Overture Licenses Contextual Ad Technology

Contextual ad technology provider Quigo Technologies announced on Wednesday that it inked a licensing deal with Overture Services .

With the deal, Overture will use Quigo’s AdSonar to back up its own homegrown technology that powers its Content Match contextual ad product.

Quigo, a 30-person startup based in New York, combines the algorithmic and editorial approaches to determine the content of a page and its best matched keyword advertising. AdSonar uses a human editor to set up relevancy boundaries for its semantic algorithm, which then learns a site’s features and builds a database of information about the site.

“Google doesn’t do this,” said Michael Yavonditte, Quigo’s chief executive and a former executive at Alta Vista. “We train the artificial intelligence.”

Neither Yavonditte nor Overture would detail how Quigo would complement Overture’s own algorithmic technology used in Content Match.

For large portions of what they can’t do internally, we’re going to be doing that,” Yavonditte said.

Since its launch in late June, Content Match has played a game of catch-up with Google’s AdSense, begun four months earlier.

Both search titans hope to extend the wild popularity of search into content pages by matching up the content of a page to their respective troves of advertisers. Google boasts over 100,000 advertisers; Overture reports 95,000.

So far, Overture has announced distribution deals with MSN, Edmunds.com, and, most recently, Knight-Ridder Digital. In comparison, Google has distribution deals with large publishers like Weather.com and Switchboard.com. The company has backed its distribution deals up with a self-service option for small publishers to gain even greater reach. Google has not said how many publishers have signed up for AdSense.

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