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VeröffentlichungsnummerWO2006074344 A2
PublikationstypAnmeldung
AnmeldenummerPCT/US2006/000423
Veröffentlichungsdatum13. Juli 2006
Eingetragen6. Jan. 2006
Prioritätsdatum7. Jan. 2005
Auch veröffentlicht unterWO2006074344A3
VeröffentlichungsnummerPCT/2006/423, PCT/US/2006/000423, PCT/US/2006/00423, PCT/US/6/000423, PCT/US/6/00423, PCT/US2006/000423, PCT/US2006/00423, PCT/US2006000423, PCT/US200600423, PCT/US6/000423, PCT/US6/00423, PCT/US6000423, PCT/US600423, WO 2006/074344 A2, WO 2006074344 A2, WO 2006074344A2, WO-A2-2006074344, WO2006/074344A2, WO2006074344 A2, WO2006074344A2
ErfinderBo Zhu, Steve Li Long Chao
AntragstellerGogo Technology, Inc.
Zitat exportierenBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
Externe Links:  Patentscope, Espacenet
An online advertising management system
WO 2006074344 A2
Zusammenfassung
A method and system for pricing and positioning online advertisements isdisclosed. The method and system identifies a set of relevant search terms for a set of advertisements on a network based on the contents of these advertisements. The identification of such relevant search terms is free from the influences of the advertisers, who sponsor these advertisements. In the event that the key word entered by a user of the network in his or her search matches some of the aforementioned relevant search terms, then the advertisements corresponding to these matching relevant search term (the 'matching advertisements') are positioned based on a number of parameters. The parameters include, without limitation, the offered prices for blocks of time to distribute the matching advertisements and the historical performance data of the advertisers sponsoring the matching advertisements.
Ansprüche  (OCR-Text kann Fehler enthalten)
ClaimsWhat is claimed is:
1. A method, comprising: identifying a set of relevant search terms for a set of advertisements on a network based on the contents of said set of said advertisements and free from influences of a set of advertisers, who sponsor said set of said advertisements; and in the event a set of matching terms out of said set of said relevant search terms match a key word requested by a user of said network, positioning a set of matching advertisements out of said set of said advertisements, which correspond to said set of said matching terms, based on a plurality of parameters, including a plurality of offered prices for a plurality of blocks of time to distribute said set of said matching advertisements and historical performance data of a set of matching advertisers out of said set of said advertisers sponsoring said set of said matching advertisement.
2. The method as recited in claim 1 , further comprising establishing a set of regulated prices by adjusting a first offered price out of said plurality of said offered price to be an increment higher than the highest offered price among the rest of said plurality of said offered prices.
3. The method as recited in claim 2, further comprising charging said set of said matching advertisers for any portion of said plurality of said blocks of time actually accessed by a user on said network based on said set of said regulated prices.
4. The method as recited in claim 2, further comprising splitting each of said plurality of said blocks of time into equal time segments.
5. The method as recited in claim 1 , wherein said historical performance data include the historical click-through rates for advertisements of said set of said matching advertisers.
6. A method, comprising: identifying a set of relevant search terms for a set of advertisements on a network based on the contents of said set of said advertisements and free from influences of a set of advertisers, who sponsor said set of said advertisements; in the event a set of matching terms out of said set of said relevant search terms match a key word requested by a user of said network, positioning a set of matching advertisements out of said set of said advertisements, which correspond to said set of said matching terms, based on a plurality of parameters, including a plurality of offered prices for a plurality of blocks of time to distribute said set of said matching advertisements and historical performance data of a set of matching advertisers out of said set of said advertisers sponsoring said set of said matching advertisement; establishing a set of regulated prices by adjusting a first offered price out of said plurality of said offered price to be an increment higher than the highest offered price among the rest of said plurality of said offered prices; and charging said set of said matching advertisers for any portion of said plurality of said blocks of time actually accessed by a user on said network based on said set of said regulated prices.
7. A computer-readable medium containing one or more sequences of instructions for pricing and positioning advertisements, which instructions, when executed by one or more processors, cause the one or more processors to: identify a set of relevant search terms for a set of advertisements on a network based on the contents of said set of said advertisements and free from influences of a set of advertisers, who sponsor said set of said advertisements; and in the event a set of matching terms out of said set of said relevant search terms match a key word requested by a user of said network, position a set of matching advertisements out of said set of said advertisements, which correspond to said set of said matching terms, based on a plurality of parameters, including a plurality of offered prices for a plurality of blocks of time to distribute said set of said matching advertisements and historical performance data of a set of matching advertisers out of said set of said advertisers sponsoring said set of said matching advertisement.
8. The computer-readable medium as recited in claim 7, further comprising instructions which, when executed by the one or more processors, cause the one or more processors to establish a set of regulated prices by adjusting a first offered price out of said plurality of said offered price to be an increment higher than the highest offered price among the rest of said plurality of said offered prices.
