Google’s stranglehold on the search engine market will present the biggest obstacle to pay-per-click advertising firm Espotting Media, which today announced its entry into the Irish market through a link-up with Yahoo! UK & Ireland and Esat BT.
Espotting serves as a middleman between search engines and advertisers by providing high-placed web search results and receiving a fee from the advertiser every time someone clicks on one. Yahoo! UK & Ireland and Esat BT sites IOL and oceanfree.net carry Espotting’s top five results, marking them as ‘sponsored matches’ on the results page.
Espotting claims to operate in more European countries than any other pay-per-click network, servicing UK, France, Germany, Spain, Italy as well as Ireland and plans to open in Scandinavia by the first quarter of 2003. However, it faces a common and formidable competitor in all markets in the shape of Google, according to Tom Ewing, an internet analyst with Nielsen NetRatings in the UK.
“The main thing with Espotting is that Google is not part of their programme and Google is currently accounting for 50pc of all time spent searching on the web in Europe. Google makes its ad money from a very similar service,” he remarked. “The idea of selling search engine results has been floating around for years and Google has built a business model around it.”
Ewing added that Google’s popularity effectively “put a ceiling” on the growth that Espotting could expect, despite its partnerships with many leading search engines.
Espotting Ireland is based in Dublin. Aidan McDonnell has been appointed managing director and brings over 17 years of experience of working in the IT sector for companies such as Mitsubishi. Rahul Rana has been appointed sales manager. Previous experience includes working for web developer Ecom Ireland and project manager for Unison, the Irish Independent’s news portal.
By Brian Skelly