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Google Offers Print Ad Service

From Bloomberg News

Google Inc. is giving advertisers a chance to bid online for space in 28 magazines as part of an effort to extend its reach into print media.

Customers of Google can choose the size of the ad, where it appears and how much they are willing to pay, the Mountain View, Calif.-based company said Thursday.

Google extended its lead over rival Yahoo Inc. as the most-used Internet search engine and now controls almost half the market, according to December data released by Nielsen//NetRatings, which tracks Web use.

The company’s market share increased to 48.8% from 43.1% a year earlier. Yahoo slipped 0.3 point to 21.4%, while Microsoft Corp.'s MSN engine dropped 3.1 points to 10.9%, according to Nielsen. There are about 60 search engines.

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The print program reflects Google’s ambition to use online auctions to sell advertising in media beyond the Web. Google began buying space in PC Magazine and Maximum PC last year. Publications in the new phase of the test include Car and Driver, Budget Living, Martha Stewart Living and Information Week, according to Google’s website.

“Google would like to be the mechanism advertisers use to place ads across virtually all media,” Ben Schachter, an analyst at UBS, wrote Thursday in a note. Investors are “taking a wait-and-see attitude as to whether this can turn into a real business,” he said in an interview.

Clients seeking print ads can see the circulation of the publications they are interested in, as well as demographics of the readership, including average household income and age.

Google offers quarter-page, half-page and full-page ads, according to the website. After selecting the desired date of the publication, clients bid the most they are willing to pay for the ad. Ads run only if the client wins the auction.

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Google is seeking new markets to sustain growth. Magazines garnered 4.7% of U.S. advertising last year, more than the 2.8% for the Internet, according to market researcher EMarketer Inc.

Newspapers, another market that Google is testing by placing ads in the Chicago Sun-Times, accounted for 17.6%.

Shares of Google fell $10.31, or 2.8%, to $358.77.


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