I just learned a number that startled me. More than 45,000 marketers have used GoTo's search term auction to buy links to their Web sites. To put this into perspective, as of last November Yahoo which had more online ad accounts than anybody else at the time, had about 4,000 advertising clients on file.
Back then, I was very excited about offline publisher Primedia's acquisition of About.com
, predicting that the move could bring thousands of offline marketers into the online ad arena. While I wasn't entirely wrong, GoTo's influence over the future of online advertising -- simply from the perspective of getting thousands of newbies to test it -- has proven far more profound. Cool. (Now could some branding guru please stop GoTo from their really dumb name change to Overture scheduled for October????)