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MSN to unveil AdWords like PPC program

on Wednesday 3/16/05

     
3:50 am on Mar 15, 2005 (gmt 0)

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So claims the financial times [news.ft.com].

There will be no shortage of advertisers lined up to start pouring money in when it goes live. It would be nice if this turns out to be actual news with a date for launch instead of just another smoke signal about something that is supposed to be launching sometime in the future.

4:47 am on Mar 15, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Hi Skibum,

It will be interesting to see when it rolls out - the current agreement I understood runs until June 2006?

PASADENA, Calif., November 17, 2004 -- Overture Services, Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Yahoo Inc. (Nasdaq:YHOO) and provider of essential online marketing services, today announced the extension of its sponsored search distribution relationship with Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT) in the United States and internationally through June 2006.

[corporate-ir.net...]

4:49 am on Mar 15, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Can't see a downside to advertisers. However, publishers are a totally different story.
6:19 am on Mar 15, 2005 (gmt 0)

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The O-MSN deal is non-exclusive.
7:04 am on Mar 15, 2005 (gmt 0)

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This program is already live at MSN and has been for awhile, strangly nobody seemed to catch this change but I guess its only the big SEO people that got into this new program and these people are making good use of the program.

I think MSN hasn't gone "public" to let everyone in the system is they are working the backend out with Overutre as Overture's listings are now dropped down the list and they will be losing lots of money.

But good for MSN, now 3 search engines and 3 major PPC programs.

8:27 am on Mar 15, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Exactly Chicago.

It will be interesting to see what MSN come up with :)

8:34 am on Mar 15, 2005 (gmt 0)

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This program is already live at MSN and has been for awhile

I sincerely hope it hasn't been live for a while! MSN have/had a featured sites thing, which never returned the same ROI as the PPC system but I don't think that is what they are talking about.

The FT doesn't start a story without good cause. Great news at last.

Dixon.

1:43 pm on Mar 15, 2005 (gmt 0)

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>>This program is already live at MSN and has been for awhile

Never even noticed.

2:36 pm on Mar 15, 2005 (gmt 0)

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But good for MSN, now 3 search engines and 3 major PPC programs.

Bad for publishers as PPC will surely drop.

3:54 pm on Mar 15, 2005 (gmt 0)

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>>>>The FT doesn't start a story without good cause

Just got direct confirmation from MSN.

3:59 pm on Mar 15, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Not necessarily, as the three engines may compete in order to attract publishers.

They will do this by giving publishers a bigger % of the total PPC.

Also, technical competition will lead to innovative approaches in optimizing ad placement, which will lead to better conversion for both advertisers and better payment to publishers.

The problem will be the multiple interfaces for listing keywords.

Hopefully overture/msn will release a similar XML api that Google has so we can have one interface to the three engines.

While it may become more competitive, this is still a growing market as people all over the world take the to internet in greater amounts.

4:10 pm on Mar 15, 2005 (gmt 0)

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If this is live now, could someone post a link to sign up?
4:14 pm on Mar 15, 2005 (gmt 0)

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do a search on msn.com it has a "sponsor listing" like a google ad words.. click on the "see your message here link" and get...

Directory Listing Denied
This Virtual Directory does not allow contents to be listed.

[advertising.msn.com...]

is the link for msn ppc i'll be guessing.

4:18 pm on Mar 15, 2005 (gmt 0)

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The Seattle Post-Intelligencer, based on a Bloomberg News article, is reporting this as a "pilot" program, "six months to a year from final release."

[seattlepi.nwsource.com...]

No mention as yet in anything I've read about third-party (publisher) distribution along the lines of Adsense. I'd have to think that would come, if at all, much further down the line.

4:22 pm on Mar 15, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Yeah, I get a 403 error when I try to click on that link.
4:35 pm on Mar 15, 2005 (gmt 0)

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looks like they jumped the gun and put links up to advertise without putting the ad sales pages up. maybe someone from MSN Search will read this and let us know...
4:37 pm on Mar 15, 2005 (gmt 0)

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>>It will be interesting to see what MSN come up with :)

Trust me, it is sweet. With rich features we have not seen before from the others.

4:56 pm on Mar 15, 2005 (gmt 0)

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This is different than their Featured Sites, isn't it?

[advertising.msn.com...]

5:35 pm on Mar 15, 2005 (gmt 0)

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I'm trying to understand the benefits of splitting the market into yet another fragment.

