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Yahoo to put price on searches

The Web powerhouse plans to unveil a pay-per-view search product Wednesday, the latest premium service aimed at offsetting its online advertising decline.

Yahoo plans to unveil a pay-per-view search product Wednesday, the latest in a string of premium services aimed at offsetting a sharp decline in its online advertising.

Dubbed "Yahoo Premium Document Search," the service is designed to expand on a previous agreement with search technology provider Northern Light Technology, which has sold its premium search business and some other assets to enterprise software company Divine. Northern Light last year created a premium search engine for Yahoo's corporate clients.

"This fits into our desire to diversify revenue and more effectively monetize search and directory," said Scott Gatz, vice president of search and directory for Yahoo. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The move comes as Yahoo launches a flurry of money-making schemes in a bid to revive its revenue, which dipped to $717 million in 2001 from $1.1 billion the previous year.

Last November, Yahoo struck a deal with paid search service Overture Services to integrate pay-for-placement listings into its search results. In addition, Yahoo has begun to charge visitors for a smattering of services, including more e-mail memory, real-time stock quotes, online personals and auctions.

Although the new search service has not officially launched, a preview available to Web surfers Tuesday offered a glimpse of what's to come.

According to the site, Yahoo plans to charge consumers between $1 and $4 to retrieve files from a specialized database of some 25 million research documents culled from 7,100 publications, including academic periodicals. Yahoo also expects to offer a "Premium Discount Search" option of 50 documents a month for $4.95.

Search results on the preview site are identical to those found on the paid search service offered on Northern Light's home page.

Northern Light declined to discuss the deal.

"We are not able to talk about that at this point," said Camile Roberts, a spokeswoman at Northern Light. "We have always offered premium content on the Northern Light site."