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May 04, 2006

MSN adCenter Launches; MSN Contextual Advertising Coming Soon

Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer and Bill Gates will be speaking to representatives of big advertisers and leading advertising agencies at a conference at Microsoft's headquarters today. Ballmer will be announcing the formal launch of MSN adCenter. This means that all paid advertisements on MSN in the US are now supplied by Microsoft's own ad network, fully competing for the first time with the more established networks of Google and Yahoo!. Previously, ads were coming from Yahoo! and MSN has slowly been phasing Yahoo! out over the past few months as their contract will expire at the end of this month.

MSN Contextual Advertising Network to Come Next

On Wednesday, Microsoft outlined a broad new offensive against Google as it laid out plans to insert the targeted advertising generated by its new AdCenter system into a range of digital services beyond internet search. The next step for MSN will be to get these ads showing across a broad range of sites and not just its search network. MSN is reportedly working on a contextual advertising program and that MSN will call this targeted ad netword "ContentAds." More information posted here as soon as we can gather more information.

On a side note...

The Wall Street Journal reported this week that MSN and Yahoo! have been in talks to combine aspects of their business to have a better shot at competing with Google. The report speculates that MSN might buy Yahoo! or some part of their technologies.

Recently, Microsoft reported lower than expected earnings due to increased investment in search technology and plans to continue to increase spending in this area to compete with Google. This makes you wonder what part of Yahoo's services that MSN would need because they are working to improve their algorithmic search results as well as develop their own advertising network. It seems that if MSN wanted to make quick advances in these areas they would not increase their R&D and branch out with their own network, but would instead partner with Yahoo! to battle Google.

Need Help in adCenter?

MasterLink was one of an estimated 6,000 advertisers to participate in the Beta testing of MSN adCenter and participate in a demo of adCenter from a group of MSN adCenter specialists. If your company is wanting to advertise in adCenter, please contact the PPC specialists at MasterLink who have experience in using MSN adCenter!

-Mark Barrera
Search Engine Marketing Services

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