Leading US search engine company Excite is to join the battle to dominate European Internet traffic this week with the formal launch of a UK-focused search and navigation service.
Jedd Simmons, appointed managing director of Excite Europe last month, says the UK service is the first of a Europe-wide roll out of localised search tools.
It is designed to compete with moves by its US rivals Yahoo! and Infoseek.
The excite.co.uk site will be followed later this year by localised versions of Excite’s recently launched NewsTracker and Live! products, which offer Excite users free news clipping and personalised news alerts over the Internet.
According to Simmons, Excite plans to appoint a UK Internet sales house, reporting to an in-house senior sales executive, to help develop local advertising for the roll out of Excite’s UK services.
Simmons declined to confirm which sales houses are shortlisted for the business, but it is believed that all the obvious candidates, including New Media Marketing & Sales and TSMSi, are in talks with Excite.
“We are talking to everybody in town,” says Simmons. “We have to find a local partner, and we will be looking to extend advertising business away from IT, Internet-related services and cars to the likes of Carling, NestlÃ© and Weetabix.”
He expects to appoint a sales house within the next four weeks.
The UK launch will be promoted by the dominant Internet software browser Netscape, which will place Excite as its top search site for UK traffic during its launch period.