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LookSmart has taken to the comeback trail (after having lost Microsoft as a distribution partner in 2003), launching 161 new vertical search sites in 12 categories, including automotive, cities, food, health, home, sports and travel, having previously built 20 vertical sites in the education and money categories as part of the same effort, reports ClickZ. The new sites allow LookSmart to offer different inventory - graphic banner ads - to advertisers: a 728 x 90 leaderboard, a 160 x 600 wide skyscraper and a 300 x 250 rectangle, at launch. The ads will be sold through LookSmart's sales force.
In paid listings, LookSmart has made an effort to improve the quality of its distribution and this week launched broad match (all queries containing certain keywords) and smart (non-exact matches) options.
A new business for LookSmart is technology licensing: Ask Jeeves is using its self-service ad sales platform; the New York Times is using LooksSmart's Furl technology in the Times Select product to let users save and share content.