9. The computer-readable medium as recited in claim 8, further comprising instructions which, when executed by the one or more processors, cause the one or more processors to charge said set of said matching advertisers for any portion of said plurality of said blocks of time actually accessed by a user on said network based on said set of said regulated prices.
10. The computer-readable medium as recited in claim 8, further comprising instructions which, when executed by the one or more processors, cause the one or more processors to split each of said plurality of said blocks of time into equal time segments.
11. The computer-readable medium as recited in claim 7, wherein said historical performance data include the historical click-through rates for advertisements of said set of said matching advertisers.
12. A system, comprising: means for identifying a set of relevant search terms for a set of advertisements on a network based on the contents of said set of said advertisements and free from influences of a set of advertisers, who sponsor said set of said advertisements; and in the event a set of matching terms out of said set of said relevant search terms match a key word requested by a user of said network, means for positioning a set of matching advertisements out of said set of said advertisements, which correspond to said set of said matching terms, based on a plurality of parameters, including a plurality of offered prices for a plurality of blocks of time to distribute said set of said matching advertisements and historical performance data of a set of matching advertisers out of said set of said advertisers sponsoring said set of said matching advertisement.
13. The system as recited in claim 12, further comprising means for establishing a set of regulated prices by adjusting a first offered price out of said plurality of said offered price to be an increment higher than the highest offered price among the rest of said plurality of said offered prices.
14. The system as recited in claim 13, further comprising: means for charging said set of said matching advertisers for any portion of said Plurality of said blocks of time actually accessed by a user on said network based on said set of said regulated prices.
15. The system as recited in claim 13, further comprising: means for splitting each of said plurality of said blocks of time into equal time segments.
16. The system as recited in claim 12, wherein said historical performance data include the historical click-through rates for advertisements of said set of said matching advertisers.
17. A system, comprising: a processor, a bus, coupled to said processor, a communication interface, coupled to said bus and coupled to a network, a main memory, coupled to the bus, wherein said memory includes instructions when executed by said processor, causes said processor to: identify a set of relevant search terms for a set of advertisements on a network based on the contents of said set of said advertisements and free from influences of a set of advertisers, who sponsor said set of said advertisements; and in the event a set of matching terms out of said set of said relevant search terms match a key word requested by a user of said network, position a set of matching advertisements out of said set of said advertisements, which correspond to said set of said matching terms, based on a plurality of parameters, including a plurality of offered prices for a plurality of blocks of time to distribute said set of said matching advertisements and historical performance data of a set of matching advertisers out of said set of said advertisers sponsoring said set of said matching advertisement.
18. The system as recited in claim 17, wherein said processor establishes a set of regulated prices by adjusting a first offered price out of said plurality of said offered price to be an increment higher than the highest offered price among the rest of said plurality of said offered prices.
19. The system as recited in claim 18, wherein said processor charges said set of said matching advertisers for any portion of said plurality of said blocks of time actually accessed by a user on said network based on said set of said regulated prices.
20. The system as recited in claim 18, wherein said processor splits each of said plurality of said blocks of time into equal time segments.
21. The system as recited in claim 17, wherein said historical performance data include the historical click-through rates for advertisements of said set of said matching advertisers.
22. A system, comprising: means for identifying a set of relevant search terms for a set of advertisements on a network based on the contents of said set of said advertisements and free from influences of a set of advertisers, who sponsor said set of said advertisements; in the event a set of matching terms out of said set of said relevant search terms match a key word requested by a user of said network, means for positioning a set of matching advertisements out of said set of said advertisements, which correspond to said set of said matching terms, based on a plurality of parameters, including a plurality of offered prices for a plurality of blocks of time to distribute said set of said matching advertisements and historical performance data of a set of matching advertisers out of said set of said advertisers sponsoring said set of said matching advertisement.A system, comprising; means for establishing a set of regulated prices by adjusting a first offered price out of said plurality of said offered price to be an increment higher than the highest offered price among the rest of said plurality of said offered prices; and means for charging said set of said matching advertisers for any portion of said plurality of said blocks of time actually accessed by a user on said network based on said set of said regulated prices.
Beschreibung  (OCR-Text kann Fehler enthalten)

