Marketing: Search Engines: You Pay, You Play

SEARCH ENGINES

In the old days, internet searches were easy. You typed in a term--say, motherhood--and Yahoo and other engines spit out a list of sites ranked by human editors or by a formula, such as how many times the word had appeared on a site. There was a purity to the old way, but something was missing: a profit stream.

That profit stream has been located and claimed by Bill Gross, founder and CEO of Internet "incubator" Idealab. Gross created GoTo, the leading pay-for-placement search engine, in 1998, and now it's hotter than ever. Listings on GoTo are ranked by cold, hard...

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