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Sunday, November 09, 2003

Fox News Directs Users to Paid Search Ads

While browsing FoxNews.com for "fair and balanced" news, I noticed that their news articles now have built-in links to search results about designated keywords. See this article, "Internet Tax Ban Stalled in Senate," for a look-see.

Notice in the third paragraph, there is a reference to "electronic commerce," which links to this search results page, which is a page powered by Webcrawler. It's no surprise, then, that these "search" results are led off by paid ads syndicated by Overture. Looks like their idea is to "encourage" pre-built searching, and in the process achieve a sort of contextual advertising with more relevance. Very clever, Fox News.

Webcrawler, that long dead search engine that is essentially riding its own coattails thanks to some semblance of brand recognition, left the search engine business years ago, and is now owned by Infospace. They are now mainly a purveyor of metasearch engines that lean heavily toward paid links to make their money. I can't say I blame them for trying to make greenbacks, but I don't find such metasearch engines particularly useful (why not just go straight to Google or Yahoo?).

As far as I can tell, this is the first time a major news site has found a way to legitimately direct visitors to paid search listings, but I think it is very smart, and shows that, due to the lucrative nature of paid search ads, this practice will only increase. It probably won't be long until other major news sites start doing the same.

Posted by Cory Kleinschmidt




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