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Though that would put MSN further into working with Yahoo...the decisions makes a lot of sense, really.
If they go that far, though - why / when will MSN just offer a XML program for themselves? After all, they have a lot of reach, and they would control a fair market share.
Then they wouldn't have to split the revenue with anybody either...
If they do plan on getting something together to replace /and or change their SERP's, now would be the time to start preparing before the holiday season in the states.
To me, the numbers just don't add up, since LS is a fixed price offering, any of the XML providers could replace it for the same revenue share.
Overture - now that they are offering a combined algorithmic product - may make even more sense as a strategic partner for them so they can monetize on an 'open ended fee' at the top - and then the same revenue split all the way down the page that they get now.
And, to make it easier, only one business partner to work with - Overture has the best (or 2nd best?) international distribution among the PPCs, with Google being the only one that has similar reach.