DESCRIPTION An Online Advertising Management System

Field of the Invention

This patent document generally relates to online advertisement, especially methods and systems relating to pricing and positioning of online advertisements.

Background of the Invention

Unless otherwise indicated herein, the approaches described in this section are not prior art to the claims in this application and are not admitted to be prior art by inclusion in this section. The Internet has emerged as an attractive new medium for advertisers of information, products and services to reach their customers. However, the World Wide Web is composed of a large number of web pages dispersed across systems all over the world in no discernible organization. Mechanisms, such as directories and search engines, have been developed to index and search the information available on the web so that the users of the Internet can more easily location information of interest. These search services enable consumers to search the Internet for a listing of web sites based on a specific topic, product, or service of interest.

Various online advertisement mechanisms have also developed to generate web site traffic. In the banner advertising model, web site promoters seeking to promote and increase their web exposure often purchase space on the pages of popular commercial web sites. The web site promoters usually fill this space with a colorful graphic, known as a banner, advertising their own web site. The banner may act a hyperlink a visitor may click on to access the site. Like traditional advertising, banner advertising on the Internet is typically priced on an impression basis with advertisers paying for exposures to potential consumers. Nonetheless, impression-based advertising inefficiently exploits the Internet's direct marketing potential, as the click-through rate, the rate of consumer visits a banner generates to the destination site, may be quite low. Web site promoters are therefore paying for exposure to many consumers who are not interested in the product or service being promoted, as most visitors to a web site seek specific information and may not be interested in the information announced in the banner. Likewise, the banner often fails to reach interested individuals, since the banner is not generally searchable by search engines and the interested persons may not know where on the web to view the banner.

Pay-per-click search engines, on the other hand, allow advertisers to bid on key words that relate to their web sites and allow consumers to search on such key words. After a pay-per-click search engine processes the advertisers' requests, a research result shows up when a consumer searches for a key word that the advertisers paid for. Typically, the advertisers can influence the positioning of their advertisements based on the amount of money they paid for the key words. Thus, if one advertiser pays $1 for the key words "DVD Superstore" and the other pays $.80, then the position of the first advertiser's website will be better than the second advertiser. As a result, the relevance of the search results may decrease, because the positioning of the advertisements is influenced by the amount of money paid for the corresponding key words.

Brief Description Of The Drawings FIG. 1A illustrates one example of a search result listing after having conducted a web search with a key word;

FIG. 1 B is a block diagram of a client-server system in which an online advertising management system operates;

FIG. 2 illustrates one embodiment of a search engine web server; FIG. 3 illustrates one embodiment of an advertising management server;

FIG. 4 illustrates one flow chart that one embodiment of a processing engine follows;

FIG. 5 illustrates a flow chart that one embodiment of a processing engine follows in response to a search request; and FIG. 6 is a block diagram of a system upon which an embodiment of an advertising manager server or a search engine search server may be implemented.

