About.com Offers Sponsored Links

In a move to further monetize the traffic on its network of vertical content sites, About.com on Monday unveiled “Sprinks,” sponsored contextual links, which it’s selling to the highest bidder.

As in GoTo.com‘s (GOTO) model, the advertiser who agrees to pay the most for the links gets the highest placement, and advertisers also suggest on what content areas their links should appear, with the final decision going to About.com (BOUT).

The links will appear on the content pages, on Luna Network partner pages, on keyword search pages, and on a special “Sprinks” site that will be launched later.

The company is beginning to sign up advertisers on Monday, but the links themselves won’t appear until About.com flips the switch on a site redesign later this week — an overhaul that aims to make each section seem more like its own vertical site.

“With Sprinks we further demonstrate the efficiency and scalability of our business model,” said Scott Kurnit, chairman and chief executive officer of About.com.

The addition of “Sprinks” is the latest move by About.com to bring in more revenue from advertising. The company recently launched the Luna Network, which ties About.com’s vertical content sites with similarly-focused sites and allows About.com to sell advertising across all of the properties. The company also recently announced plans to acquire direct marketing firm Sombasa Media, which owns technology for the personalization of email content.

Initial advertisers for “Sprinks” include Amazon.com, DealTime.com, Bizland.com, Value Voyager, and bathclick.com.

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