November 10, 2003 6:59 AM PST
Overture, SLI to power NBC search
Seeking to capitalize on Web search, Burbank, Calif.-based NBC said it is using new technology to power search on Internet properties NBC.com and BravoTV.com. That technology, provided by SLI Systems, is designed to learn from user queries and deliver more relevant results to visitors over time, NBC said.
Under its Overture deal, NBC will display the company's pay-per-click text ads in a specially marked "sponsored" section atop site results. Financial terms were not disclosed.
"We are confident that the unsurpassed relevance and depth of Overture's commercial search listings, combined with SLI's unique Learning Search technology will match our users with exactly what they are searching for," Stephen Andrade, NBC's vice president of interactive development, said in a statement.
NBC joins a raft of Internet publishers, including CNN and NY Post, which are retooling their Web search features in an attempt to profit from the lucrative business of ad components. Search engine marketing will be worth about $1.6 billion this year, according to estimates from Jupiter Research.
For Overture, a subsidiary of Yahoo, the deal gives it another sizable distribution partner as the company faces increased competition from rival Google. The company recently lost a distribution deal with Lycos to Google.
Both Overture and Google let marketers bid for placement in search results related to specific keywords; marketers pay only when users click on their listings. Overture and Google distribute those results to Web partners and they split fees the collect from advertisers with those partners.
In addition to Overture listings, NBC's new search technology will feature entertainment content from the TV network and merchandise from NBC.
NBC exercised some business nepotism in its search deal too. The company is using patented site search technology from SLI, of which it owns 20 percent. SLI, whose technology used to power search for former NBC properties NBCi and Snap.com, operates "Site Search," which tracks user behavior to deliver more relevant results.