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4/6/2007
05:45 PM
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AOL To Open Ad Market Using Google Technology

The AdWords deal focuses on the marketing benefits to the AOL community using coordinated search and display campaigns.

On Monday, AOL plans to announce the launch of its new AOL Search Marketplace, a white-label (AOL branded) version of Google's search advertising platform known as AdWords.

AOL Search Marketplace aims to let advertisers target their ads specifically at AOL's audience. It includes the ability to place and coordinate a variety of different ad formats, such as search ads and display ads, across AOL properties.

"We've seen there's a very positive impact when search and display campaigns are coordinated," said Dariusz Paczuski, VP of search products at AOL. Advertisers, he said, want "more choice and control in how they run their campaigns."

AOL has no plans to extend the technical capabilities of AdWords, said Paczuski. Rather, the arrangement is about the marketing benefits of a unified approach to the AOL community.

AOL renewed its relationship with Google in December 2005, to the dismay of Microsoft. Paczuski declined to comment on when that deal expires or whether the creation of AOL Search Marketplace, which depends on Google technology, might lead to a renewal of that deal. "The relationship [between AOL and Google] is quite comprehensive and it is quite strong," he said.

AOL has been test-marketing the new system with some 30 advertisers over the past five months. The only beta testing client Paczuski would name is Progressive Insurance. He said the trial was successful and that a majority have renewed and increased their marketing budgets.

The AOL Search network, which includes of AOL.com, Netscape, CompuServe, and others, brought in 36 million unique visitors in February 2007, according to comScore Networks. AOL's ad revenue for the fourth quarter of 2006 was up 49% from the same time period in 2005.

AOL also plans to announce two new AOL Search services that it rolled out recently without fanfare: AOL Local and AOL Shopping. AOL Local is a local search tool based on MapQuest technology and content from AOL CityGuide. AOL Shopping, as its name suggests, is an e-commerce service. It is powered by Pricegrabber.com, a new search partner for AOL.

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