thing to do long term, not short term?,” he said.

Yahoo expands Overture relationship – analyst
Reuters, Feb. 4, 2002

Yahoo is experimenting with a way to run paid listings sidebar-style, along the side of its search results page. Such a move would allow it to place even more Overture paid listings on its page. Of course, it might decide down the road to fill these boxes with listings from its own in-house paid placement program, similar to what Lycos does now, yet still maintain a partnership with Overture. Haven’t seen the boxes? has screenshots and discussions from those who spotted them first.

Yahoo Hires Key Executive From Search Partner Overture
Dow Jones Business Wire, Jan. 28, 2003

Overture loses an executive to Yahoo, causing speculation that Yahoo plans its own paid placement program. Sure, it could definitely happen. It’s more likely that Yahoo plans to use him more for better monetizing the paid inclusion program it will offer, when the Inktomi acquisition is completed. Indeed, perhaps we could even see a hybrid system where paid inclusion content is separated from “free” listings and turned into Yahoo’s own version of a paid placement program. None of this means that it has to drop its lucrative partnership with Overture.

Espotting Offers FAST Search, Jan. 15, 2003

Espotting has signed a deal with FAST in order to provide an all-in-one solution of editorial and paid listings, to partners seeking such a solution. This also puts Espotting links on the site for those viewing it from the UK (and possibly other European countries). For those in the US, it is still Overture paid listings that you should be seeing.

Articles From 2002-2001

Yahoo Japan Inks Deals With Overture, Google, Nov. 18, 2002

Yahoo Japan decided not to choose between Overture and Google but to instead take paid listings from both of them and alternate what it displays.

Overture, Microsoft Renew “Search Pane”, Site Deals, Sept. 30, 2002

Overture renews deals to provide paid listings to MSN Search and within MSN Search results shown in Internet Explorer’s “Search Pane” through December 2004 and December 2003, respectively.

FindWhat Pushes Back with Private Labeling, Sept. 23, 2002

FindWhat is providing the technology behind the new paid placement service offered by Terra Lycos. This is different than providing paid listings itself. Instead, FindWhat is allowing Terra Lycos to run its own service using FindWhat’s toolsets. The company seeks to enable more companies to do the same, as a way to distinguish itself from Overture.

Rival FindWhat Seeks to Undermine Overture, Sept. 23, 2002

Will the move by FindWhat to enable others to run paid placement services have an impact on Overture. Hard to predict, says George Mannes.

Yahoo Puts the Brakes on Pay-to-Search Service, Sept. 27, 2002

Want to access Northern Light’s special collection documents? You’ll have to go back to Northern Light’s own site to get them, as Yahoo has pulled out of a cross-promotional deal to carry the material.

LookSmart Renews AltaVista, Expands MSN Deals, Sept. 18, 2002

LookSmart renews its deal to provide directory listings to AltaVista for another year and to MSN through December 3, 2003.

All The News That’s Fit to Google

@NewYork, Aug. 6, 2002

Google’s web search results and ad links are to be integrated into article search results at the New York Times and

Yahoo earnings again in black, July 11, 2002

Finally an official announcement on the status between Google and Yahoo. Google will continue to provide backend results to Yahoo until September. Oh, and Yahoo made a profit.

Articles From 2000-1999

Inktomi exec to create federal database for free

San Francisco Chronicle, Aug. 1, 2000

Inktomi has been very good for cofounder Eric Brewer, and now he’s giving back by forming and funding a foundation to produce a site to provide access to US government information.

Direct Hit’s Subversive Game Plan

Industry Standard, Nov. 1999,1151,7252,00.html

Excellent article on Direct Hit’s balancing act between competing with its partners and supporting them.

Yahoo pulls away from portal pack

Forbes Digital Tool, Oct. 19, 1999

Interesting stats about Yahoo’s reach across the web.

Landscape shifting under Netcenter, May 20, 1999,5,36664,00.html

Lots of details on how partnering within the Netscape site no longer is seen as valuable to search services as in the past.

Snap Launches High Speed Portal, Adds Content Partners, Jan. 19, 1999

Snap has released a version of its service designed for those with high-speed access. “Snap Cyclone” will debut officially through a variety of access provider partners that have been announced and will be NBC television programming.

Articles From 1998

Netscape, Infoseek reshape deal

Bloomberg, Nov. 29, 1998,4,29298,00.html

Details on Infoseek’s rotation within Netscape’s Netcenter being reduced.

Portals on new search, Nov. 16, 1998

Those upstart portal companies better watch out — once digital television and other hybrid electronic devices become widespread, more established media companies will take the lead. Well, so some analysts believe. Of course, portals like Yahoo and Excite already attract much traffic without being a default home page within Internet browsers. I suspect the real upstarts will be players who think their next-generation access boxes that no one has will translate into instant web market share.

Netscape: ‘Massively’ Into Media

Wired News, April 24, 1998,1367,11911,00.html

Netscape says that over the next two months, it will massively revamp its Netcenter to attract and retain more visitors.

Netscape matches search sites

MSNBC, April 22, 1998
–no longer online–

More news on Netscape’s Netcenter plans, including information on launching its own branded service and stats saying that half of Netscape users never change their default settings.

When Navigators collide

MSNBC, April 20, 1998
–no longer online–

Lots of nice details on who’s paying Netscape how much at the moment, and what share of traffic they are receiving.

Netscape Forms Web Division

Wired, March 28, 1998,1367,11202,00.html

Netscape has created a new division to help develop its site and profit more from the visitors that come there. This could put it in direct competition with players such as Yahoo and Excite.

Netscape to expand Internet site, boosts rivalry with other firms

Wall St. Journal, March 13, 1998
–no longer online–

More about Netscape’s plans to reshape its online Netcenter offerings, which include the Netscape Net Search page. Talks are underway with the major search engines about content development and management.

Netscape Re-Evaluates Search Relationships
Interactive Week, Feb. 27. 1998
–no longer online–

That’s right. It’s coming up time for Netscape to renew its placement contracts for the Net Search page. The article says that Netscape is considering perhaps having its own branded search service. But with the search engines less dependent on Netscape for their traffic, perhaps it is them that will be reevaluating whether it is still worth millions to be listed.

Redmond Web strategy turns again, Feb. 3, 1998,4,18763,00.html

Lots of analysts making the usual guesswork over whether Microsoft will be successful, and if so, who may lose as a result.

Microsoft to Unite Web Sites
LA Times, Feb. 2, 1998
–no longer online–

More about Microsoft’s plans for a revamped start page.

Articles From 1997 & Earlier

LookSmart to be ISP home page, Aug. 14, 1997

LookSmart is to provide customized versions of its service to major national and regional ISPs, including Internet America, Rocky Mountain Internet, Concentric Internet Services, and Micron.

Excite Gets International Netscape Guide
The Search Engine Report, Aug. 5, 1997

Excite won the right to produce the “International Netscape Guide by Excite” in July 1997. The US edition is produced by Yahoo and called “Netscape Guide By Yahoo.”

Yahoo, Netscape Strike Deal
C|Net, April 1997

Search engines battle for browser share
News.Com, Oct. 1996

Yahoo inks fast deal with AltaVista
News.Com, June 1996,4,1495,00.html

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