LookSmart Unveils Reporting Center

Paid search listings player LookSmart has taken the
wraps off a new feature of its service called the “Reporting Center,” a
password-protected section of its site where its advertisers can see the
results of their marketing campaigns.

The Reporting Center, which was built using the assets of Primary Knowledge,
which San Francisco-based LookSmart acquired in 2001, is aimed at addressing
the concerns of advertisers, which, in these troubled economic times, are
more than ever concerned about optimizing campaigns and measuring return on
investment (ROI).

“As search targeted marketing begins to command a larger portion of
marketing budgets, businesses need to monitor the spending of those
dollars” said Robert Goldberg, senior vice president of sales, marketing
and international operations for LookSmart. “The LookSmart Reporting Center
will let marketers thoroughly understand the performance of their search
marketing campaigns so they can evaluate them against the rest of their
marketing mix.”

The Reporting Center is accessible through a Web-based interface, and it
allows advertisers access to performance data on both graphical ads and text
search listings on LookSmart. The data can be arranged by campaign, by
product, or by URL, with performance metrics calculated over a variety of
time periods.

The unveiling of the Reporting Center comes just a few weeks after the
leader in the space, Overture Systems, released its
latest self-service offering for advertisers. More sophisticated than the
LookSmart system, Overture’s “DirecTraffic Center” lets advertisers manage
their bids and listings, as well as check on their performance.

LookSmart says its new features were designed to attract and hold onto major
advertisers, who have latched onto search engine marketing as a low-risk
venture, given that they need pay only when prospects actually click on a
link to their Web sites. That popularity has, in turn, spawned increasing
interest by agencies, which are seeking easier ways of managing and
measuring their clients’ search spending, which, for some large companies,
involves the purchase of thousands of keywords.

Management features may prove to be a distinguishing factor in the industry,
as players like Overture, LookSmart, Google, and FindWhat jockey for
position. In recent months, the battle has mostly involved competing over
distribution partners. Last week Ask Jeeves abandoned its relationship with
Overture to sign a deal with Google — a development reminiscent of AOL’s
similar choice of Google over Overture. Overture, though, chalked up Yahoo!
as a long-term partner, signing the popular portal player to a deal to
distribute its listings.

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