Media Companies Turn To Fast Search To Battle Google, Yahoo For Ad Dollars - InformationWeek

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Media Companies Turn To Fast Search To Battle Google, Yahoo For Ad Dollars

Fast Search & Transfer offers a series of search-based services and products that cover all important media formats to help companies reclaim advertising business lost to Google and Yahoo.

Alarmed at their growing loss of advertising revenues, several dozen media companies have teamed up with Fast Search & Transfer to develop a comprehensive search-based business platform they hope will help them keep a larger percentage of ad dollars.

Called FastMedia, the platform features a series of search-based services and products that cover all important media formats including audio, video, images, and text. FastMedia, which was formally announced Monday, is aimed not only at breaking new ground in media search, but also at taking back advertising business lost to advertising search giants like Google and Yahoo.

"The major search engines have disrupted the relationships that media companies have with their audiences, as well as their relationships with advertisers," said Perry Solomon, VP and general manager of Fast's Media Solutions Group, in an e-mail. "There is no longer any reason to use third-party advertising networks; no longer a need to share revenue or customers."

Fast has cobbled together several separate products based on its twin flagships, Fast ESP and Fast Adaptive Information Warehouse. The products include: Fast AdMomentum, a private label contextual ad platform; Fast Multimedia Miner, a feature enabling audiences to search in different formats; Fast Featured Content, a merchandizing and promotion product; Fast Unity, a federated search offering; and Fast MSP, a mobile search feature.

One satisfied user of FastMedia is the Boston Globe, a unit of the New York Times. In a statement, Bob Kempf, VP of products at the newspaper's Web site, Boston.com, said: "We have utilized technology from Fast to power a search product that surfaces results from our own content as well as from a strategically defined set of other local Web sources to produce a new utility for our local audience."

Like most major U.S. newspapers. the Boston Globe has seen its advertising revenues and margins drop. Some papers, like the McClatchy chain are working with Google and Yahoo.

In promoting FastMedia, Fast cited a recent study by IDC, which found that most Web surfers bypass search engines and move directly to their direct source of interest. The market research firm found that "more than 70% of search queries do not originate on search engines."

Fast said its internal studies of major media customers found that its Fast network already generates as much search traffic as Yahoo and will pass Google in two years.

"The numbers tell a powerful story, for both Fast and its customers," said Solomon. "The search traffic numbers which we're seeing across Fast's media customer base is a true expression of the 'long tail' -- the aggregate volume of search traffic for media companies will soon overtake the traffic at any search engine. Now the challenge is to help media companies make better and more profitable use of that search traffic."

Media companies that have been partnering with Fast on the products include the Financial Times, Hearst Corp., Reed Elsevier, the Reuters Group, TV Guide, and The Washington Post.

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