NEW YORK -- Companies will be able to use Google's advertising system to purchase ads targeted only to AOL sites such as MapQuest, Moviefone, and the aol.com portal under a program AOL launched yesterday.
Google Inc., which paid Time Warner Inc. $1 billion for a 5 percent stake in AOL LLC, powers AOL's search engine and provides the keyword ads that run alongside search results, targeted to a user's search terms.
Now AOL's new Search Marketplace will give marketers the ability to customize search ads to the AOL audience. Those ads could run alone or be part of broader campaigns .
The program stems from AOL's December 2005 agreement with Google, in which the search leader expanded its partnership with AOL and agreed to invest in the company.
It's the first time Google is offering the ability to target search ads on specific sites, and advertisers will be able to buy ads directly from AOL rather than through Google. Google would not say whether it would offer similar targeting for other companies upon request.
Mike Kelly, president of the AOL unit in charge of advertising sales, said many advertisers have been requesting the ability to target AOL users. AOL and other portals tend to get more repeat visitors than the typical website because they offer e-mail and others services people continually check.
Until now, Google has made the same set of ads available to all third-party search sites in Google's AdSense program. Marketers already have been able to specify the sites on which they don't want their ads to appear; the new program adds the ability to select the specific sites where ads would appear.