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Google Buys Sprinks

And does 4 year deal with About

     
2:13 pm on Oct 24, 2003 (gmt 0)

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press release [primedia.com]

"Google and About.com In Four-Year Revenue Sharing and Distribution Agreement; Google Acquires Sprinks Unit

NEW YORK, Oct. 24 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- PRIMEDIA Inc. (NYSE: PRM), the leading targeted media company, announced today that it has reached a search and contextual advertising agreement with Google Inc. that includes a four-year distribution and revenue sharing agreement for PRIMEDIA's About.com as well as the sale of its Sprinks unit to Google. Sprinks is the pay per click advertising network, which serves About.com and numerous third party
distribution partners. Financial terms were not disclosed."
2:29 pm on Oct 24, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Cool catch, werty.

I wonder if they'll just throw away Sprinks and throw AdSense in there. That's the tone of the PR, at least.

2:40 pm on Oct 24, 2003 (gmt 0)

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There's a lot happening at the moment in the Search Industry. Sounds like "Search War" to me. Thanks for the news!
2:42 pm on Oct 24, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Did anyone have any info on this before it happened? Or did it just come out of the blue? If so I wonder who else they will snatch up unexpectedly.

Who owns kanoodle?

3:34 pm on Oct 24, 2003 (gmt 0)

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So, does this mean that Ask Jeeves will be free via Google?
6:25 pm on Oct 24, 2003 (gmt 0)

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As a long time (and long suffering) Sprinks advertiser it's not a surprise that they have gone the route of Google. We have 83 terms and all are number 1 with no competition. The competition has disappeared over the last 18 months.

In the last three days we have had 0 clicks. In that same time the search terms in AdWords and Over provided 700 clicks.

It's probable that Google will just throw out Sprinks Search and convert the adverisers over to AdWords.

6:28 pm on Oct 24, 2003 (gmt 0)

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>probable that Google will just throw out Sprinks Search and convert the adverisers over to AdWords.

Bingo. They just bought Sprinks using Primedia's own content to fund the purchase.

6:31 pm on Oct 24, 2003 (gmt 0)

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>They just bought Sprinks using Primedia's own content to fund the purchase.

A great move. As advertsing newbies they really seem to have grasped the nature of the game, kudos to them.

6:34 pm on Oct 24, 2003 (gmt 0)

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If users weren't clicking on Sprinks ads, why will they click on Google's ads?
6:38 pm on Oct 24, 2003 (gmt 0)

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>why will they click on Google's ads

More inventory.

6:40 pm on Oct 24, 2003 (gmt 0)

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You think Google will go all paid inclusion?
6:40 pm on Oct 24, 2003 (gmt 0)

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>If users weren't clicking on Sprinks ads

I think BT would have to order extra hardrives to cover just 10% of it.

Everything that could be wrong was wrong.

6:41 pm on Oct 24, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Sprinks was doing some pretty broad matching of our terms, and we still only had a trickle.

I wish them all luck, but I just don't think this is a big deal, other than the fact that Sprinks was buried a little earlier than I expected.

6:59 pm on Oct 24, 2003 (gmt 0)

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>Sprinks was doing some pretty broad matching of our terms

And there lies the problem. What G! will bring to the table is targetted ads, better for the users, better for the advertisers. Win, win.

7:52 pm on Oct 24, 2003 (gmt 0)

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http://www.internetnews.com/IAR/article.php/3098631

"The deal calls for Google to become the exclusive provider of contextually targeted and search advertising across the 450 About.com Guide Sites..."

8:25 pm on Oct 24, 2003 (gmt 0)

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For a company that doesn't have stock to swap, Google sure buys a lot of companies. With these larger distribution partners, it would be nice to start seeing the ability to have some pick and choose options among the content syndiction partners.
10:30 pm on Oct 24, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Google sure buys a lot of companies

That shows the profit they been raking in the past couple of years, unless the buy-outs have some claim in the shares when they go ipo. IMHO
3:58 pm on Oct 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Google sure buys a lot of companies.

