B2B Publisher Enters Search Ad Market

As search advertising goes more vertical, ThomasB2B.com targets its new sponsored listings to the business-to-business market of industrial products.

SAN JOSE, Calif.—A joint venture backed by a century-old directory publisher is adapting one of the newest forms of online advertising to the industrial-products market.

ThomasB2B.com LLC on Monday will announce the beta launch of its paid-search service that targets sponsored listings to the business-to-business market, company president Dan Savage said during an interview this week at the Search Engine Strategies conference here.

The New York companys goal: to offer a vertical industry alternative to the broad paid-search services from Google Inc. and Yahoo Inc.s Overture Services.

The ThomasB2B.com service lets advertisers bid for top positioning in sponsored listings based on 20,000 specific industrial-product categories rather than on broad keywords, Savage said.

In the beta service on the ThomasB2B.com site, the paid listings appear atop relevant search results pulled from directory information on companies in 29 countries and seven languages.

The service follows the pay-per-click model of most search-based advertising but charges a higher minimum fee of 25 cents per click because the ads are more targeted, Savage said.

/zimages/2/28571.gifWhat about local paid search? Click here to read more about how Overture joined Google in geographically targeting ads.

The launch of ThomasB2B.com points to an emerging trend of more specialized pay-per-placement ad services. In June, startup Quigo Technologies Inc. launched a contextual ad service focused on niche markets such as the health, beauty and fitness, travel and education industries. Other specialized search engines, such as Business.com Inc., have embraced the pay-per-click model.

"In general, were seeing more and more of these vertical sites for search selling their own advertising," said Danny Sullivan, editor of Search Engine Watch.

/zimages/2/28571.gifTo read more about the growth of specialty search engines, click here.

ThomasB2B.com plans a full release of its service in September and is working to expand the network of B2B sites running the search-based ads, Savage said.

"Our challenge is working with people that weve competed with in the past," Savage said. "A lot of competitors in the catalog and trade magazine space are our natural customers."

ThomasB2B.com is a joint venture of Thomas Global Register LLC.—a division of publisher Thomas Publishing Company LLC that produces online industrial-product directories—and paid-search provider FindWhat.com Inc.

The new service was built using FindWhat.coms private label program, which allows companies to use FindWhat.coms technology and services to build their own paid-search programs.

FindWhat.com created its private label program in 2002 in anticipation of more businesses creating their own pay-per-click ad programs to address specific industries and markets, said Craig Pisaris-Henderson, chairman and CEO of the Ft. Myers, Fla., company.

Other customers of the private label program include portal Lycos Inc., directory provider Verizon SuperPages.com and Japanese conglomerate Mitsui & Co. Ltd.. This week, FindWhat.com also announced a deal with one of Canadas largest telephone directory companies, Yellow Pages Group Co.

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