Posted May 18, 2007 11:47 am by with 3 comments

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Ask recently announced plans to roll out contextual advertising to compete with the Google and Yahoo. Of course one of the big questions is whether Ask would have any innovations in the field or would it just be an Adsense copy cat?

While not earth shattering, it does appear Ask has managed to create something unique called Related Search Ads. Self Made Minds is the first webmaster I have seen report the new ad format. It’s similar to Google’s link unit with a few differences.

  • There are a lot more links with the Ask ads compared to Google link units.
  • The links open up in a new window and take users directly to an actual search results page.
  • Publishers are paid when surfers click on the ads in the search results.
  • There are a couple of different formats including navigation bars and tag clouds.

You can see an example of the vertical bar format at Tattoo Fonts. Self Made Minds reports substantial earnings increases on sites where they are running both Adsense and Related Search ads.

Participation in the program is closed to smaller publishers at this time but that will change in the future.