Yeah -- in fact -- the title of this thread isn't really correct. This is about a new deal for AdSense -- the contextual ads -- on Terra Lycos sites in the US. It's not involving AdWords, the traditional paid listings product. And Terra Lycos has an interest in Lycos Europe, but Lycos Europe still calls its own shots. (Terra Lycos owns 32 percent, by the way: [lycos.de...]
Lycos Europe is simply amazing. They have these general deals:
+ Search-targeted paid listings powered by Overture. Search for cars at Lycos UK, for example, and you get Overture-powered listings as Sponsored Links in the search results page (http://search.lycos.co.uk/cgi-bin/pursuit?query=cars&cat=loc&matchmode=and&mtemp=main&etemp=error)
+ Contextual/Directory-targeted paid listings powered by Espotting. Visit the Lawn Mowers category, for example, and you get Espotting paid listings (http://uk.lycos.co.uk/dir/Home%20&%20Gardening/Gardening/Lawn%20Mowers.html). In fact, it even looks like they've dropped the actual directory that Lycos Europe used to edit itself in place of all Espotting listings. This dropping of the human-edited directory is news to me, from when I last looked at the situation in June -- but may have been covered in a forum thread here. Did a little looking but didn't see it.
+ Contextual-targeted listings powered by Google. Visit the Lycos Tripod community area sites, get some Google AdSense listings: [members.lycos.co.uk...]
That's only the Lycos-branded sites operated by Lycos Europe. Don't get me going on HotBot Europe. But in general, if someone's got revenue generating links on offer, Lycos Europe has been happy to take them in some way that doesn't conflict with existing deals.
The move by the separate Terra Lycos is more of the same. They had a deal for Overture listings in the main results, then started their own program for paid listings along the side, then cut a paid inclusion deal with LookSmart to insert listings on top of the AllTheWeb results which already carry some paid inclusion. Now Google AdSense ads will float around on non-search pages, as well. No doubt if they can squirrel paid listings in somewhere else, you'll see it happen.
HotBot US, owned by Terra Lycos, also seems to have done a new first recently. It's adopted the colors of Intel's Centrino campaign. It's the first time a major search site has adopted an advertiser's look in such a significant way. Back in 2000, I thought it was already suprising we hadn't seen theming like this before (see [searchenginewatch.com...] if you're curious). Well, now it's arrived.