Overture Signs Lycos Europe

  |  June 11, 2002   |  Comments

The pay-for-placementsearch provider strengthens its international foothold.

Pay-for-placement search provider Overture has another affiliate deal in place, this time with portal Lycos Europe, a unit of Madrid and Waltham, Mass.-based Terra Lycos .

The exclusive, two-year agreement will see Pasadena, Calif.-based Overture providing its listings to Lycos's U.K. site, starting next quarter. The company's search results also will appear on Lycos Germany and France in the first quarter of next year.

Overture, which replaces local player eSpotting in the Lycos deal, also said it would roll out search listings to the portal's sites in other European countries, as the search firm develops services in those marketplaces.

Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed, though eSpotting had guaranteed Lycos at least $9.2 million through its original, three-year arrangement, signed in 2001.

According to the deal, Overture will provide five search listings at the top of Lycos's search results pages, an arrangement that's somewhat more extensive than many of Overture's deals with other major portals. For instance, with Yahoo , the company provides only the top three listings at the top of each results page, and two more at the bottom. Similarly, MSN uses three of Overture's listings at the top of each of its pages.

Such an agreement bodes well for Terra Lycos, which owns several of the major portals in Europe but continues to struggle amid weakness in the online media market. Like many portals, the firm sees efforts to better monetize search as one way to beef up revenues.

"Search is one of our core competencies and an important area for Lycos Europe," said Detlev Kalb, managing director of search at Lycos Europe. "We are committed to providing high quality results to our users. The integration of Overture's highly relevant search listings into Lycos Europe's search results pages allows us to meet the needs of our users while achieving our commercial objectives."

Meanwhile, the move gives Overture a greater international presence as heated competition continues in the U.S. Mountain View, Calif.-based rival Google beat out Overture in a renewal for AOL Time Warner's America Online business in the U.S., but Overture still has a contract with AOL's European portals. Google also wrested Atlanta-based EarthLink from its contract with Overture earlier in the year.

"Lycos is an important pan-European Internet operator with a range of popular sites, and we look forward to a long-term partnership that will be mutually beneficial to both their users and our advertisers," said Johannes Larcher, general manager of Overture's international practice.

Overture, which recently opened a sales office in Germany, also said it plans to launch a similar presence in France in the second half of 2002.

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