2 Search Sites Narrow Their Parameters

As one Internet search engine company 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: Cliff Freeman and Partners, New York; WongDoody, Santa Monica, Calif.; and DDB Needham, Los Angeles. 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 placing banner ads on major Web portals. The tagline: “Search made simple.” Despite its newcomer status, GoTo.com was the 40th most visited site on the Web in August, per 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 global presence of the company.
“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 Fred Siegel was hired this month. In the meantime, John Polumbo was hired as president and chief operating officer in August.
“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 Bedecarre, San Francisco, handles ads for Excite property Classifieds 2000 and was considered the favorite before Fred 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