Detailed Description

An online advertising management system is described. In the following description, for the purposes of explanation, numerous specific details are set forth in order to provide a thorough understanding of the present invention. It will be apparent, however, to one skilled in the art that the present invention may be practiced without these specific details.

Online advertisement" or "advertisement" discussed throughout the description refers to all forms of advertisements, such as, without limitation, banner ads, interstitial ads, and hyperstitial ads, all of which are linked to the advertisers' web pages. Banner ads refer to typically rectangular advertisements placed on a web site above, below, or on the sides of the web site's main content. Interstitial ads refer to advertisements that appear in a separate browser window while a web page is being loaded. Hyperstitial ads refer to advertisements that typically appear full-screen while a web page is being loaded. A "better position" for one advertisement than another "in time" refers to showing one advertisement earlier than the other. Thus, if two interstitial ads are to be displayed, the one interstitial ad that is displayed first has a better position in time than the other ad. On the other hand, a better position for one advertisement than the other "in space" refers to placing the advertisement closer to the beginning of a search result listing or closer to the top of a web page than the other. FIG. 1A illustrates one example of a search result listing after having conducted a web search with the key word, "Linux." The advertisements are placed on the right side of a web page under the heading of "SPONSORS." The advertiser for the LINUX Magazine advertisement has a better position in space than the advertiser for the LINUX Development Guide advertisement.

1.0 General Overview

The online advertising management system as discussed below include methods and systems that price and position online advertisements. A set of relevant search terms for a set of advertisements on a network is identified based on the contents of these advertisements. The identification of such relevant search terms is free from the influences of the advertisers, who sponsor these advertisements. In the event that the key word entered by a user of the network in his or her search matches some of the aforementioned relevant search terms, then the advertisements corresponding to these matching relevant search terms (the "matching advertisements") are positioned based on a number of parameters. The parameters include, without limitation, the offered prices for blocks of time to distribute the matching advertisements and the historical performance data of the advertisers sponsoring the matching advertisements.

2.0 Pricing And Distribution Of Online Advertisements Overview Of An Online Advertising Management System

An overview of an online advertising management system is now provided.

FIG. 1 B is a block diagram of a client-server system 100 in which the online advertising management system operates. A "client" can be generally described as a member of a class or group that uses the services of another class or group to which it is not related. In the context of a computer network, such as the Internet, a client can be a process (e.g., a software program) that requests a service which is provided by another process, known as a server process. On the other hand, a "server" generally refers to a remote device that is accessible over a Communications medium such as the Internet. A server often manages shared network resources and offers certain services to multiple client processes. It should be noted that the client process and the server process are not required to run on the same device. The client-server system 100 shown in FIG. 1 B includes one or more client devices, such as 102 and 106, one or more advertiser web servers, such as 110 and 114, and an online advertising management system 120, all of which are coupled to a network 118. Some examples of the network 118 include, without limitation, the Internet, private or public local area networks, and private or public wide area networks. In addition, the network 118 may include multiple individual networks of devices.

The client devices 102 and 104 typically include one or more processors, memories, input/output devices, and a network interface. Some examples of the client devices 102 and 106 are, without limitation, personal computers, workstations, notebook computers, hand held devices, portable devices, wireless devices, cellular telephones, personal digital assistants, and any computing device regardless of its size. The client devices 102 and 104 can execute web browsers 104 and 108, respectively. Some examples of the web browsers include, without limitation, the Microsoft Internet Explorer, Netscape Navigator, Firefox, Mozilla, and the Mosaic browser programs.

