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Inktomi Expands Amazon Deal

Looking to recover from losing big-name partners to rival Google, Foster City, Calif.-based Inktomi on Tuesday scored an expansion of a deal with Amazon.com to put e-commerce results on its pay-for-inclusion search index.

Inktomi released the news at the Jupiter/IAB Advertising Forum, announcing Amazon.com would include its full product catalog on Inktomi's search index through the Inktomi Index Connect pay-for-performance program.

Inktomi Index Connect provides detailed information about products and services available on the Internet as well as direct access to the exact pages for the items they are seeking.

Through a direct XML feed, Inktomi Index Connect allows Amazon.com to ensure its e-commerce wares appear in Web search results with detailed descriptions, Inktomi said. The results include "information about time-sensitive promotions, such as free shipping that drive purchasing decisions," the company added.

The expansion of the deal gives Inktomi some breathing room in the high-stakes search technology race that's being dominated by upstart Google.

Google has won contracts from former Inktomi partners AOL, iWon, Yahoo! while competitors like Dogpile has also snatched high-profile deals from Inktomi in recent years. Inktomi still provides the underlying search engine for HotBot, MSN Web Search, Overture (formerly GoTo) and Position Tech.

The company has been focused on providing pay-for-placement services in the engines it hosts. Inktomi has been busy striking reseller agreements for Index Connect, deals that include MarketLeap, 24/7 Media's Website Results, iProspect and Inceptor.

Through the company's Index Connect and Search Submit products, retailers like Amazon.com, Nordstrom.com and Crutchfield.com can have their wares appear under the appropriate keyword in Inktomi-powered searches. If, for example, Amazon runs out of inventory on a particular item, or decides to switch out an underperforming product in favor of another, the listings can be updated on the fly.

Additionally, the clients don't need to go through the auction process to secure placement in a keyword, like they generally have to do with a similar service from GoTo.com -- it's handled automatically through a media buy with Inktomi.