Bits & Bytes for October 14, 2004

Overture Tweaks Ad Features

Overture has changed its phrase and broad match types, introduced a budgeting feature and will provide more granular tracking URLs.

The company has simplified its keyword matching capabilities, combining Phrase and Broad match types into one type, now called Advanced. With this match type, a listing is displayed when all of the words in an advertiser’s keyword appear in the user’s search term, no matter what the order.

Overture also added a budgeting feature, which matches that offered by competitor Google. The tool lets advertisers control their monthly spend by specifying a daily budget.

Advertisers can also now separately track traffic from Precision Match (the company’s pay-for-placement search product) and Content Match, its contextual offering. They can also track different match types. Overture says the new tracking URLs are compatible with “top third-party” analytics systems.

Google Launches Froogle UK

Google’s product search service opened abroad, with the beta launch this week of Froogle UK. As with the U.S. version, Froogle UK will use Google’s search technology to locate product information and connect users to online stores. Products can be sorted by price, filtered by price range, or browsed by category.

As with the U.S. service, Froogle UK will not accept payment for placement within the search results. Merchants who wish to have their products listed on Froogle UK may submit a data feed. Froogle UK will feature AdWords contextual text ads, which appear to the right of search results, clearly identified as “Sponsored Links.”

PlanetOut IPO Raises $41.8M

PlanetOut, an online media company serving the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community, today began trading shares on the Nasdaq under the symbol LGBT. The IPO included 4,650,000 shares of common stock at $9.00 per share. Shares of PlanetOut closed Thursday at $10.40, up 15 percent in its first day of trading.

PlanetOut originally filed to go public in April, hoping to raise $54 million with a predicted share price between $12 and $14. The company delayed its plans in August, citing difficult market conditions. Starts Signing Publishers, one of the start-ups hoping to make money from serving and tracking ads in RSS feeds, has begun signing up publishers.

The company will let publishers select whether they want to be paid on a pay-per-click, per-insert, and per time period basis. Eventually, will consider adding CPM as reliable methods of tracking usage emerge. Adds Site Search Capabilities

Metasearch engine today added site search functionality across its Mamma Media Solutions network, allowing site publishers to offer users Web and site search functionalities and earn revenue from paid links in their site search results.

Web and site search results will open in a new window, so users never leave a publisher’s site. Publishers can choose to implement the Web and site search solutions in tandem or separately. Google introduced a similar tool for its AdSense publishers in June.

“Adding site search technology to our publisher network is designed to increase the site functionality of our valued publishers and in so doing will enable our publisher’s customers to search efficiently, while supplying our advertisers’ targeted link placement based on a user’s direct query,” said Patrick Hopf, VP of business development.

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