On the website of Hotsales, an online marketing agency, it reads that the search marketing service on Qihoo’s 360 Search will be officially open on January 1st, 2013. Reservations for account opening is available now. The back end system will be Dian Jing, e.360.cn, the self-serve search marketing system that was released in August, shortly after 360 Search’s launch.

Hotsales is one of the core partners to 3721, a search-like service Qihoo’s current CEO created years ago. It is expected that those old partners of 3721’s, if alive today, would also get on board. Qihoo is also open to other third-party agencies but requirements are strict, according to businesses who called in to Qihoo.

3721 was a browser tool bar plugin for searching for Chinese websites. Typing in certain Chinese characters relevant to a company, a user could reach the company’s website directly. 3721 charged companies who’d like to offer users easy accesses to their websites for key words — back then a majority of Chinese users had no idea of domain names and it was much easier for them to remember some Chinese characters. It turned out to be a competition to Baidu, who also charged companies for showing their websites with certain key words. The history-making competition between the two companies ended up with 3721 team’s breaking up with Yahoo! China who acquired them.

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Tracey Xiang

Tracey Xiang is Beijing, China-based tech writer. Reach her at traceyxiang@gmail.com