Former Google France boss Franck Poisson has hooked up with Yahoo!, which will provide advertising and search services on Webwag, his new customisable homepage venture.
The deal will see Webwag displaying sponsored links from Yahoo!, as well as launching what it claims is the sector’s first ‘personal wide web’ search feature – through which users can sift through their chosen content as well as the web as a whole.
Webwag, launched in early September, hopes the move will increase its appeal at a time when independent homepage providers, including Pageflakes and Netvibes, are battling to attract users through extra-rich functions.
Meanwhile, the ad part of the deal – which Poisson estimated would provide “about a third” of Webwag’s revenues – seems less significant, considering homepage providers are looking at other revenue streams for the bulk of their earnings – affiliate marketing and white-label agreements, for example.
Poisson said the deal would cover the US, Canada, the UK, France, Germany, Italy and Spain, and that Yahoo! had offered him better terms than its rivals.
He said: “The Webwag proprietary technology fits better with the Yahoo! API and the Yahoo! commercial offer was more profitable for us. But they [sponsored links] will only be one of our sources of revenue.
"I would say that keyword-based advertising will be about a third of the overall revenues, but it remains tough to say after only one month.”
He added that Webwag had gained more than 30,000 registered users in the week immediately after its launch, but didn’t provide more current figures.
At the last count, Netvibes, launched last year by journalist Tariq Krim, claimed to have 5 million users - although it's not clear how they were measured.