BellSouth Strikes Deal To Resell Google's AdWords
Sukhinder Singh, general manager of Google local and third-party sales, said the deal represents the first time Google has ever allowed AdWords to be resold.
Under the agreement, BellSouth will include AdWords as part of RealSearch Engine Solutions, a search engine marketing service the Yellow Pages publisher sells small- to-medium-sized businesses. RealSearch is designed to simplify search engine marketing for BellSouth's pool of 600,000 local advertisers across nine Southeastern states by allowing them to buy a guaranteed number of leads for a flat fee. On behalf of its advertisers, RealSearch also buys sponsored listings at other major search engines including Yahoo!, but has no official distribution agreement with other search providers.
There are five package offerings, according to RealPages executives, ranging from $80 to $400; Google AdWords will be part of a premium package that begins at $250. Company executives would not disclose the number of leads guaranteed for each price. RealPages' Laurie Scholl said the search engine marketing packages "take the burden of understanding and the day to day upkeep" off marketers' shoulders.
Through the premium AdWords packages, RealSearch advertisers will have guaranteed distribution across the Google Network, which includes Google.com, EarthLink, AOL.com, BellSouth.net, and Switchboard.com, as well as several newspaper and other affiliate sites. According to comScore Media Metrix, the Google Network reaches more than 80 percent of U.S. Internet users.
Google's Singh said the partnership reflects "the next stage" in Google's advertiser-generation strategy, adding that the Mountain View, Calif. company is open to reseller agreements that "make sense." She said that RealPages gives Google AdWords distribution it would not otherwise receive.
AdWords is a do-it-yourself marketing program that supplies advertisers with free tools to manage and track their search engine marketing campaigns. Through the BellSouth partnership, RealPages will handle campaign management and optimization for local advertisers. According to Singh, both companies will collaborate on marketing strategy for BellSouth's premium Google AdWords packages.
Ever since paid search took off, analysts have been wondering how search providers and interactive Yellow Pages providers could make the same model work for small or mid-size businesses, most of which don't have the Web experience of larger companies. Kelsey Group Analyst Greg Sterling said that partnerships such as Bell South/Google and Dex Media/Interland are the answer to that query. Dex Media, a print Yellow Pages and online directory publisher, is offering similar flat fee/guaranteed clicks package deals for local advertisers with Interland and Affinity Internet, two small-business Web hosting companies. Verizon SuperPages.com also recently expanded a similar reseller agreement with paid search listings provider FindWhat.com.
"Our data shows that most small businesses think the Internet is an important advertising vehicle, but they are also confused about it," Sterling said, adding that from a small or mid-size business perspective, such partnerships are "the perfect fit for where the local search market is today."