Google to power Terra Lycos U.S. ads

The Spanish Web portal signs a pact with the search engine provider to use the Google's context-oriented advertising tools across several of its Web sites.

Matt Hines
Matt Hines Staff Writer, CNET News.com
Matt Hines
covers business software, with a particular focus on enterprise applications.
2 min read
Spain's Terra Lycos signed a pact with Google to use the search engine provider's context-oriented advertising tools across several of its U.S. Web sites.

The two companies said Tuesday that they reached a multiyear agreement for Web network operator Terra Lycos to generate ads for a number of its sites with Google's AdSense program. AdSense is designed to let Web site networks host AdWords, Google's application for matching Internet search terms with related advertisements. Terra Lycos site HotBot has already been employing the Google search tools for roughly one year.

Under the deal, Google will provide AdSense-derived advertising to several of Terra Lycos' U.S. properties, including Angelfire, Lycos, Matchmaker, Tripod and Wired News. Terra Lycos believes that its range of Web holdings offers Google advertisers a bounty of opportunity in lucrative online arenas such as travel, finance, dating and gaming.

Using the system, AdSense identifies the meaning of a Web page and automatically generates relevant text-based ads to show site visitors.

Terra Lycos executives said they expect the deal to help drive multimillion-dollar advertising revenue opportunities from several sites that have been particularly hard to market such as Angelfire and Tripod. Since the two sites host personal Web pages that cover innumerable topics, it can be hard to target ads that are related to visitors' interests, said Tom Wilde, general manager of search services at Terra Lycos.

"You're talking about millions of Web sites with billions of page views around all kinds of content, and that can be hard to sell," Wilde said. "These are perfect opportunities for the contextual approach."

Wilde maintains that Google's technology for the contextual marketing space remains well ahead of its competitors' and indicated that Terra Lycos' experiences with the company's rivals only reinforced that opinion. Google's relative stability was another deciding factor, he said.

"We're constantly reevaluating our needs in this sector, and if there is anything that our experience has taught us, it's that you can't predict who will own (whom) in this market," Wilde said.

Google began its advertising efforts with plain text links that are located at the top of its search results, much like ads used by competitors such as Overture Services, which is in the process of being acquired by Yahoo. The straightforward model proved so profitable that Google launched AdSense in February, which lets Google affiliates host text ads on pages the search engine's algorithms deemed relevant to the ads.

Thus far, Google claims that it has signed 150,000 monthly advertisers in part because of its reputation for delivering attractive return on investment. The search engine company also lets advertisers bid for placement atop or next to search results that are related to keywords.

CNET News.com's Stefanie Olsen contributed to this report.