The web browsers 104 and 108 allow the users of the client devices 102 and 106 to locate and view the web pages or records 112 and 116 that are stored on advertiser servers 110 and 114, respectively. Specifically, these web browsers allow the users to enter addresses of specific web pages 112 and 116 to be retrieved. These addresses are referred to as Uniform Resource Locators ("URLs"). In addition, once a web page has been retrieved, the web browsers 104 and 108 direct the users to other pages or records when the users "click" on the hyperlinks that are located within the retrieved web pages. These web pages can be data records including textual information or multimedia content, such as, without limitation, software programs, image data, audio data, and video data.

One embodiment of the online advertising management system 120 includes at least two types of server, namely a search engine web server 122 and an advertisement management server 124. One embodiment of the search engine web server 122 is generally responsible for compiling search listing records and identifying relevant records in response to search inquiries issued by the client devices, such as 102 and 106 through the web browsers 104 and 108, respectively. As illustrated in FIG. 1A, the main content of the web page contains the research result listing generated by one embodiment of the search engine web server 122 in response to a key word search on "Linux."

On the other hand, one embodiment of the advertisement management server 124, coupled to the search engine web server 122, is generally responsible for pricing and managing the submitted requests from advertising web site promoters or owners of the web pages, such as 112 and 116, located on the respective advertiser servers 110 and 112, and positioning the advertisements. These advertising web site promoters and the owners are hereinafter referred to as the "online advertisers." As illustrated in FIG. 1A, the right portion of the web page under "SPONSOR" contains a list of the advertisements generated by one embodiment of the advertising manager server 124 in response to the same key word search. Examples of hardware implementations for these servers are set forth in a subsequent section.

One embodiment of the online advertising management system 120 provides a platform for multiple online advertisers to purchase a block of time to distribute their advertisements. Specifically, the online advertising management system 120 may offer blocks of time for advertisement distribution, and the online advertisers will offer different prices for different time slots. For example, suppose for the time slot of 8:00PM to 10:00PM, there is heavy traffic on the network 118, and for the time slot of 4:00AM to 6:00AM, there is light traffic on the network 118. It may cost an online advertiser more to distribute advertisement between 8:00PM to 10:00PM than to distribute between 4:00AM to 6:00AM.

One embodiment of the online advertising management system 120 considers other parameters before positioning the advertisements of the advertisers. One such parameter is the past historical performance of an advertiser. For example, if an advertiser X did not have a high click through rate (i.e., not many users selected the advertiser's advertisements by clicking on them) in the past, then the online advertising management system 120 may instead place the advertisement of another advertiser, Y, with a low price offer but with a high click through rates in a better position than the advertisement of the advertiser X in that time slot. The details of this pricing and advertisement distribution mechanism will be discussed further in subsequent sections. One embodiment of the online advertising management system 120 also supports different charging mechanisms. One is for the operator of the online advertising management system 120 to charge an online advertiser for the entire amount that the advertiser offers. Alternatively, the system can also charge only when the advertisement of the advertiser is being accessed by a user. Yet another alternative is for the system to charge the entire offered amount in certain time slots and charge for access in other time slots.

The Search Engine Web Server

FIG. 2 illustrates one embodiment of a search engine web server, such as 122. In this embodiment, the search engine web server 122 includes at least a data collector 200, a data organizer 204, and a predictor 210. The data collector 200 mainly retrieves data from the network 118 and stores the data in a database 202. In one implementation, the data collector 200 utilizes programs, such as a "spider" or a "webcrawler," to automatically fetch web pages. The data organizer 204 mainly organizes the stored data in the database 202. In one implementation, the data organizer 204 uses clustering techniques to group certain data together according to some clustering parameters and places the grouped data in databases such as 206 and 208.

As an illustration, suppose the database 202 includes a list of records each containing individuals' names, ages, bank account balances, annual income information, eye colors, and gender information. In one instance, if the clustering parameter is the financial stability of the individuals, then the data organizer 204 would place these individuals into different groups based on their bank account balances and annual income information. In another instance, if the clustering parameter is instead the physical attributes of the individuals, then the data organizer 204 would group these individuals differently based on their ages, eye colors, and gender information.

