Ask Jeeves debuts new sponsored ad system

Search company announces bidding program designed to let advertisers buy, manage ad space on Ask.com, other sites.

Ask Jeeves has a new bidding program for sponsored advertising on its Web properties, the company announced on Monday.

The "Sponsored Listings" program is designed to let advertisers buy, manage and optimize ad space on Ask.com and its syndication network, the company said. Advertisers can bid for ad space in an open auction system.

The offering has been available to existing advertisers since August. It replaces the company's "Premier Listings" product. Marketers will get placement on Ask Jeeves above Google AdWords, which will also continue to be distributed under a partnership with Google that lasts until 2007.

InterActiveCorp announced a US$1.85 billion takeover of Ask Jeeves in March. Since then, Ask Jeeves has said it plans to focus more on its core search business.

Ask Jeeves said the Sponsored Listings program will help both large and small advertisers buy search advertising using a self-service system. It plans to launch the program to advertisers on Ask.co.uk as well within the next 12 month.

Sponsored advertising on search engines is a growing business, with various search giants trying to lure advertisers with convenient tools. Similar bidding systems for ad space are available on Yahoo and Google. Microsoft is also planning similar advertising tools for its Web search engine.