March 25, 2002 2:25 PM PST

Google turns up on CompuServe search

America Online subsidiary CompuServe has quietly added Google's paid search results to its Web site, publishing the sponsored listings alongside similar links provided by rival Overture Services.

Google's appearance on CompuServe comes as Overture is renegotiating a key contract with AOL to provide sponsored search results throughout its services.

Sponsored links are essentially an advertising vehicle in which key words, such as "car," are auctioned off to the highest bidder.

U.S. Bancorp Piper Jaffray analyst Safa Rashtchy reported the appearance of Google's sponsored links on the site in a research note published Monday, but he downplayed the significance for the AOL-Overture negotiations.

"We believe this relationship may be a barter-type agreement between AOL and Google as part of an old contract that Google had with AOL's Netscape," Rashtchy's note read. "In any case, we believe this is not a major threat to Overture's relationship with CompuServe."

Overture's partners also include Yahoo and MSN. But it recently lost an account with Internet service provider EarthLink, which dropped the service in favor of Google.

On Friday, Overture issued a statement announcing that its deal with AOL has been extended until April 24, as the companies continue negotiations to renew their relationship.

Representatives from Google and AOL declined to comment on the links, saying only that the companies have not announced any relationship. AOL spokesman Marty Gordon added that the AOL Time Warner division is always testing "different approaches" to its family of Web sites.

 

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