In response to search queries from either the users of the network 118 or the online advertisers on the network 118 through the advertising management server 124, the predictor 210 identifies the records in the databases 206 and 208 that are relevant to the search queries. In one implementation, the predictor 210 finds the relevant records based on the cluster(s) in which the search queries fall into. In another implementation, the predictor 210 uses the "nearest neighbor" technique to find the relevant records. Using the example mentioned above, each of the five factors, ages, bank account balances, annual income information, eye colors, and gender information, can be construed to be each of the five dimensions in the nearness neighbor determination. For each "dimension," the distance can be calculated to define what is near and what is far away. In one embodiment, the predictor 210 quantifies the relevancy between the search queries and the records in the databases 206 and 208 by assigning numerical values to the records. Such numerical values are referred to as the "relevancy values."

The Advertising Management Server

FIG. 3 illustrates one embodiment of an advertising management server, such as 124. In this embodiment, the advertising management server 124 includes at least administrative tools and interface 300, a processing engine 302, and database 304. One embodiment of the administrative tools and interface 300 provides tools for an online advertiser and a system administrator to access and modify the database 304 and may also serve as a gateway to retrieve the relevancy information from the predictor 210 shown in FIG. 2. In one implementation, the database 304 includes records of the online advertiser's contact information, billing information, password, and advertisement information (e.g., title and description of the advertisement, URL, the targeted audience, the search terms for the advertisement, and offered price for a block of time).

For an online advertiser using the a web browser, such as the web browser 104 of the client device 102, to access the online advertising management system 120 as shown in FIG. 1 B, one embodiment of the administrative tools and interface 300 provides the online advertiser with menus, display screens, input screens, and notifications. Through this interface, the online advertisers can interact with the online management system 120 in a number of ways, such as, without limitation, entering their prices for blocks of time to distribute their advertisement, specifying their targeted audiences, monitoring whether advertisements are being viewed, or receiving notifications regarding the availability of the requested time slots. In addition, this embodiment of the administrative tools and interface 300 may also offer security measures to authenticate the identities of the online advertisers (e.g., requiring the online advertisers to login with their passwords) before they are permitted to access or modify their records that are stored in the database 304.

One embodiment of the processing engine 302 determines the pricing to distribute and the positioning of certain advertisements. FIG. 4 illustrates one flow chart that one embodiment of the processing engine 302 follows. In block 400, the processing engine 302 parses the records of the online advertisers in the database 304 and analyzes information such as, without limitation, the price for a block of time, content of the advertisement (e.g., title and description), and words that the advertiser(s) deem to be key words (the "Advertiser Key Words") via the administrative tools and interface 300. These Advertiser Key Words are search terms that the advertiser(s) believe to be the most relevant to their advertisements. As an illustration, the parsed information may look like the following:

In block 402, the processing engine 302 interacts with the predictor 210 as shown in FIG. 2 to determine whether the Advertiser Key Words should be the relevant search terms for the advertisement. Based on the content of the advertisement, one embodiment of the predictor 210 searches through the databases 206 and 208 and identifies records that have been assigned high relevancy values in relation to such content. In one implementation, the search terms that correspond to such records either replace or supplement the Advertiser Key Words and are stored in the database 304. It should be noted that in this implementation of the online advertisement management system 120, the online advertisers cannot influence the selection of the relevant key words.

Although the prior discussions and FIG. 3 show that the administrative tools and interface 300 serves as a window to the network 118 and the search engine web server 122, it should be noted that other alternative implementations are available. For example, in certain situations, the processing engine 302 can receive the information directly from the network 118. In yet another alternative implementation, the functionality of the administrative tools and interface 300 and the processing engine 302 can be combined.

