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London, 18 December 2003 - Agence Virtuelle SA, a pioneer and expert in tailor-made search engine marketing (SEM), has today announced the results of a study into the popularity of telecom search terms during 2003 on the Internet. Agence Virtuelle has analysed the most popular telecoms related 'keywords' inputted into Internet search engines in order to gauge the public's awareness of new technologies such as VoIP and WiFi.

The research reveals that 'mobile phone' is the most popular telecoms related search term in the UK, searched 150,000 times per month. Interestingly, 'bluetooth' is in second place, ahead of 'wireless' in third with 85,000 searches per month on average.

Top UK telecom keywords / Searches per annum

1 - mobile phone 1,800,000
2 - bluetooth 132,000
3 - wireless 78,000
4 - ADSL 45,600
5 - GPRS 18,000
6 - VoIP 13,200
7 - WiFi 8,616

The study shows that consumers are increasingly looking to the Internet to research new technologies and explains why telecoms companies are increasing their use of SEM to promote their products and services. The most popular and fastest growing search marketing model is cost-per-click (CPC), where advertisers only pay when a user actually clicks through to their site. The rankings of the search results are ordered according to a live auction with those companies prepared to pay the most CPC appearing at the top of results.

Agence Virtuelle has also analysed telecom search terms globally, with the word 'phone' unsurprisingly in the top spot with over 50 million hits a year. Wireless is in second place globally, revealing the increasing awareness and popularity of this new technology. The study has also found that the number of users typing in the word 'wireless' into search engines increased by 37 per cent globally from September to October 2003. Other terms in the global top ten include WiFi, ISDN and WLAN.

Top global telecom keywords / Searches per annum

1 - Phone 50,000,000
2 - Wireless 25,767,120
3 - LAN 3,836,220
4 - Telecom 2,653,968
5 - Bluetooth 2,345,796
6 - WiFi 1,423,008
7 - Mobile Phone 1,163,292
8 - VoIP 961,512
9 - ISDN 865,308
10 - WLAN 634,572

Stéphane Perino, CEO of Agence Virtuelle, commented: "2003 has been another innovative year for the telecoms industry and our research shows that awareness and interest in wireless technology is increasing rapidly on a global basis, though bluetooth seems to be significantly more popular in the UK. Growing consumer use of search engines is good news for the telecoms industry, as they can now start to effectively run search engine marketing campaigns on a cost-per-click basis which deliver a real and measurable return on investment."

NOTES TO EDITORS:

Methodology
Agence Virtuelle conducted its research based on figures collected from leading search engines including Google, MSN and Yahoo/Overture.

About Agence Virtuelle

Agence Virtuelle, www.agencevirtuelle.co.uk was founded in March 1996 in Geneva, Switzerland, before opening offices in Paris and London. The company provides seven services: Competitive Intelligence, Design, Programming, Hosting, SEM, CPC and Content Management Solutions, offering major brands a full one-stop service. Clients include Iomega, Swiss, Syz Bank and Energizer.

For further information please contact:

Daljit Bhurji or Narelle Morrison, Hotwire, tel: +44 20 7608 4626/4635, email daljit.bhurji@hotwirepr.com or narelle.morrison@hotwirepr.com

Published on: 12:00AM on 18th December 2003