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Home > Learn More > Tech > The History of Overture

The History of Overture

Overture, which is owned by Yahoo Inc., offers marketing services for any company who does marketing and wishes to promote its business online. Overture pioneered sponsored search by putting together the interests of consumers and merchants. It consists of more than 100,000 active, paying advertisers and all of its worldwide distribution partners. Some of its partners include MSN, Yahoo! Wanadoo, AltaVista, Infospace, Hpinvent and CNN. 

Overture was previously known as In early September of 1997 Bill Gross founded the firm. The internet entrepreneur first launched the paid search engine in 1998. When he decided to launch Overture he got hammered with numerous questions. The main question people asked was whether or not he had lost his mind. People wanted to know how he was planning on blending paid search results with unpaid ones, and what made him think that people would pay for a search engine to advertise? A year after  Overture launched, it landed more than 5,000 advertisers. 

In mid June of 1998 Overture put in place a sponsored search service to allow advertisers to place a bid for search result placement on specific keywords significant to their businesses.  Around one year later Overture completed the public offering of its common stock.  Thus commenced trading  in Overture shares on the NASDAQ Stock Market.  On October 7th of 2003 Yahoo! Inc bought Overture, which now operates Overture as a contributory of Yahoo! Inc. Today Gross can point to Overture as a powerful confutation to critics of his Idealab incubator, which produced dot-com investment failures as eToys and cosmetics e-tailer Yet even with Overture’s success there is still controversy surrounding the company.  
Overture is different from other search engines.  Unlike other search engines Overture sells its listings to companies who are willing to pay to be positioned higher in the search results on a bid.  Overture feel as though this process improves relevancy. Overture is intertwined in an intellectual-property dispute with Google. Google accused its Overture of infringing an official document that covers some of the technology behind its system for selling keywords to the highest bidder.
Overture bought AllTheWeb and AltaVista in April 2003.  This was right before Overture was acquired by Yahoo! So now Yahoo! Owns all three of them. Overture provides paid sponsors listings to Yahoo!, MSN, AllTheWeb, and AltaVista.  In addition Overture also receives secondary results from Inktomi, which happens to be owned by Yahoo! as well. Secondary results are very helpful when a search is progress and there are no results for it.  So if a person uses Overture and is searching for “The Miss America Pageant” and Overture comes up with no results for it, the search engine would then turn over to Inktomi for listings on “The Miss America Pageant.”

Overture/Yahoo! is now the world’s premier Internet destination. It reaches more than 330 million customers a month. Their search engine-marketing program offers Sponsored Search.  Sponsored search places a person’s website inside the top three listings of some of the US's top search engine pages. Overture's /Yahoo!'s advertisers obtain just about 170 million highly-targeted sales leads every month, and reach 80 percent of internet users. In addition, they offer ContentMatch, which allows a businesses listing to emerge on the same pages as related content and article information. This way when a user goes to Yahoo! to read an article, the businesses listing will appear right in front of them. ContentMatch also has the capability to aim a user's interests, and direct them to their product and listing info. Whether a person’s advertising goal is to generate more sales, grow volume, or increase product awareness; ContentMatch provides cost-effective results.

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