AOL Unveils Google-Powered Search Marketplace

AOL and Google have unveiled a new search marketplace that will allow marketers to target ads specifically to AOL Search users, and to coordinate search campaigns with other kinds of ads on the AOL Network.

The AOL Search Marketplace is based on a white-label version of Google’s AdWords platform, with all its features and functionality. The two had announced the intention for Google to create a white-label marketplace for AOL when they reached an expanded alliance in December 2005.

The move is an extension of the strategy AOL embarked on last summer, in which it began moving away from its roots as a dial-up service provider to become an ad-supported media network.

Many advertisers buying AOL’s display ads, or performance-based ads through Advertising.com, have expressed an interest in buying search ads that target that same audience, Dariusz Paczuski, VP of Search Products, AOL Platforms, told ClickZ.

“These advertisers have been working with us on display and performance-based ads, but we’ve had no answer for search,” he said. “Now we’re able to offer a complete solution.”

Paczuski noted that AOL’s own research, as well as multiple third party reports, have noted a boost in performance when advertisers buy both search and display ads.

AOL will continue to share revenue from ads on its network with Google, though Paczuski declined to say whether the arrangement changed with this new implementation. This is the first time Google has offered a white-label version of the AdWords platform.

Plans for a white-label version of AdWords have been in the works for more than a year. A beta version was introduced to a set of 20 to 30 advertisers in December 2006, and most of those advertisers have renewed their ad buys and increased their spend on the platform, Paczuski said.

AOL has also made some changes to its shopping search and local search products. At shopping.aol.com, comparison shopping results previously supplied by Shopzilla have been replaced by results from new partner Pricegrabber. A new AOL Local Search beta has also been launched, sporting a combination of results from AOL-owned MapQuest, AOL CityGuide, and Yellow Pages business listings.

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