2 Search Sites Narrow Their Parameters

As one Internet search engine wraps up a protracted review, another is proceeding with its own agency search.
GoTo.com heard presentations last week from a handful of shops for its estimated $6-12 million account. Among the contenders pitching the business, said sources, are: WongDoody, Santa Monica, Calif.; DDB Needham, Los Angeles; and Cliff Freeman and Partners, New York. Deutsch/LA, Marina del Rey, Calif., declined an invitation to participate. Agency executives declined comment. Pasadena, Calif.-based GoTo executives could not be reached.
The 4-month-old company has handled most of its advertising in-house. It is airing ads on CBS Radio Network and running banner ads on major Web portals. The tagline is: “Search made simple.”
Despite its newcomer status, GoTo.com was the 40th most visited site on the Web in August, according to Relevant Knowledge.
Separately, Excite, Redwood City, Calif., tapped Lowe & Partners/SMS in New York to handle its estimated $5-10 million account. Part of the shop’s task will be to expand the company’s global presence.
“Our challenge is to produce work that helps Excite to become a household brand name,” said Lee Garfinkel, Lowe co-chairman and chief creative officer, in a statement.
Excite’s search, which began in May, hit a snag when marketing director Jim DeRosier resigned and was not replaced until this month by Fred Siegel. “The review was presented to agencies as a three-week process, then [DeRosier] announced he was leaving and the review turned into a quagmire,” said a source.
Citron Haligman Bedecarrƒ, San Francisco, handles ads for Excite property Classifieds 2000 and was considered the favorite before Siegel came on board, sources said.
Excite’s previous agency, Odiorne Wilde Narraway & Partners, San Francisco, resigned the business in May after less than five months with the client. –with Hank Kim