Yahoo & MSN (Bing) Partnership Overture Déjà vu?

As we all know history repeats itself. The new potential partnership between Yahoo and Microsoft (now Bing search) is very reminiscent of the original Pay Per Click company Overture, a business that was acquired by Yahoo in December of 2003 for 1.6 billion.

About Overture

Overture was founded in 1998 and launched as It later adopted the Overture name after copyright issues with Disney’s search engine Overture was the 1st company to establish the Pay Per Click or keyword bidding process for search engine advertising. The bid-per-click revenue model was later adopted by Google in late 2002 when the AdWords program was developed. Overture started by establishing partnerships with all the major search engines at that time: Yahoo, MSN, AltaVista, Earthlink, AOL, Netscape and Lycos. The idea was that you could buy keywords on and your ads would appear across multiple search engines. The ads appeared on the engines with three text listings and the highest-bidding advertiser would pay the market rate to maintain the top spot. This was a very efficient way for advertisers to buy ads across multiple networks and became a great revenue generator for Overture and the search partners. Yahoo finally acquired Overture in December of 2003 for 1.6 billion. This acquisition hence dissolved the partnership with MSN shortly after because MSN and Yahoo were fierce competitors at the time. With Google being such the dominate player in the market place it appears former competitors are now allies.

Yahoo and MSN (Bing) Partnership July 2009

Yahoo! and Microsoft announced an agreement. In simple terms, Microsoft will now power Yahoo! search while Yahoo! will become the exclusive worldwide relationship sales force for both companies’ premium search advertisers.  In other words, advertisers will be able to purchase their ads through Yahoo! and have them appear across the entire Yahoo/MSN network.

It is too soon to say what impact this will have in the search market, and there are a lot of unanswered questions.

Stayed tuned exciting times ahead for the Search Market!

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