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Search Ads Push Inauguration Revelers to DC Rental Sites


Today, devoid of ads

Andrew Pearson is in the lucrative business of creating website marketplaces for temporary rentals for big events — and with the inauguration, he hit the big money.

Some three million people were expected to swarm the streets of Washington, DC on the day of President Obama's inauguration ceremony, and with only 90,000 hotel rooms, the event was expected to overwhelm the capitol's hospitality industry.

To ease the load, Pearson and partners created InaugurationRent.com, an aggregated rental site where local homeowners and landlords can post rooms and houses, in hopes that out-of-towners will jump at the chance to sign up for a cheap place to crash.

They did — and the creators were rewarded nearly $10,000 for their efforts.

The minds behind InaugurationRent.com depended largely on intense Google AdWords campaigns to raise awareness about its services, ClickZ writes.

Rivals, like National Event Rental, a rental aggregation service that usually focuses on music festivals, biker rallies, and big sporting events, also began an AdWords campaign after the election. For at least a week, it was the only ad that appeared under keyword "inauguration," reported the company CEO.

But the keyword soon got hot. A Google spokesperson says searches for "inauguration" increased 75% last week and are up over 75 percent from the Bush inauguration in 2005. Small businesses and individuals are harnessing the event's momentum for self-promotion, she said.

Last month a survey by Microsoft Advertising revealed that most small companies are "intimidated" by search engine advertising and nearly 6 in 10 choose not to use it. Bigger companies, more likely to use paid search, still have trouble managing their campaigns, JupiterResearch found in October.

Paid search spend continues on a growth trajectory and will reach over $26.8 billion by 2009, Jupiter said.

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