Overture expands paid-search umbrella

The search firm has launched its service in Australia, based on a previously strong Alta Vista presence

Overture has launched its operations in Australia offering paid-placement search services, headed up by an ex-AltaVista heavyweight.

Overture gained a strong presence in Australia when it bought AltaVista in early 2003, and kept most of the local team on. Overture was itself bought by Yahoo as part of the directory giant's battle against Google and Microsoft for the paid-search market.

Overture has opted for a three-tiered pricing strategy depending on the value of the desired search terms, ranging from 10c to $1. Companies then bid on the terms and are ranked in the sponsored search section according to how much they pay per click through.

"Overture conducted extensive research and analysis to determine price points that would do well in this market," Mel Bohse, managing director of Overture Australia told ZDNet Australia. Overture differs from some other companies offering paid search services by revealing how much different companies are willing to bid for a search term.

Bohse refused to say how many customers Overture had attracted in the weeks since launching in Australia. "We're very happy with our results so far -- we're focused on getting customers through the queue," she said.

Yury Glikin, international marketing manager, Flairview Travel, told ZDNet Australia that every time Overture opened in a new market, the travel company made use of its services. Overture determines the location of a searcher from their IP address and serves up location-specific links.

"We've been using Overture extensively in other markets before it came to Australia a few weeks ago," said Glikin. Flairview tripled the number of search terms it used last year.

"We would prefer our editorial submitted to Overture got through a little faster," said Glikin. "I do know it is important that what we submit is relevant. That's why we think [Overture is] successful; it's a relevant and targeted search.

Customers are required to open an account of A$100 (£41.57), and the minimum spend per month is $20. Overture is also looking to partner with good content providers to display the paid listings on relevant Web pages.

Overture will not allow certain search terms to be sponsored, such as pornographic terms, gambling, pharmaceutical goods and other restrictions included in Australian legislation.