I believe it is going to be a limited beta test open to select advertisers, but...
From the Ingternet Herald Tribune:
Microsoft will unveil on Monday its own system for selling Web advertising as it struggles to compete with Google and Yahoo in the expanding Web search business. The system, to be used by MSN, is meant to improve on those of Microsoft's rivals by allowing marketers to aim ads on Web search pages to users based on their sex, age or location.
Yusuf Mehdi, a Microsoft vice president, said the new service would have greater appeal to advertisers and ultimately would make more money for Microsoft. "We know we have to compete hard for our business," he said. "And we think we will offer advertisers better value because of the superior information we have about our audience."
Over on the NYT Google is already throwing the privacy card:
"We are very heavy on user privacy," said Tim Armstrong, the vice president for advertising at Google. "So our way of targeting advertising relies heavily on what we know about the content people are looking for." He added that Google does take other variables into account, like the time of day and the location of the user, but Google's technology does this automatically to make the process simpler for the advertiser.
while still leaving the demographic door open for themselves ;)
It will be interesting to see how Yahoo! plays with MSN. MSN will eventually dump Yahoo!s ads. In the past Yahoo! sued Google and FindWhat for Overture patents that could also affect the MSN ad system.
Personally I do not run huge PPC accounts (spending a few grand a month) but I do not think the demographic data is needed yet, and it could provide a creepy factor that works as negative advertising for MSN.
I wonder what features or changes Google and Yahoo! will quickly make in response to MSN's new ad system, which Danny likes:
Mr. Sullivan of Search Engine Watch praised the technical sophistication of Microsoft's approach and the level of information it plans to provide advertisers on the performance of their ad campaigns.
"They will definitely raise the bar on what Google and Yahoo have to provide," he said.
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