Fairfax Digital and Melbourne IT today announced a new joint venture called Advantate, designed to give the extensive SME market in Australia and New Zealand simple, cost-effective access to search engine marketing services. The service is expected in Australia in May 2008.

According to IAB Australia’s Online Advertising Expenditure Report
released in February 2008 by PricewaterhouseCoopers, online advertising
in Australia for the 12 months to December 2007 was worth almost $1.3b,
with year on year growth of 34.5%. Search marketing and directories
advertising experienced more than 56% growth for the same period, to

Mr Theo Hnarakis, Melbourne IT CEO and managing director said:

Small business owners have embraced the internet as a key business
tool, but the number of online marketing options available to them is
huge. Search engine marketing is a compelling alternative to
traditional advertising as businesses can create, track and update
their campaigns in real time. Were excited to give them the help of an
expert provider like Advantate.

Advantate will provide SMEs with a single point of access to search engine marketing services from a range of leading providers including Google, Yahoo Search Marketing, Ninemsn and Fairfax Digital networks. The company will initially focus on reselling pay per click (PPC) advertising, and will manage these PPC campaigns on behalf of its SME customers.

Jack Matthews, CEO of Fairfax Digital said:

Advantate gives Fairfax Digital a sound commercial opportunity to extend our offering into the area of search – a large part of the Australian online landscape. This initiative gives SMEs access to pay-as-you-go search facilities, to support their business.