Espotting Offers FAST Search

With Google and Overture eyeing up the nascent European search market, two leading European search players inked deals Wednesday.

European paid listings provider Espotting Media signed an agreement to offer the search services of Fast Search & Transfer (FAST), a Norwegian search technology provider, along with its paid listings, thereby offering a complete search solution that will compete with Google.

While the services will remain separate, London-based Espotting will now be able to differentiate itself from Overture, since it will offer search results as well as paid listings, offering a package of services comparable to Google’s, which includes both algorithmic search technology and AdWords paid listings.

In addition, Espotting paid listings will appear on the search results page of FAST’s AlltheWeb site, which serves as the company’s showcase site for its search technology. AlltheWeb currently carries paid inclusion from LycosInSite.

“This deal sees to key European search market players joining forces,” said Jonathan Bunis, Espotting’s chief operating officer. “Our relationship with FAST provides benefits to all our partners. Our advertisers benefit from a significant increase in distribution through AlltheWeb, and our affiliates can now choose FAST as a Web search supplier to complement their Espotting listings.”

The financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

Thus far, one Epsotting affiliate, European mobile Internet portal O2, has signed up to use both search services.

Espotting is fighting a two-front battle, as both Overture and Google eye Europe’s mostly untapped search market. Overture has been building its business in the United Kingdom since 2000. The U.S. paid listings giant recently inked a two-year deal extending its relationship with Freeserve, the largest Internet service provider in Britain with 2.5 million subscribers. Google’s AdWords thus far appear only on its site in Britain, although the search player has shown an interest in the market by competing with Overture to snag Freeserve.

Currently, Espotting boasts deals with sites such as Yahoo! Europe, LookSmart, and Easy Internet Cafes. It boasts a stable of 12,500 advertisers and generates about 120 million leads each month. In addition to results on AlltheWeb, FAST powers search on Terra Lycos, Infospace, Tiscali, and T-Online. FAST also sells corporate data search services to the likes of Dell, Ericsson, IBM and Reuters.

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