Yahoo! Inc. has plans to launch “Search Marketing Solutions,” with plans to launch up to six new portals in regional languages and acquire or enter into partnership with an Indian company, a company executive said.
"There are plans," Yahoo! Search marketing general manager Sandeep Deshpande said adding that there are no definite dates for launch at this stage.
"We are looking at a lot of Indian languages for search."
The key area of focus of Yahoo search marketing in India is to tap the small and medium businesses, which constitute major portion in the market for Indian marketers and advertisers to help their businesses and consumers connect with each other.
It helps advertisers and marketers to build their brand, attract customers and widen their reach through the Yahoo partner network.
Yahoo! India has launched “Search Marketing Solutions” (in English) for Indian marketers.
"The platform now available in the Indian market is a simplified and easy to use product. Closed to 50 large advertisers and companies related to travel, job, matrimony and other allied domains have signed with YSM. Advertisers will have to pay Yahoo on a per- click basis," Deshpande added.
Company executives said search marketing connects businesses to targeted customers seeking products and services, through advertising model called sponsored search.
George Zacharias, managing director, Yahoo! India in response to a question on its intense competition with Google search marketing domain said that Yahoo does not see Google as a competitor in this segment.
“The demand for the search marketing solution is huge from the advertisers and marketers and there is more than enough space for both Google and Yahoo to work,” said George.
Craig Wax, regional managing director, Yahoo! Search Marketing said, "Yahoo, now a $13 billion company, is going to be a $33 billion company worldwide by 2010. It derives 55 per cent of the revenue in US from search marketing".
"The Indian market is of strategic importance to Yahoo! Now as part of the global Yahoo! Organization, it can provide businesses of all sizes - from large, branded advertisers to micro- entrepreneurs - a way to easily and effectively target and reach over 25 million active internet users in India," he added.
Yahoo! Search marketing offers two models, sponsored search and content match, which will help businesses and consumers, connect to each other.
- Sponsored search: Allows businesses to bid for highly visible placement within the web results that are served in response to user's search for a specific product or service.
- Content match: Will facilitates the placement of listings on content sites, newsletters, blogs and online publications, driving more traffic to the marketer's site.
Yahoo will use “high touch model” to educate SMB's customers to choose the right keywords for better ROI and also plans to introduce YSM in vernacular languages also.
"The company is planning to launch new portals in about 2-6 Indian regional languages and an announcement to this effect is expected in the next few weeks," a company spokesperson said.
The official did not say whether the portals in regional languages would be an extension to its existing ones or will be new.
YSM is already being employed by marketers in 23 countries to address their business need and Yahoo considers India as a very important market for the YSM solution.
India with its 25 million Internet users, most of whom use Yahoo for their communication needs, presents a good bet for customers to target consumers using YSM. Total YSM distribution network reaches over 90 per cent of internet users in India, Deshpande said.
Yahoo would add 200 software engineers at its R&D centre at Bangalore, taking the total headcount to 1,000 by the end of the year, the official said.
The Indian R&D center of Yahoo is the largest center for the company outside the US and employs about 10 per cent of company's total workforce, the spokesperson said. The company is also expanding its R&D center in Bangalore and has acquired a new building for the expansion.
The spokesperson said Yahoo is in discussions with various Indian companies for partnerships and acquisitions and a decision to this effect is expected in the next 6-10 months.
However, the official declined to divulge further details about the investments lined up for India.
"The investments will be made depending upon the opportunities which arise," the company official said. Yahoo had recently made an equity investment of $8.65 million in matrimonial portal Bharatmatrimony.com.
The company has also entered into a tie-up with MSN to provide interoperability between the company's two messengers.