Seems weird to me, but it's happening. FD and MelbourneIT have partnered to create a search marketing agency aimed at SME's.
From AdNews: "The joint venture, Advantate, will target SMEs in Australia and New Zealand, including the 700,000 SMEs Fairfax and Melbourne IT already have a relationship with through the provision of classifieds, domain name and hosting services."
Jack Matthews modestly claimed: " the range of products and services we will offer will be far broader than existing search engine agencies can provide."
Melbourne IT CEO Theo Hnarakis also chimed in about the 'broader' services they will provide: "We will be able to bundle in search engine marketing, search engine optimisation, domain hosting and, down the track, display advertising"
With all due respect, SEM, SEO, domain name rego and display advertising bundled isn't exactly a new concept. It does, however, signal that the traditional display/classifieds operators in AU are looking to search to grow revenue. It also would worry the people over at Sensis - who I think would be bracing for their Yellow Pages business to cop an absolute pounding from paid search and its evolution into mapping, mobile and video over the next 3-5 years.
Ad News article (sub. req.) - http://www.adnews.com.au/News.cfm?NewsId=4689