Thursday, July 28, 2005

Interview with Chrysi Philalithes, European Marketing Director, MIVA (Espotting) and Christer Pettersson, Online Manager – Search, Eniro.

Congratulations on the deal between MIVA and Eniro.

Thank you both for taking time out to talk to Multilingual Search and answer a few questions about the deal with MIVA and Eniro.

RASMUS: A lot has happened with Espotting in Scandinavia since launching your service a couple of years ago. Could you maybe tell us a bit on the history behind Espotting and entering the Scandinavian market?

CHRYSI: Sure. Espotting were the first Pay-Per-Click player to enter the Scandinavian market. We launched in Sweden at the end of 2002 and in Norway and Denmark in 2003. Our expertise in the market is second to none - we have been offering Pay-Per-Click solutions to both advertisers and partners for longer than any other player. Our customer base has continued to grow since we launched.

RASMUS: The deal between Eniro and MIVA covers MIVA's Private Label Partner programme which launched recently. Could you tell us a bit about that? How does it work? What does it take to be a Private Label Partner? What are the key benefits for the partner?

CHRYSI: As we all know, Pay-Per-Click has been the shining star of online advertising. Our Private Label Partner programme provides large companies the chance to offer a Pay-Per-Click Advertising solution under their own brand name. For example, through this announcement, Eniro will be offering Eniro Pay-Per-Click Ads to advertisers and partners. The benefits for our Private Label partners are:

• A speed-to-market solution - they can begin offering their own Pay-Per-Click Ads to clients in less time than they would if they were to develop a Pay-Per-Click solution on their own. What this translates to is the ability to earn revenue quickly and effectively.

• MIVA is the largest independent Performance Marketing Network in the world. What do we mean by that? That we do not have a destination site and so we do not compete with our partners for users to their website.

• We pioneered Private Label and have a wealth of experience in understanding partners' needs. Other private label partners include Lycos and Verzion in the U.S and Mitsui in Japan.

RASMUS: Contextual advertising is a hot subject in the online advertising sector these days and more and more companies are launching contextual programmes where ads will be matched to the actual content on the pages where the ads are shown. How will MIVA's listings be served by Enrio? Will it only be in relation to actual search queries or will we see listings on some of Eniro's content properties (Guides) too?

CHRYSI: Espotting (now MIVA) were the first company to develop a Content Product back in 2001 and many of our partner websites in Scandinavia, which will soon come under the Eniro brand, have content as well as search implementations. It's quite interesting to note that we use the word Content and not contextual. Why? Simply put, we believe that the contextual products currently available on the market are not as targeted as our content product which uses a human editorial process to select the keywords that trigger the Pay-Per-Click Ads, as well as automated tools.

RASMUS: How will the advertisers sign up? Through Eniro's properties or through MIVA?

CHRYSI: For the Scandinavian market, in the short-term advertisers will sign up through Espotting and soon through Eniro. For the rest of Europe and the US, advertisers can sign up through MIVA.

CHRISTER: We have been using DART for our advertisers up until today, but we expect to launch direct sign up with Espotting from Eniro this summer.

RASMUS: The press release mentions MIVA's assets in Scandinavia and that the deal falls under the Espotting brand. Does this mean that the Espotting Brand still exists? And what in particular is MIVA's assets in Scandinavia these days?

CHRYSI: When we rebranded our company in June to MIVA, we did not rebrand our Scandi operations – they continued to use the Espotting brand. Now, with the partnership with Eniro, the goal is to use the Eniro brand in Scandi, which is much stronger than the Espotting brand. So the Espotting brand will, in the near future, cease to exist as the front-facing client interfaced brand. To provide more detail on exactly what ‘assets’ were transferred to Eniro, we mean that our contracts with our clients (advertisers and partners) and our team members (our employees!) based in Scandinavia, have been purchased by Eniro. In summary, MIVA, Espotting Scandi's parent company, will, we believe, have a stronger presence in the Scandinavian market through our Private Label deal with Eniro than we would have had by remaining a stand-alone company under either the MIVA or Espotting brand. We think the partnership between us and Eniro (the combination of the Espotting Scandi assets, Eniro’s brand and resources, and MIVA’s ongoing expertise at Pay-Per-Click and providing Private Label solutions) will create a leading (if not the leading) Pay-Per-Click offering in Scandi.

RASMUS: The fact that Eniro bought the Scandinavian assets does that mean that we won't see other Private Label deals in Scandinavia?

CHRYSI: No, it doesn't mean that you won't see other Private Label deals from MIVA.

RASMUS: How much will the deal with Eniro mean in terms of building the reach for Espotting/Eniro advertisers and partners?

CHRYSI: Eniro is, as all your readers know, the leading directory in the Nordics. Advertisers will benefit as their Pay-Per-Click Ads will be displayed across Eniro's web properties. The traffic volumes from across its web properties have continuously increased. In April 2005, the number of unique users to www.eniro.se alone increased by 51% to an all-time high of 4.3m (versus April 2004).

RASMUS: Google's publishers program - Adsense - has seen a huge increase in popularity among many webmasters since it launched and Eniro has been running the Adsense/Adwords programme up untill now. Do you have an oppinion on why MIVA's product was more compelling to Eniro?

CHRISTER: We have been trough mergers and accustions before as have bought other companies before. This aproach had made us a major online directory / yellow page company.

We wanted a program that offeres private label agreements and we looked at the market place and experienced that neither Overture nor Google Adsense offers this solution to their partners today. Furthermore we wanted a running company – a company that was already in business and had experienced employees. Espotting fitted this perfectly and it was the obvious solution to us.

The services now offered through Eniro will run on the same existing technology as MIVA is using today. This was also one of the major issues for us. We wanted to be able to get off the ground quickly and offer our advertisers new marketing solutions.

Finallly Espotting have been researching and analysing new ways of marketing companies online that didn’t have an online pressence (website). Espotting had been working on the Pay Per Call model which was something we also had been pondering about. This and their excisting business model made it a clear to us that Espotting was the right solution for us.

RASMUS: Interesting. Now the next obvious question is; what about Eniro’s excisting arrangement with Google? Today the search properties of Eniro are all using the Google search technology with Adsense on top. How will this turn out in the future?

CHRISTER: Well, so far we have been very pleased with Google – both on the advertising and search platforms. Right now we don’t have any plans of changing the search part away from Google, but of course we will be unsing Espotting as the “sponsored listings” provider. On our content properties and guides we will proberbly be using Google Adsense, but we’re pragmatic and things change all the time, so what the situation will look like in the future, I can’t promise you.

RASMUS: Excellent! Thank you very much both Chrysi and Christer. It has been very interesting talking to you both and I hope the deal between Eniro and MIVA will benefit at lot of webmasters, user and advertisers in Scandianvia.

Press release from MIVA/Espotting on the deal.
MIVA
Eniro