Overture still looks like a loser, as new competitors enter its indefensible niche and its customers drive harder bargains. [Thanks MarketingFix]

Since [last year], Overture’s traffic acquisition costs have skyrocketed from about $40 million in the first quarter of 2002 to just over $120 million in its most recent quarter.

What’s more, Overture’s Ebitda profit margins have decreased from about 23 percent in the first quarter of 2002 to slightly north of 10 percent today

If Overture is to survive as an independent company, it’s going to have to pull off one of the greatest transformations of the Internet era. Overture will have to transform itself from ad company to search company. It will have to move from thinking of its customers as advertisers to thinking of its customers as consumers looking for information.