Japan's Mitsui & Co. partners, invests with U.S. SEM firm

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Search engine marketing services provider Efficient Frontier has formed a strategic alliance with Mitsui & Co. through the publicly traded Japanese conglomerate's online marketing subsidiary Vixia.

As part of the alliance, Mitsui has taken an investment position in Mountain View, CA-based Efficient Frontier.

"Efficient Frontier entered into this partnership to provide Mitsui with best-in-class SEM technology and services for Japanese marketers and advertisers," said Ellen Siminoff, CEO of Efficient Frontier.

"Mitsui was so dedicated to becoming the leader in Internet marketing through the partnership with Efficient Frontier that they formed a new business unit called Vixia solely focused on providing online advertising services in Japan," she said.

Mitsui now provides paid search services in the Japanese online advertising marketplace working with Japanese advertisers and agencies.

The Japanese search engine marketing arena has been dominated by Yahoo Search marketing and its transparent keyword bidding system.

Now, with the pending introduction of Yahoo's Panama worldwide, Japanese marketers will have to learn how to manage search in an opaque marketplace, Ms. Siminoff said.

"We will provide Japanese marketers with SEM solutions that allow them to effectively manage their keyword campaigns in an opaque bidding system and tie the performance to key business," she said. "We also see this partnership as addressing the question of whether large ad agencies can successfully partner with a leading paid search technology and services firm to offer paid search management capabilities rather than building their own."

As advertisers extend their reach globally, this type of partnership provides them an entry point into the growing Japanese market.

"Mitsui, through its newly formed e-marketing division Vixia, will be able to provide its current and future clients with the leading best-in-class search marketing solution," Ms. Siminoff said. "As a result, marketers and advertisers will be able to operate more effectively in an increasingly complex marketplace, and expand their search campaigns to generate a higher ROI."

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