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The gloves have come off between Overture and Google, (allowing their respective lawyers enough agility to hold on to their pens). Three issues ago we wrote about Google’s great fortune in gaining the search account for Europe’s largest ISP, T-Online from Overture. It seems that T-Online’s multi-year deal with Overture had a back out clause allowing them to dump Overture if Overture was ever bought by a competitor. T-Online considers Yahoo, (soon to be Overture’s new owner) a competitor, and cancelled the deal. In reaction, Overture applied for and was granted an injunction against T-Online, preventing them from replacing Overture results with results from Google. Problem is, T-Online had already replaced Overture with Google on August 7th.

While the deal between Yahoo and Overture has not been fully completed, it is expected to be closed sometime in the last quarter of this year. T-Online, on the other hand, claims to have not received the official injunction yet and will not necessarily comply. According to an IDG News article by Gillian Law, a spokesperson for T-Online said, “We have not received any injunction so far. Once an injunction reaches us, it will be given to our legal department for thorough examination.”

The #1 spot for the keyword “injunction” costs just $0.16 per click through on Overture though one can be sure the real thing has cost them quite a bit more in the European theatre.

Search engine marketing firms have reported much lower than expected results from contextual advertising campaigns, comparing click-throughs and actual purchases to the numbers shown by banner advertising. For the accountants and business planners at Google and Overture the news couldn’t come at a worse time. Both Google and Overture are depending on Contextual Advertising programs as significant revenue sources this year. If the bottom drops out of this emerging market, as it has from the once popular banner advertising market, both search firms could take a pretty large financial hit. Read more…

Size is the latest salvo fired in the search engine wars. Last week, Overture announced that its recent acquisition, AlltheWeb had expanded its database to cover 3,151,743,117 pages and had grown larger than Google’s database by about 68Million pages. Google responded yesterday by quietly announcing that it is now spidering 3,307,998,701 on an active basis. In the world of search engines, size matters from an end user perspective. The more pages in the database, the better chances of finding the information you are looking for.

Google and AlltheWeb have a history of competing to be the biggest database that goes back to 2001. This time however, the battle will be a bit more interesting as Overture also announced that AlltheWeb is introducing a stronger ranking algorithm in the coming weeks in an ongoing attempt to produce more relevant results than Google. With the coming integration of AltaVista and AlltheWeb, both owned by Overture, (which in turn is owned by Yahoo), this latest skirmish in the over-all search engine war will be a long and hard-fought one.

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Wednesday, August 20th, 2003

Overture Goes Deep

Overture has introduced a new feature that will allow its paid advertisements to come up under a wider range of keyword phrases. Advertisers will be able to choose between two unique listing formulas, Phrase Match and Broad Match. Phrase Match will allow listings to be displayed when a portion of a keyword phrase appears in the search-user’s request. For instance, when a search engine user types “Good Toronto Tours”, a site with the keyword phrase Toronto Tours would be displayed. Currently, advertisers bid on specific keywords and phrases and only appear when that phrase is entered directly. The other option, Broad Match will serve a listing when a portion of a keyword phrase is used in the search query, regardless of the order of words. For example, “Tours of Toronto Ontario” would produce a site bidding on the keywords Tours, Toronto or Ontario.

- Jim Hedger

Google Adwords Certified Partner Member of SEO Consultants Directory EMarketing Association