Cell phones in the UK will soon be serving advertiser-sponsored search engine links after two major players struck a deal with Internet search specialist Overture Services.
Vodafone and France Telecom-owned Orange will begin displaying the new advertisements later this spring on their WAP portals Vodafone live! and Orange World, Overture said on Tuesday.
Overture (which started as GoTo.com) was the pioneer in the practice of selling pay-per-click sponsored search listings at the top of search engine query lists. Advertisers bid for popular search terms with the highest bidder getting the most prominent position atop the list.
The push is now to bring such services to the hundreds of millions of Internet-enabled gadgets and mobile phones.
At launch, Overture will sell WAP page adverts on the mobile operators’ travel portals. A mobile phone user searching for say airfare can navigate with a few key taps to an advertisers’ specially designed WAP page and make a purchase by tapping a “call this number” link.
“Initially, we will deploy our… commercial search model on text and location-based services, gradually moving on to more sophisticated applications allowing easy migration to 3G (mobile technology),” said Martin Child, managing director, Overture Northern Europe.
Overture said that working with British technology firm Mobile Commerce Ltd. it plans to add more operators and more territories in the coming months. Such similar advertising may take shape soon in the US, look for a Google/Overture/Kanoodle fight over such big money territory.