In block 404, the processing engine 302 analyzed the offered prices for certain time slots from the online advertisers and the past historical performance data, such as the historical click through rates of the online advertisers. In one implementation, if multiple advertisers request for the same time slot, for example, from 4:00AM to 6:00AM, then the processing engine 302 arranges these advertisers in a sequence according to their offered prices. However, the processing engine can readjusts the sequence based on considerations other than offered prices, such as the past click through rates of these advertisers' advertisements. One embodiment of the data collector 200 shown in FIG. 2 retrieves the historical performance data for each advertiser. The past click through rate for an advertisement can be calculated based on the number of times the advertisement was selected for a particular period of time. Alternatively, the advertiser for the advertisement can directly provide such historical performance data via the administrative tools and interface 300.

One embodiment of the processing engine 302 also regulates the offered prices from the various online advertisers. In one implementation, the processing engine 302 regulates the offered prices by adjusting an offered price (the "first offered price") to be a certain increment higher than the highest offered price among all the other offered prices that are lower than the first offered price. This adjustment can start from the highest offered price and work its way down to the lowest offered price. For example, suppose the increment is fixed at US$.25. If an advertiser A offers US$5.00, an advertiser B offers US$3.00, and an advertiser C offers US$2.00 for the same block of time, then the processing engine 302 could adjust A's offered price to US$3.25 and B's offered price to U.S.$2.25. Cs offered price remains unchanged in this implementation, because there are no other offered prices that are lower than Cs offered price. Alternatively, the processing engine 302 could have variable-step increments. For example, between 0 - US$2.00, the increment could be US$.25; between US$2.00 - US$3.00, the increment could be US$.75; and for anything above US3.00, the increment could be $US$1.5. Once the pricing regulation is completed, the advertisers have reserved the blocks of time at the regulated prices.

In block 406, one embodiment of the processing engine 302 together with the administrative tools and interface 300 interact with the online advertisers about the positioning of their advertisements. In one implementation, the administrative tools and interface 300 informs the advertisers via the web browsers on their client devices that other offers for the same blocks of time exist and gives the advertisers opportunities to modify their offers within a certain amount of time. One embodiment of the processing engine 302 updates the records in the database 304 to reflect the sequence of the online advertisers as determined in block 404 and the regulated prices of the advertisers as determined in blocks 404 and 406.

FIG. 5 illustrates a flow chart that one embodiment of the processing engine 302 follows in response to a search request. In block 500, a search request is entered via one of the web browsers, such as 104, and received by the online advertisement management system 120 as shown in FIG. 1 B. Using the search results listing shown in FIG. 1A as an illustration, the search request is a key word search on "Linux." In block 502, one embodiment of the processing engine 302 as shown in FIG. 3 searches through the records of the database 304 for matches to the word "Linux." As discussed above, in block 402 as shown in FIG. 4, one embodiment of the processing engine 302 updated the records in the database 304 to contain the search terms, which the predictor 210 determines to be relevant.

After having identified the records containing the search terms that match "Linux," one embodiment of the processing engine 302 further examines these identified records to ensure the time of the user's search request falls within the online advertisers' interested time slots. For example, if the user's "Linux" search request occurs at 8:03PM and both the advertisers for LINUX Magazine and the LINUX Development Guide offered prices for the time slot between 8:00PM and 10:00PM, then the time of the search request falls within both of these advertisers' interested time slots.

In the event the matching records in terms of the search term and time are identified, the positioning of the corresponding advertisements, such as the LINUX Magazine and the LINUX Development Guide is determined in block 504. As discussed above, the sequence of the advertisers have been arranged in block 404 and is stored in the database 304. Based on that sequence, one embodiment of the processing engine 302 positions the corresponding advertisements of the advertisers. In this case, LINUX Magazine is placed as the first in the advertisement list, and LINUX Development Guide is placed as the second.

