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Overture Eyes Canadian Market

TORONTO -- Overture is getting serious about Canada.

The paid search division of Yahoo! has partnered with pay-per-click network NetWorldMedia, Overture officials said at this week's Search Engine Strategies Conference & Expo.

Under the pact, NetWorldMedia joins Overture's "Certified Ambassador" program. The status has been bestowed on about 10 partners and is the highest level of Overture's partner program.

"We feel that our coverage needs to grow there and NetWorldMedia has several thousand Canadian advertisers that will open up that access for us," said Dan Boberg, Overture's director of strategic alliances, told internetnews.com.

NetWorldMedia is one of the largest Canada-based pay per click networks, generating 120 million queries per month with 8,000 advertisers. According to Erick Vadeboncoeur, vice president of corporate development for NetWorldMedia, the deal had been a year in the making.

"The large advertisers in the U.S. that want to address Canada now can come to us and we'll build them French and English campaigns and make sure that they are covered from coast-to-coast in Canada," Vadeboncoeur said.

"It's all good news for Canadian advertisers, even for American advertisers that don't understand the differences in the marketplaces," he added. "Right now they do it and they don't know what it gives them in return."

Overture's Boberg believes the agreement will bolster the company's presence in Canada ahead of an anticipated launch of Overture Canada later this year.

"We wanted to demonstrate that we're serious about the Canadian marketplace," Boberg said. "We value the marketplace we understand that it has unique needs and we want to grow our presence here and be a significant presence with advertisers and search marketing companies."

The deal with NetWorldMedia is part of Overture's overall strategic direction.

"We are continuing to expand the number of agencies and search marketing companies that we work with," Boberg said. "We work closely with them to make sure they understand how to maximize ROI for their advertisers, and we're just trying to grow that incrementally each quarter."

"We're always trying to expand the product suite to meet the need and then expand the marketplace internationally to meet the growing demand for search around the globe."

Overture has partnerships with numerous international networks. Earlier this year, the company announced that it was continuing its partnership with Europe's second-largest ISP Wanadoo.