Google search engine enters pay-per-click ad market

The internet search engine Google is to launch a service, called AdWords, that will see it muscle into the pay-per-click ad market and go head-to-head with Espotting Media and Overture, its main rivals.

It launched the self-service system on its site to enable agencies and advertisers to bid for keywords entered into the search engine.

"The goal is to put tools in the hands of agencies to allow their clients to reach our user base," Omid Kordestani, the senior vice-president of global sales at Google, said.

The move is likely to be an attractive proposition to advertisers - Google is ranked as the fourth-largest website in the UK with 7.7 million unique users, according to August figures from Nielsen/NetRatings.

Google is next looking to syndicate its AdWords product to partner sites, such as the major portals, posing a direct threat to Espotting and Overture, which have deals in place to provide their own listings to the likes of MSN and Yahoo! UK & Ireland.

"Now we have launched we want to syndicate. Partners may want multiple listing suppliers but that will be up to them," Kordestani said. "We are looking to build our own network, but we are already big enough to build the scale of advertisers we will attract."

The AdWords service will be supported by a sales and operations team to help clients and suggest strategies.

Google will also monitor the companies acquiring rivals' brand names for their own campaigns, but Kordestani said such activity would only be removed if a particular company filed a complaint.

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