Lycos to Develop Own Paid Placement Listings

Web portal Lycos is looking to join the paid listings flock in a move to boost its income from search.

The site, a unit of Terra Lycos with offices in Waltham, Mass., is teaming up with New York-based paid listings provider FindWhat.com to add auction-based pay-for-placement keyword advertising to its suite of search engine-based products.

By adding the new product, dubbed InSite AdBuyer, Lycos is aiming to capitalize on the success enjoyed by Overture , which has become the leader in the paid placement search engine space, and which syndicates its listings to portals, including Lycos. Now, like Overture, Lycos will rank its cost-per-click AdBuyer listings based on the amount advertisers are willing to spend.

“There are more than 350 million Web searches performed on the Internet every day and keyword targeting represents one of the most effective advertising approaches available,” said Tom Wilde, general manager of search services for Terra Lycos.

Overture isn’t the only paid listings giant that Lycos will emulate with the new listings, which will appear separate from and to the right of its unpaid, spidered search returns. That’s evocative of the way that Google displays pay-for-placement AdWords that run alongside its own spidered search results.

As a result of the new product, Lycos will be able to offer advertisers its own paid placement solution, in addition to the paid inclusion and hosted site search products it sold through its older Lycos InSite program, which launched in February. (That’s similar to the business model of yet another veteran in the search engine space — San Francisco-based LookSmart.)

Additionally, the portal said it plans to continue syndicating listings from Overture — from which it receives a share of cost-per-click revenue — so that Terra Lycos search returns will include both InSite AdBuyer and Overture listings, in addition to returns generated from the older InSite paid inclusion practice, and Lycos’ own spidered listings.

Wilde said the company would start promoting the new service to advertisers this week, with the goal of collecting a “critical mass” of users by the end of the month, when it plans to begin allowing advertisers to bid on keywords. Paid-placement ads should appear for the first time in mid-September, he said.

Lycos will require a minimum initial spend of $100 for AdBuyer ads, while bidding for each keyword will start $0.05 per click.

Wilde also indicated that Lycos is considering taking another page from Overture, Google and LookSmart by considering ways to syndicate the service, after it goes live. To that end, HotBot, an affiliated search engine owned by Terra Lycos, also will display keyword ads sold through InSite AdBuyer.

“Our initial product was paid inclusion into the Lycos search engine, but we’re aiming to make this a comprehensive search marketing dashboard,” Wilde said. “Going across multiple Internet search marketing outlets — that’s the future of Lycos InSite. It allows us to expand into the cost-per-click arena directly, and to establish relationships on our own.”

“The starting point is to allow them to manage search marketing campaigns seamlessly on Lycos,” he said.

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