AOL in Talks With Multiple Providers for Search Deal

  |  July 26, 2010   |  Comments

The firm's exclusive multi-year deal with Google is almost up, so what's next?

AOL is currently in talks with at least three companies regarding the provision of search technology on its sites, according its CEO Tim Armstrong. The firm's current search deal with Google, worth around $700 million for the past two years, is set to expire in December.

Speaking at the Fortune Brainstorm Tech conference in Aspen, Armstrong said there were more than two contenders in the race for the contract, stating, "Search is heating up from a multi-partner space - we are not talking to two companies," Fortune reported. An AOL spokesperson said the company would not comment on whether those negotiations are likely to result in an exclusive search provider, or whether it may attempt to pursue relationships with multiple partners.

AOL's current relationship with Google will expire on December 19th, leaving the company open to discussions with other providers, most likely Microsoft. Since Google is a known quantity, it's in AOL's interests to eseither partner with the company again or to ensure it negotiates substantially more favorable terms with another provider to compensate for lower performance.

A relationship with AOL would give Microsoft a combined Bing, Yahoo and AOL search alliance with a combined market share well over 30 percent of searches, according to comScore, granting the entity further scale. Microsoft and Yahoo have frequently expressed the benefits afforded by such scale, and the importance it plays in improving the strength of their product for both consumers and advertisers. From AOL's perspective, perhaps 30 percent is enough to challenge the type of return it's been receiving from its existing Google partnership.

Another possible scenario is that AOL will choose different partners for different aspects of its search offering. For example it may opt for Google or Microsoft to handle the bulk, while partnering with a niche provider for specific verticals or purposes, such as local. Mobile is also a consideration, given that Yahoo's mobile search product was omitted from its deal with Microsoft, and that it has continued to strike partnerships with mobile handset manufacturers and publishers. In April, for example, it announced a partnership to pre-load its search application, among others, on millions of Samsung devices, including those running Google's Android operating system.

ClickZ Live San Francisco Revolutionize your digital marketing campaigns at ClickZ Live San Francisco! (August 10-12) Educating marketers for over 15 years, we return to San Francisco this August with our action-packed, educationally-focused agenda that will cover every aspect of digital marketing. Early Bird rates available through Friday, July 17 - save up to $300! Register today.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jack Marshall

Jack Marshall was a staff writer and stats editor for ClickZ News from 2007 until August 2011. 

COMMENTSCommenting policy

comments powered by Disqus

Get the ClickZ Search newsletter delivered to you. Subscribe today!

COMMENTS

UPCOMING EVENTS

Featured White Papers

US Consumer Device Preference Report

US Consumer Device Preference Report
Traditionally desktops have shown to convert better than mobile devices however, 2015 might be a tipping point for mobile conversions! Download this report to find why mobile users are more important then ever.

E-Commerce Customer Lifecycle

E-Commerce Customer Lifecycle
Have you ever wondered what factors influence online spending or why shoppers abandon their cart? This data-rich infogram offers actionable insight into creating a more seamless online shopping experience across the multiple devices consumers are using.

WEBINARS

Jobs

  • Sr. Marketing Specialist, PPC
    Sr. Marketing Specialist, PPC (Charter Communications) - StamfordSr. Marketing Specialist, PPC– Digital Marketing Charter Communications...
  • Online Marketing Analyst
    Online Marketing Analyst (FULLBEAUTY Brands ) - New YorkINTRODUCTION: Are you interested in a unique career opportunity where you can represent...
  • Copy Editor
    Copy Editor (ClickZ / Search Engine Watch) - New YorkROLE OVERVIEW The role of the copy editor for ClickZ has many demands. Ultimately, the copy...