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Google in Search Deal with Disney Sites

Google on Monday announced a deal with Walt Disney Internet Group to provide both algorithmic and paid search for a clutch of Disney's Internet sites, adding to its partner network as it goes head to head with Overture Services .

Under terms of the deal, Google's editorial and paid search services are now on Go.com and will appear on Disney.com, Movies.com and FamilyFun.com in a few weeks.

The companies did not disclose the deal's financial terms, its length, or whether it was exclusive.

Disney's sites drew 8.8 million unique users in January, according to Nielsen//NetRatings, and will add to Google's network of paid-search partners. It currently has major distribution deals with AOL, EarthLink and Ask Jeeves.

Visitors to Go.com using the Google search function are returned up to 10 paid listings on the top of the Web search results page, along with editorial search results below. Results at the Disney.com, Movies.com and FamilyFun.com will include site search results and paid listings, according to Google.

Since launching its paid search services a year ago, Google has established itself as a major player in the space and credible rival to longtime leader Overture. Last week, for the first time, Google put a number on its advertising base for its paid listings. The 100,000 advertisers that privately held Google announced surprised some, since it meant Google's AdWords program had 25 percent more advertisers than Overture's more established paid-listings program.

While Disney's Internet unit choose Google for a bevy of its sites, its most-trafficked site, ESPN.com, inked a paid-search deal with Overture last month. In that deal, Overture teamed with Yahoo!'s Inktomi to provide both editorial and paid search. ESPN.com drew 15.2 million unique visitors in January, according to Nielsen//NetRatings.

Likewise, Disney's second most-visited site, ABCNews.com, which drew 10.5 million visitors in January, signed a deal last month to use InfoSpace's WebCrawler search. WebCrawler is a meta-search provider that aggregates results from a variety of search engines, directories and paid-search providers, including Overture.

Still, the Disney deal is a win for Google in its fierce, far-flung war with Overture for supremacy in the search market. Previously, Overture had provided paid-search services for Go.com that expired at the end of February, with Inktomi filling in Web search. The other Disney sites had only site-specific search capabilities.

The two companies have battled for paid-search partners both at home and abroad, while Overture signaled its intention to take on Google's algorithmic search offerings with its recent purchases of AltaVista and the Web search unit of FAST Search and Transfer for a combined $210 million.

Two weeks ago, Google rolled out content-targeted ads, which place AdWords paid listings on relevant content pages. The Disney deal does not include any provision for these ads, according to Google.