Spock.com Pacts With Google, Plays With Ad Networks

  |  April 7, 2008   |  Comments

The people search engine readies ad offerings.

People search engine Spock.com, launched last autumn, just became the newest member of Google's Search Network, joining portals and search engines such as Ask.com, AOL and Lycos in displaying Google's AdWords ads.

"We just finalized the paperwork and are working on the technical end," Spock co-founder Jay Bhatti told ClickZ News.

Spock is also in talks with virtually all the major ad networks including the Yahoo Publisher Network, Glam, Tribal Fusion, Pubmatic, Advertising.com, and DoubleClick, as it experiments with contextual and display advertising on the site. Bhatti expects a formal launch of display ads in "two to three months."

Spock (the name alludes not to "Star Trek," but instead is an acronym for "single point of contact by keyword") claims to currently serve some 6 million search queries per month, with query volume growing at a 30 percent monthly rate. According to comScore, Spock.com had 275,000 unique U.S. visitors and 601,000 worldwide in February 2008.

Its spiders crawl people data from disparate sources on the Web including social networks, directories, and sites, to create profiles of people that are searchable by multiple attributes, e.g. tags, location, name, and e-mail address.

Users contribute greatly to these profiles, creating new profiles and content on existing profiles, and "voting" on content already posted.

"We're not a social network," insists Bhatti, an important differentiator for a property intent on competing with MySpace and Facebook for advertiser dollars. "Intent and relationships are hard to capture on social networks." Spock also screens its entries for the potentially offensive content that raises adjacency flags with brand advertisers on social networks.

Spock claims 30 percent of search volume is people related, and queries are more or less evenly split between queries for the famous and ordinary Joes. Currently, Spock is testing various ads on the voting pages for celebrity photos. Google's ads are in the right column, display ads at the top and bottom of the page.

Bhatti hopes to sell advertisers on reaching women, who conduct over 60 percent of celebrity searches, per company data. "We may not have a lot of women who are signed up and are contributors," he said, "but they're a large portion of the searchers on Spock."

Down the road, plans are to target ads to more descriptors in profiles, such as local information. The company has also had preliminary talks with major brand advertisers -- Bhatti named Nike and Target -- regarding potential awareness campaigns.

"When someone's looking at Tiger Woods and are coming from Germany, wouldn't it be great if they can see a Nike ad? " he asks, not so rhetorically.

ClickZ Live Chicago Join the Industry's Leading eCommerce & Direct Marketing Experts in Chicago
ClickZ Live Chicago (Nov 3-6) will deliver over 50 sessions across 4 days and 10 individual tracks, including Data-Driven Marketing, Social, Mobile, Display, Search and Email. Check out the full agenda and register by Friday, Oct 3 to take advantage of Early Bird Rates!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Rebecca Lieb

Rebecca was previously VP, U.S. operations of Econsultancy, an independent source of advice and insight on digital marketing and e-commerce. Earlier, she held executive marketing and communications positions at strategic e-services companies, including Siegel & Gale, and has worked in the same capacity for global entertainment and media companies, including Universal Television & Networks Group (formerly USA Networks International) and Bertelsmann's RTL Television. As a journalist, she's written on media for numerous publications, including "The New York Times" and "The Wall Street Journal." Rebecca spent five years as Variety's Berlin-based German/Eastern European bureau chief. Rebecca also taught at New York University's Center for Publishing, where she also served on the Electronic Publishing Advisory Group. Rebecca, author of "The Truth About Search Engine Optimization," was ClickZ's editor-in-chief for over seven years.

COMMENTSCommenting policy

comments powered by Disqus

ClickZ Today is our #1 newsletter.
Get a daily dose of digital marketing.

COMMENTS

UPCOMING EVENTS

Featured White Papers

IBM: Social Analytics - The Science Behind Social Media Marketing

IBM Social Analytics: The Science Behind Social Media Marketing
80% of internet users say they prefer to connect with brands via Facebook. 65% of social media users say they use it to learn more about brands, products and services. Learn about how to find more about customers' attitudes, preferences and buying habits from what they say on social media channels.

An Introduction to Marketing Attribution: Selecting the Right Model for Search, Display & Social Advertising

An Introduction to Marketing Attribution: Selecting the Right Model for Search, Display & Social Advertising
If you're considering implementing a marketing attribution model to measure and optimize your programs, this paper is a great introduction. It also includes real-life tips from marketers who have successfully implemented attribution in their organizations.

Jobs

    • Tier 1 Support Specialist
      Tier 1 Support Specialist (Agora Inc.) - BaltimoreThis position requires a highly motivated and multifaceted individual to contribute to and be...
    • Recent Grads: Customer Service Representative
      Recent Grads: Customer Service Representative (Agora Financial) - BaltimoreAgora Financial, one of the nation's largest independent publishers...
    • Managing Editor
      Managing Editor (Common Sense Publishing) - BaltimoreWE’RE HIRING: WE NEED AN AMAZING EDITOR TO POLISH WORLD-CLASS CONTENT   The Palm...