Ask Jeeves has announced the launch of its own paid listings program called “Ask Jeeves Sponsored Listings”. Up to now, the majority of search ads on Ask Jeeves were Google AdWords ads, which account for about two thirds of Ask Jeeves’ entire revenue.
Ask Jeeves’ partnership arrangement with Google in regards to Google AdWords will continue until 2007. However, the new Sponsored Listings program will have higher priority than Google AdWords, effectively occupying the top advertising spots, while Google AdWords will only be used as “backfill” in cases where there are not enough of Ask Jeeves’ own Sponsored Listings ads or in cases where Ask Jeeves is making more money by displaying Google AdWords than it would make by displaying Sponsored Listings ads.
Ask Jeeves Sponsored Listings are currently only available to existing Ask Jeeves advertisers (these are mainly large advertisers who have been spending a sizeable budget on Ask Jeeves’ old Premier Listings pay-per-click program), but will be rolled out to the wider market on August 15.
Why would you choose to participate in the Ask Jeeves Sponsored Listings program? The program will require that advertisers spend additional time on management and maintenance. However, if advertisers are willing to part with their cash, they will be able to buy top advertising spots on Ask Jeeves (we are assuming that Ask Jeeves Sponsored Listings will tend to be more expensive than Google AdWords, otherwise it would make more financial sense for Ask Jeeves to just continue displaying the AdWords ads).
You’d also assume that Ask Jeeves will have some mechanism that removes duplicate ads – otherwise an advertiser could occupy two top ad spots by bidding on Ask Jeeves and Google simultaneously. While this could be attractive to advertisers, it seems unlikely that Ask Jeeves would want such a reduction of unique ad content.