Insurance companies have been battling for high rankings on the search engines for years. Now, making an end-run around the search engine wars by simply paying for placement.With these firms, the game is no longer who is best at coding search-engine friendly pages. Instead, it's who is willing to bid the most for the most popular keywords used by people searching for insurance on the Web.

Under the Google AdWords (https://adwords.google.com) program, for example, an insurance firm can open a paid search account and begin bidding for the ownership of keywords in a matter of minutes. The reward: Win the bidding war on a keyword of your choice, and your firm's link will be sent to the top of Google's sponsored links.

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