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Google mulls premium subscription services

Rejects 'pay-for-placement' route

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Google is considering offering premium subscription services as a way of boosting its revenues.

Niche searches of specialist publications, hi-tech industries and for medical information targeted at enterprise and academic clients are among the options on the table for the popular search engine firm, CNET reports, citing unnamed sources at the firm.

Content aggregation sites, such as NewsNow.co.uk, have sold subscription services, but other search engines (such as AltaVista and Lycos) have adopted a "pay-for-placement" route, which Google has steered clear of.

Google, which has said it operates at a profit (although as a privately-held firm it doesn't publish financial results), has two main revenue sources: licence fees from its search technology (130 paying customers, including Yahoo!); and advertising.

Advertisements on Google, which doesn't feature banner ads, are simple text links and contextualised with user searches. This gives four to five times better click-through rates, the firm claims. ®

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