Thursday, August 26, 2004

Paid Search Ads Thriving at U.K. News Sites, but Trade Journals Tread Lightly

We've been having an interesting internal discussion here at Shore about the value of paid search ads for online publishers from services such as Overture, Google AdSense, Kanoodle and IndustryBrains. According to Silicon.com there's no doubt that United Kingdom-based online publishers such as The Financial Times, Guardian Newspapers and Independent News and Media are enjoying their Overture campaigns, but there's no surprise there when youy come to think of it. In some ways paid search ads are like instant and painless classified ads served up to a highly targeted audience in context with the content that draws them there. Readers can turn instantly into buyers without the overhead of traditional classified operations - though with some careful thought the papers would be wise to consider this route also with their own classifieds. On the other side of the equation are the trade magazine empires such as CMP and IDG which so far shun paid search ads, prefering to go with premium ad sales via traditional channels to gather in as much revenue as possible. This may be the way to go in many ways, but it's very narrow thinking in terms of how to exploit context in their Web operations. Whether with partners like Overture or via their own facilities, the size, shape and intent of paid search ads tend to complement premium ads with full graphics and multimedia very nicely. In analyzing the log files trade publishers may find some interesting opportunities to take them beyond the perceived threats of contextual search ads.
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