And I guess they'll buy more once they went IPO.

3:30 pm on Oct 26, 2003 (gmt 0)

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A lot of companies WANT to be aquired by Google in all stock deals right now, even with the outlandish valuation that they are using to acquire these companies ($18BB) based on the premise that they will be able to participate in the Google IPO.

EquityMind

5:12 pm on Oct 26, 2003 (gmt 0)

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>>Sprinks was doing some pretty broad matching of our terms<<

And there lies the problem. What G! will bring to the table is targetted ads, better for the users, better for the advertisers. Win, win.

About.com is a "network of guidesites," and some of its topics will be perfectly suited to AdSense. An About.com guidesite on cruising, weight loss, mutual funds, or car repair will obviously be able to serve much more targeted ads than, say, a general news and entertainment site like THE WASHINGTON POST. Just as important, those individual guidesites will reach targeted audiences.

On the other hand, some guidesites will be terrible venues for AdSense ads, because their topics will be too general and non-commercial. It's hard to imagine urban legends or freebies being successful with AdSense or other contextual ads.

IMHO, About.com's sale of Sprinks and its signing a deal with Google shows the impact that Google's "content ads" are having in the marketplace. The bottom line is that About.com/Primedia is throwing in the towel and conceding the market for text content ads to Google. That's a pretty strong vote of confidence for AdSense and Google.

7:31 am on Oct 27, 2003 (gmt 0)

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I don't like this. We pay much less on sprinks than Google per click. Sprinks work like Overture in that it is a straightforward bid for the top position. Sprinks had been highly effective for us in the past, at one stage we were spending twice as much on Sprinks than adwords.
3:51 pm on Oct 27, 2003 (gmt 0)

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sorry to hear about your situation derekwong, it's unfortunate that you were having good success with the sprinks model and now it's changed so drastically. Of course, i would venture to say that you are in the minority of people who do better with Sprinks than Google AdWords.

it was a wild weekend over at About, as AdWords went into near instant changeover/distribution, and are now EVERYWHERE on content pages there, so things have changed very quickly. the text ads are now even more ingrained into the actual content pages, with less to distinguish them as Adwords.

What I am completely floored by is the fact that Google didn't proactively send an email to all Sprinks advertisers informing them of the changeover - seems like a drastic shift in customer service, totally out of character for Google AdWords, and i'm curious to know how sour some former sprinks advertisers will be about that. because not all also did AdWords before.

7:51 pm on Oct 28, 2003 (gmt 0)

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I posted this on the AdWords forum but here it is agian if anyone is interested:

For those of you who have balances with Sprinks.

I just e-mailed Sprinks customer support yesterday asking what was going on with my account balance. They answered today offering to close my account and credit the balance to my credit card. This has now been done. Very efficient.

8:08 pm on Oct 28, 2003 (gmt 0)

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I'm in the same boat as derekwong as far as better results with Sprinks. I use Google, Overture and Sprinks, but for some clients I get better traffic and always a lower CPC with Sprinks. For high volume/low margin retailers Sprinks is (was) a great option. I think for most current users of Sprinks this means higher competition for keywords in a smaller arena, basically having to spend more for less traffic.

I also prefer having more individual control over the listings and bids, which isn't possible with AdWords.

Nice timing announcing this with their IPO.

12:22 am on Oct 29, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Sprinks worked well for us despite higher clicks. The conversions were not as good as on Google or Overture but came in a close third. Our keywords were a lot cheaper on Sprinks than on Google. The cost of the higher CTR that we saw on Sprinks will not offset the increase in the cost per click for the same keywords on Google.

Jodi

2:55 pm on Oct 30, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Google buying Sprinks came on fast. Is this a good thing? And if so for whom? What does this mean for Sprinks's downstream partners?

Anyone with any insite on this matter....please share you views with me.

Thanks

3:38 pm on Nov 8, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Sprinks has terminated their agreements with their distribution partners. Seems that Google purchased Sprinks to kill it. In the past Google has acquired companies to use their technology. What technology did Sprinks have?