Free $200 Bing Ads Coupon! Rock on Live Search!

I just found this great offer for search advertisers. Well worth a look if you are trying to get traffic to your website.

Here is a free $200 Microsoft Ad Center promotional code.

Update: It looks like Microsoft no longer offer the $100 or $200 coupons. I did find another great Bing Ads (formerly Microsoft adCenter) offer that still works though. Bing and Yahoo! Search expand the reach of your business to millions of monthly users.

Considering that Microsoft's ads are cheaper (because the ad network is newer than AdWords) and their traffic is so clean (they cut out on the dirty syndication partner stuff that Yahoo! once allowed) a free $50 coupon is just like setting up a printing machine for money. I hope they keep building marketshare because they have such high conversion rates and are offering some awesome tools for advertisers.

MSN Search Spam Research

Many spam sites are based on automation, and in the attempts to automate and mass produce content or sites leave footprints that are easy to detect.

While MSN Search is still chuck full of spam, they are doing research to try to stop it (link via PeterD).

Our approach is to treat each spam page as a dynamic program rather than a static page, and utilize a “monkey program” [6] to analyze the traffic resulting from visiting each page with an actual browser so that the program can be executed in full fidelity.

Many successful, large-scale spammers have created a huge number of doorway pages that either redirect to or fetch ads from a single domain that is responsible for serving all target pages. By identifying those domains that serve target pages for a large number of doorway pages, we can catch major spammers' domains together with all their doorway pages and doorway domains.

Just about any piece of the publishing or monetization puzzle that is not well thought out can leave a footprint.

The downside with them doing that type of research and sharing it publicly is that they create an incentive for one person to make a bunch of spam sites for a competitor just to knock the competitor's main site out of the search results. And if you think MSN has fixes in place for that sort of stuff, you would probably be wrong. Take, for example, their inept geo-location targeting algorithms.

Does Google cross reference AdSense accounts when fighting spam? I am not certain, but some friends have recently reported occasional $8 and $9 AdSense ad clicks on some low traffic spammy sites in a network of spammy sites linked to an AdSense account. If Google is going out of their way to filter the noise out of their ad network it shouldn't be surprising that they would use similar data points to clean up their organic results. If you start getting a ton of traffic and/or large earnings quickly that might flag your site for some type of editorial review.

How to Look Like an SEO

Google started to support the NoODP meta tag that was introduced by MSN in May. To use it place the following code in the head of your DMOZ listed page
I probably would not use that unless my DMOZ listing was really jacked. I believe it is a way to self select yourself as an SEO, which may not work in your favor.

I also think excessively using Nofollow tags outside of those that are typically associated with your content management system is another way to self select yourself as a known SEO.

Microsoft AdCenter Dynamic Text

SER recently mentioned Microsoft AdCenter dynamic text.

Microsoft AdCenter dynamic text is similar to Google's AdWords Dynamic Keyword Insertion, but also allows you to set other variable ad copy driven off the keyword inclusion. For example:

Keyword / Dynamic text parameters
"sedans" / 5% off
"SUVs" / 7% off

When you are ready to build your ad, you will enter "All {keyword} {param2} as the ad title. When a user queries "sedans," the ad that appears will be "All sedans 5% off."

Microsoft's dynamic text also allows you to use {param1} to drive your ad URL and / or landing page.

AdCenter FAQs here.

MSN AdCenter Live to All

Via WMW comes news that MSN has completely dumped Yahoo! as a PPC provider and anyone can now sign up for Microsoft AdCenter.

MSN has little traffic compared to Google or Yahoo!, but has more controls than other top PPC providers. While their service is new their traffic should be cheaper than buying similar traffic from Yahoo! or Google.

MSN Search Spam Research

SEO by the Sea has a great post about spam analysis done at MSN. While MSN's credibility on finding web spam might be a bit questionable (since they rank it so well), but the research ran through a variety of factors associated with web spam. Most were related to temporal page variance and running things like inlinks and outlinks through power laws. If you hate to read research pages Bill also mentioned this 36 minute video.

Power laws are probably not something that many low level search spammers look at, but if you are going to do well at it, then it helps to see where you fit in the big picture and how it affects you. Although I have noticed some sites (particularly old, well-established ones) that have done pretty stupid things that should flag penalties that do not. The biggest thing that makes spamming easier than it should be is the number of badly coded sites with good content, but if you have the same number of links on every page, the same page size on every page, and the same link profiles as many spam sites you can expect that your site stands a good chance to get penalized.

MicroSoft Buys Into VOIP, Again

TheStreet reports M$ looking at VOIP again:

Microsoft said Thursday it has agreed to buy, a privately held firm in Zurich, Switzerland. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Media-stream's VoIP technology, which enables telephone calls over the Internet, will become a core part of Microsoft's platform that enables workers to use the Web to collaborate on projects. Microsoft envisions such collaboration encompassing several different modes of communication, including email, instant messaging, Web conferencing and telephone calls via the Internet.

Media-streams is the second VoIP firm acquired by Microsoft in the last few months. In August, Microsoft acquired Teleo

MicroSoft Windows Live Launched

Windows Live software platform getting plenty of buzz.

Firefox Support coming soon. No surprise there. Search champ unimpressed. So are others.

If MicroSoft would learn to do the small things right they wouldn't need to try to create Monopoly 4.0 and Robert would not need to post why so many people do not trust them even though he knows how to fix it.

At least Robert has great job security. EVERYTHING should be secure.

MicroSoft Business Intelligence

Andy Edmonds and Erik Selberg on MSN Search - neural net, result diversity, middle men, and the web of trust. Video well worth a watch to SEOs.

MicroSoft also intends to jump into the business intelligence market.

MSN AdCenter PPC Ad Pilot Test

MSN apparently is in a fight with Google for the solar system, and is looking for spaceship pilots...or maybe just people to test their soon to be launching ad system. Hey, you got to start somewhere.

Anywho, Oilman thinks you should check them out.

MSN to Debute Paid Ads Today?

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 ;)

While Google does not currently use personal data to direct placement of its ads, there is nothing in its privacy policy that precludes it from doing so, said Michael Mayzel, a Google spokesman.

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.

[update: looks like France got rolled out today. Danny has more info here.]