Overture is Coming to Ireland

A discussion on Overture locating its European hub in Ireland.

Introduction

As I reported last month, Google announced from its Silicon Valley headquarters that it is going to base its new European Operations Centre in Dublin, Ireland. Coming closely on the heels of this announcement is the news that Overture Services Inc., which operates some of the biggest search engines on the Net, is also to base its European headquarters in Dublin, with the creation of some 200 IT jobs. This is sure to act as a boost for the beleaguered IT sector in Ireland, which has felt the effects of the slump in confidence in the US market in recent years.

A Brief Overview of Overture

Formally known as GoTo, Overture was formed in September 1997. Although not as well known as Google, Overture has been operating a successful model for a number of years. Unlike Google, Overture includes adverts in its search results and receives payment for these adverts from advertisers when a user clicks through on the advertisement in question. This performance pay model was developed by the firm in 1998, and with Overture running it's own search portal Overture.com and the acquired Altavista.com (purchased for $140 in February), advertising clients of Overture known that their adverts will receive a lot of exposure, with search result placement based on specific keyword combinations related to their businesses. Overture also operates an effective advertising distribution network, which supplies search engine advertising for MSN and Yahoo.

Overture's Financial Health

Despite the global IT downturn, Overture managed to generate revenue of around $667 million (€620 at current rates) in 2002. It has not been plain sailing for the company this year, however, when it launched a profit warning only last week, which sent their share value into a sharp fall which lost one third of its value. Despite these short-term investor jitters, the firm is expected to generate revenue of more than $1 billion (€906 million) by the end of this year, and to go ahead with its Dublin expansion.

Overture's Plans in Ireland

Overture is likely to host hundreds of computer servers at the East Point facility close to Dublin's dock lands to power its search engines. They are likely to hire between 200 and 250 staff for administration, marketing, engineering and technical support roles. It is likely that Overture were lured to Ireland for the same reasons as Google; cheap international telecoms capacity and a good supply of highly qualified technical and marketing staff. Furthermore, ultra-high bandwidth telecom cables laid across the Atlantic between Ireland and North America by firms such as Global Crossing and 360networks have dramatically cut the cost of hosting high bandwidth Web traffic in Ireland.

These developments bode well for further investment in the country by firms similar to Google and Overture, with MicroSoft also expanding it's operation in Ireland, where it located it's Web servers last year, with which it plans to distribute software online to it's customers in the near future. With the announcement of these high-profile companies setting up in Ireland, the Irish Government's plan to make Ireland a European e-hub has taken some significant steps forward.

Further Reading:

You can find the main Overture presence at:

http://www.overture.com/

Overture also run Altavista, a very popular search engine:

http://www.altavista.com/

360networks of Canada recently launched the 12,200 km long Hibernia Atlantic cable between Ireland, the UK and US. Visit the companies homepage here:

http://www.360.net/

To read more about the Global Crossing's Atlantic cable, visit:

http://www.globalcrossing.com/

John Collins

I have been writing about web technology and software development since 2001. I am the developer of the Alpha Framework for PHP, and the five.today personal productivity app. I love open source, technology, and economics.