Blog Post

Microsoft’s Launches MSN adCenter, MSN Keywords Today

Microsoft launches MSN adCenter today, continuing its game of search catch-up with the launch of its own paid search service MSN Keywords and adding a touch of leapfrog — demographically and date/time targeted search, according to the New York Times. The launch is timed for the beginning of Advertising Week 2005. (The NYT report does not include the MSN adCenter and MSN Keywords names; I found those here.) Based on information provided by consumers to use various Microsoft services like Hotmail and Passport, the ads can be delivered to users perceived to match various demographic targets. SEW’s Danny Sullivan told the Times: “They will definitely raise the bar on what Google and Yahoo have to provide.”
Until now, MSN has relied on Yahoo for its paid search. The new service will be offered first in Singapore and France. The U.S. program will start as a blend with the Yahoo version with an eye toward replacng Yahoo around 2Q06. MSN could lose money if it can’t meet Yahoo’s volume and bids but it won’t have to pay broker fees. This most likely is one of the services being pitched to AOL by MSN.
According to the Times, Microsoft also plans to offer some of its software in versions that substitute pay for advertising.
Update: Press release. “Keyword Selection allows advertisers to indicate whom they want to reach based on geographic location, gender, age range, time of day and day of week, and suggests keywords based on the desired audience.”