AIT Takes On Google
The Global Keyword Registry, a flat-fee advertising bid platform, offers the benefits of pay-per-click (PPC) advertising without the problems associated with click fraud. Clarence Briggs, CEO at AIT, calls it "pay for position."
There are 10 paid keyword positions in the search query. Bids are locked in for 24 hours. For example, the keyword "news" cost $2 for the No. 1 position. Regardless of the number of times the keyword "news" serves up and gets clicked on in the 24-hour period, the company that bid on the keyword only pays $2. The number of times someone clicks on the ad doesn't matter, Briggs says. "It will not change the cost to the advertiser."
Traffic determines the bid price. High-traffic sites will eventually need to bid higher, because more people will find the associated keywords more valuable. Ads are approved and posted within an hour.
Briggs wants to take the Web hosting and domain registration company into search, advertising and social media with a variety of products. Aside from the paid search advertising service, AIT offers a private-label search engine, and the advertising module Ad Parity that allows publishers to set up ad units on their Web site, cut out the middleman and serve up text, video and banner ads.
"We're taking all the secret sauce out of the search business, and gee, I hope it doesn't hurt you guys, but the secret sauce stuff is really getting old," Briggs says. "For a technology company like us, which has been in the hosting business since 1995, it got to the point where we just wanted to build our own search engine and ad platform."
After AIT filed a class action lawsuit accusing Google in 2005 of click fraud, the Fayetteville, NC company built the search engine, tybit.com, which now gets between 60 million and 70 million searches monthly. The site has nine major partners and more than 1,000 affiliates. The engine relies on a "decentralized Web crawler that uses grid computing to index the Web," Briggs says. The site also pulls searches from other engines through APIs.
AIT also offers a widget for desktop computers. Downloading the widget, which Briggs calls a mini search engine, lets people customize searches based on preferences and geographical area. Each query teaches the widget search preferences.
Think behavioral targeting, where the consumer controls the data. Rather than someone in a data center collecting and storing information in a server on each search, the data is stored in the desktop widget. The widget also integrates spyware and malware software from Panda, which will soon have a private-label search engine supported by AIT, according to Briggs.