Ah-ha.com Adopts New Moniker

Paid search company ah-ha.com has changed its name to Enhance Interactive, launched a new Web site and introduced two new products.

The name change was motivated foremost by a gradual change in ah-ha.com’s business model, according to executives of the Provo, Utah-based company. Ah-ha.com was conceived in 1999 as a consumer-facing search engine, but the firm is now a B2B paid listings provider. A secondary driver was the fact that some people found the spelling of the company’s name confusing.

The new name is intended to suggest a service that is ideal as a complementary offering for clients already advertising with the big dogs — Google and Yahoo!-owned Overture.

“The Enhance Interactive brand clearly conveys the value that we bring advertisers looking to augment… their paid search programs,” said CEO Paul Brockbank in a statement.

The company’s new services include keyword matching, designed to increase exposure of ads by turning up listings on related terms, and an interface supporting the simultaneous management of multiple listings. Google and Overture both offer similar products.

Search is currently the hottest sector in online advertising, with Jupiter Research estimating revenues will surge to $4.3 billion by 2008. Google and Yahoo!’s Overture have staked out the top two positions, but a lot of money is still up for grabs. Microsoft, for one, has plans to build its own search technology, which may incorporate paid search or paid inclusion listings. Meanwhile, smaller players like Enhance Interactive, Search123.com, Mamma and Kanoodle are working to build out their offerings to keep up with the leaders.

While Enhance’s distribution network contains some big sites, including Excite, EarthLink, and MSN, its focus is mostly on niche and meta search engines. The company offers paid listings, contextual advertising and paid inclusion.

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