In a surprising move, Internet search titan Google and Fox Interactive Media have announced a deal wherein Google will pay Fox $900 million through the year 2010 to be the exclusive search and keyword advertising provider for Fox Interactive Media Web sites—which happens to include social networking juggernaut MySpace.com.
Under the agreement, Google is required to make guaranteed minimum revenue payments to Fox of $900 million, provided Fox lives up to minimum site traffic and other commitments during the term of the agreement. In exchange, Google will power Web search on MySpace.com and most Fox Interactive Media properties, as well as act as the exclusive provider of text-based ads and keyword-targeted ads on those sites. In an unusual arrangement, Google will also have the right of first refusal for any display advertising sold through third parties on the Fox sites. The pact is unusual in that it’s practically unheard of for a big media outlet like Fox to turn over advertising control of some of its most lucrative properties to a third party—but that’s exactly what’s happening here.
“We believe that our innovative technologies will be of real benefit to Fox Interactive Media’s growing number of users,” said Eric Schmidt, Chief Executive Officer of Google, in a statement. “MySpace.com is a widely acknowledged leader in user-generated content and incorporating search and advertising furthers our mission of making the world’s information universally accessible and useful.”
The deal is scheduled to get started in the fourth quarter of 2006. Fox Interactive Media properties covered by the deal include IGN, Scout.com, Rottentomatoes.com, AskMen.com, Gamespy.com, Gamespyarcade.com, Fileplanet.com , Direct2drive.com, Teamxbox.com, 3dgamers.com, Gamestat.com, Cheatscodesguides.com, and Gamermetrics.com.