Suppose the advertisers for LINUX Magazine and LINUX Development Guide reserves 8:00PM to 10:00PM for US$2.25 per hour and for US$2.00 per hour, respectively. In block 506, one embodiment of the processing engine 302 charges these advertisers during 8:00PM to 10:00PM when their advertisements are accessed. In one implementation, each hour segment is divided into ten time increments. If the advertisements are accessed for any amount of time during any of the time increments, the regulated price for that time increment is charged. For example, out of the twenty time increments between 8:00PM and 10:00PM, if the LINUX Magazine advertisement is clicked through in eleven of them, then one embodiment of the processing engine 302 charges the advertiser for LINUX Magazine a total of ($US2.25/10) * 11 = $US2.475. Suppose the advertiser for LINUX Magazine reserves 8:00PM to 10:00PM for US$2.25 per hour and 4:00AM to 6:00AM for US$1.50 per hour. In an alternative embodiment, the advertiser is charged for the full two hours between 8:00PM and 10:00PM at US$2.25 per hour regardless of whether anybody accesses the LINUX Magazine advertisement. However, the advertiser is only charged for the time segments in which the LINUX Magazine advertisement is clicked through between 4:00AM and 6:00AM at US$0.15 per time segment.

3.0 Example System Structure

According to one embodiment of the online advertisement management system 120, the servers are implemented by computer system 600 as shown in FIG. 6. The server processes are in response to processor 604 executing one or more sequences of one or more instructions contained in main memory 606. Such instructions may be read into main memory 606 from another computer- readable medium, such as storage device 610. Execution of the sequences of instructions contained in main memory 606 causes processor 604 to perform the process steps described herein. In alternative embodiments, hard-wired circuitry may be used in place of or in combination with software instructions to implement the invention. Thus, embodiments of the invention are not limited to any specific combination of hardware circuitry and software.

The term "computer-readable medium" as used herein refers to any medium that participates in providing instructions to processor 604 for execution. Such a medium may take many forms, including but not limited to, non-volatile media, volatile media, and transmission media. Non-volatile media includes, for example, optical or magnetic disks, such as storage device 610. Volatile media includes dynamic memory, such as main memory 606. Transmission media includes coaxial cables, copper wire and fiber optics, including the wires that comprise bus 602. Transmission media can also take the form of acoustic, light, or carrier waves.

Various forms of computer readable media may be involved in carrying one or more sequences of one or more instructions to processor 604 for execution. For example, the instructions may initially be carried on a magnetic disk of a remote computer. The remote computer can load the instructions into its dynamic memory and send the instructions to computer system 600. Bus 602 carries the data to main memory 606, from which processor 604 retrieves and executes the instructions. The instructions received by main memory 606 may optionally be stored on storage device 610 either before or after execution by processor 604.

Computer system 600 also includes a communication interface 618 coupled to bus 602. Communication interface 618 provides a two-way data communication coupling to a network link 620 that is connected to a local network 622. Wireless links may also be implemented. In any such implementation, communication interface 618 sends and receives electrical, electromagnetic or optical signals that carry digital data streams representing various types of information. Network link 620 typically provides data communication through one or more networks to other data devices. For example, network link 620 may provide a connection through local network 622 to a host computer 624 or to data equipment operated by an Internet Service Provider ("ISP") 626. ISP 626 in turn provides data communication services through the worldwide packet data communication network now commonly referred to as the "Internet" 628. Local network 622 and Internet 628 both use electrical, electromagnetic or optical signals that carry digital data streams. The signals through the various networks and the signals on network link 620 and through communication interface 618, which carry the digital data to and from computer system 600, are exemplary forms of carrier waves transporting the information.

4.0 Extensions And Alternatives

In the foregoing specification, the invention has been described with reference to specific embodiments thereof. It will, however, be evident that various modifications and changes may be made thereto without departing from the broader spirit and scope of the invention. The specification and drawings are, accordingly, to be regarded in an illustrative rather than a restrictive sense.

Patentzitate
Zitiertes PatentEingetragen Veröffentlichungsdatum Antragsteller Titel
US6269361 *28. Mai 199931. Juli 2001Goto.ComSystem and method for influencing a position on a search result list generated by a computer network search engine
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