Sponsored Links Extend Their Reach

By Matthew Hicks  |  Posted 2005-01-26 Print this article Print

Google and Kanoodle give online publishers options for incorporating sponsored links into everything from Web pages and e-mail newsletters to Weblogs and RSS feeds.

Sponsored links may be a mainstay alongside search results and on Web pages, but the advertising format is increasingly appearing in new places and taking on new forms. Faced with advertisers who want to place more ads and publishers who seek more revenue, sponsored-link providers such as Google Inc. and Kanoodle.com Inc. are trying out approaches ranging from putting sponsored links in e-mail newsletters and syndication feeds to letting users choose the ads they read. Sponsored links have been credited with helping to revive online advertising. They work in an auction model where advertisers bid on the keywords or topics that will trigger their ads. Advertisers then pay a per-click rate based on the number of clicks on a listing.
Just this week, Google confirmed that it is testing a refinement feature for its AdSense contextual ad program for publishers. The feature, appearing below the sponsored links on an unknown number of publishers sites, allows a user to change the AdSense results by clicking on a series of similar keywords or by entering a search term.
A Google spokesman declined to provide details about the test. "Were always looking for new ways to give publishers new features, and this is a test and is a result of those efforts," the spokesman said. Googles latest tweak, though, follows a broader shift in sponsored links. Publishers are incorporating the ads into more of their online content. Read more here about Googles plans to give advertisers more access to its ad system. About a year ago, Google quietly began placing AdSense ads into the e-mail newsletters of publishers with which it has direct relationships. Meanwhile, competitor Kanoodle, a New York-based startup, plans to widen its publisher options this year by letting them choose among various types of sponsored links that are targeted to a pages content, user behavior or local information. Google began offering AdSense for e-newsletters because of demand from publishers, said Brian Axe, a Google product manager. The ads work similarly to the contextual ads that Google offers for content-heavy Web sites. They can be added to HTML-based newsletters. When a reader opens the e-mail, AdSense returns sponsored links based on the context of the content in the newsletter, Axe said. "Its essentially a no-brainer to add this to existing newsletters, and they get incremental revenue without having to do anything," Axe said. Google plans to eventually expand the newsletter option beyond its direct AdSense partners to include the smaller publishers who use AdSenses online self-service program. "Its a goal, but we havent put any dates around it," Axe said. Next Page: A broader approach from Kanoodle.

Matthew Hicks As an online reporter for eWEEK.com, Matt Hicks covers the fast-changing developments in Internet technologies. His coverage includes the growing field of Web conferencing software and services. With eight years as a business and technology journalist, Matt has gained insight into the market strategies of IT vendors as well as the needs of enterprise IT managers. He joined Ziff Davis in 1999 as a staff writer for the former Strategies section of eWEEK, where he wrote in-depth features about corporate strategies for e-business and enterprise software. In 2002, he moved to the News department at the magazine as a senior writer specializing in coverage of database software and enterprise networking. Later that year Matt started a yearlong fellowship in Washington, DC, after being awarded an American Political Science Association Congressional Fellowship for Journalist. As a fellow, he spent nine months working on policy issues, including technology policy, in for a Member of the U.S. House of Representatives. He rejoined Ziff Davis in August 2003 as a reporter dedicated to online coverage for eWEEK.com. Along with Web conferencing, he follows search engines, Web browsers, speech technology and the Internet domain-naming system.

Submit a Comment

Loading Comments...
Manage your Newsletters: Login   Register My Newsletters

Rocket Fuel