Through its AdWords program, Google lets advertisers bid for placement in search results related to specific keywords; the ads appear as “sponsored listings” alongside those results. It syndicates the sponsored listings, along with the nonpaid, algorithmic search results with which they appear, to partners including AOL and EarthLink.
Its new Content-Targeted Advertising program takes the idea a step further. According to a promotional page for the program, advertisers can now also have their AdWords ads placed on relevant pages of Google partner sites, including HowStuffWorks, Weather Underground and Blogger, whose parent company, Pyra Networks, was acquired by Google last week. The pages on which the ads appear are tied to the keywords associated with the sponsored links. The promo page says Google plans to sign up other sites to display the Content-Targeted Advertising. Google could not immediately be reached for comment. The move casts Mountain View, Calif.-based Google in a more prominent role as an advertising network, much like 24/7 Media, Avenue A or former ad-selling giant DoubleClick. These companies, flush with cash during the dot-com boom, have handled the ad sales efforts of thousands of Web operators for years, selling banners, buttons and links on sites relevant to an advertiser’s products. As opposed to these companies, though, Google draws advertisers to its own site first and then sells links on partner sites. Many ad networks saw their fortunes fall with the dot-com bust, but as search-related advertising has emerged as a winner in recent years, it’s helped to fuel a revival in the business. The focus Google and others have placed on selling sponsored text links has proved effective for advertisers, partners and Web surfers alike. (segue)
By Stefanie Olsen