Google has acquired the UK financial price comparison site BeatThatQuote for £37.7m.

The acquisition, which took place yesterday, suggests Google’s desire to strengthen its position in the financial services market. Previously, it has tested mortgage Comparison ads in the UK, allowing searchers to use Google itself in order to compare mortgage rates.

BeatThatQuote, which was founded in 2005, offers loan, mortgage, credit card and insurance comparison services and is in direct competition with major aggregator sites such as, and

This development must be worrying for UK financial comparison sites – made up of some of the biggest and most successful sites in the UK – who may be concerned that Google could promote BeatThatQuote’s or its own stature on its search engine, with a greater bias over competing sites. Although Google has most likely acquired the comparison site for its software, which it can then use and fine-tune to better its own Comparison Ads, The Guardian reports that Google may continue to run BTQ as a “standalone brand,” before steering the comparison site towards “increasing tie-ups with the search engine itself.”

Perhaps one of the more interesting and unusual aspects of the acquisition are the observations made by Aaron Wall of SEO Book, who – through conducting some SEO and link analysis – has identified that BeatThatQuote is actually currently violating Google’s guidelines, through grey and black-hat SEO techniques, including buying links that pass PageRank. Was Google aware of this before the acquisition? Will it now penalise its own site? Only time will tell.

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Twitter to follow Google’s example with a new search-based advertising system

Twitter, the popular micro-blog, will soon be introducing an advertising system that allows businesses to place sponsored messages amongst Twitter search results.

Following the very profitable example that Google set with its AdWords system, Twitter will allow third-party advertisers to buy their way into the search results, via a 140 character advert.

According to an article on All Things Digital, from the Wall Street Journal, the social media website will launch the new advertising platform within the first half of 2010.

The report states that “Ads will be tied to Twitter searches, in the same way that Google's original ads were. So a search for, say, 'laptop', may generate an ad for Dell. The ads will only show up in search results, which means users who don't search for something won't see them in their regular Twitterstreams.”

Initially, the advertising will be sold through agencies, while Twitter works on creating a self-serving model. Eventually, the plan is one where anyone with a website can purchase an ad, just like they can on AdWords.

Twitter has long sought a revenue model, especially since becoming one of the most popular websites on the web. Over 50 million tweets are being written every day, yet the business has received criticism as it has been unable to create a profit from this popularity. It is no surprise that they turned to Google for inspiration, as the majority of the multi-billion-dollar revenue that the search engine receives is from the sponsored listings served through its AdWords system.

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