We pay Overture to use their PPC program.
Those ad dollars used to apply to ads on MSN.
Now they won't.
We'll have to add more dollars to our budget.
We'll be reaching the same people for twice as much money.

How is that a benefit?

And what "rich features we have not seen before from the others" could there possibly be in a PPC program? Animated ads? DHTML ads? Wow, but ... wow.

I'm interested in reading an explanation of why spending twice for Overture and MSN is better than spending once for both Overture and MSN. And how the MSN program will be better.

So far, it looks like just another MS business tactic to get the dollars that used to go to one of their "partners".

<edit>I understand that our Overture spend will likely drop as the clicks we used to pay them for will now be provided by MSN, same click = same cost. The problem is in establishing accounts and potentially higher per-click costs when MSN goes its own way. Surely nobody imagines MSN clicks will be less expensive than Overture clicks? They're premium real estate!</edit>

5:46 pm on Mar 15, 2005 (gmt 0)

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from MSN's aspect its a great decisionon their part, more revenue for them.. However we will now lack in it.. with overture. However.. by MSN bringing their own system in place it will give us more control on MSN's listings.. where as we just go along for the ride on overture and google plus listings.
5:55 pm on Mar 15, 2005 (gmt 0)

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We'll have to add more dollars to our budget.
We'll be reaching the same people for twice as much money.

Not so, it's pay per click. Assuming that 1) You now pay $1 per click for 75 clicks on Yahoo and 25 clicks on MSN; and 2) the price per click stays the same for both programs; then, 3) you'd still be paying $100 for 100 clicks.

If you throw in the fact that MSN's program is in startup stage, prices per click might be lower at first. You might wind up saving a few bucks for awhile.

There's really no way to know how pricing will be affected, that will probably take some months to sort out. My feeling is that, as with everything else on the 'Net, it all depends. Different sectors will have different responses from each of the three major programs and will put their money where they get the best ROI.

6:01 pm on Mar 15, 2005 (gmt 0)

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This program is already live at MSN and has been for awhile

Not sure, but I think this is the PPC program that has a $75K per year minimum buy-in.

6:05 pm on Mar 15, 2005 (gmt 0)

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They will do this by giving publishers a bigger % of the total PPC.

Just what I need, a higher percentage of $0.05 - WOW!

With all the advertising venues I think the advertising rates will go down overall, even with a higher percentage publishers will lose money.

We shall see.

6:15 pm on Mar 15, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Well, it messes up the industry a bit. Which generally works well for the independent webmaster.

It'll be nice because not everyone will move over immediately so for those of use who are on top of things or can benefit from the scraps we'll have less competition for the keyword clicks.

6:51 pm on Mar 15, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Are they going to make their minimum big 5 or 10 cents or something else. I'd use overture but half my crap is 5 cent bids.
7:17 pm on Mar 15, 2005 (gmt 0)

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To dispel the alarmists, I think that more ad agencies is good for publishers. I will be able to choose the ad program that produces the best results for my site, rather than being stuck with whatever G offers me.

On the agency's side, they will have to offer a better value than the next guy to get the best publishers. I can see a sort of stratified system being set up based on volume of clicks -- A List publishers, B List, etc.

7:24 pm on Mar 15, 2005 (gmt 0)

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75K per year minimum buy-in

That's about $205 a day! That's way too much to be realistic. They wouldn't limit their product with that high of a price. No one would be able to afford it except the really big players who will spend that amount anyway.

I'll bet they require a minimum monthly spend, but nowhere near $6250.00.

I'm excited to get in there when they flip the switch!

7:30 pm on Mar 15, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Well, it messes up the industry a bit. Which generally works well for the independent webmaster.

How anyone could think that introducing new competition is a bad thing for the independent webmaster is beyond me.

First off, this release has nothing to do with publishers. It will be a roll out of a system that will ultimately replace all Overture ads.

During the rollout period they will probably be using a combination of both systems. That means there will most likely be a period where and advertiser could purchase some additional space at rates less than Overtutre. Or advertisiers who can't afford the current Overture rates for MSN might be able to get in and test the waters for a cheaper price.

Once the bugs are worked out, and they completely replace Overture, the pricing will jump up literaly overnight because all the Overture advertisers will move part of their spend to MSN. Advertisers aren't going to end up paying more, they will just be paying three different bills instead of two.

As far as a contextual/publisher program goes, there most certainly will be one rolled out once the system is ready. By this time next year independent webmasters will have three companies (Overture is testing as we speak) competing for the ad space on their sites. One of those competitors, has 16 times the cash reserves of the current contextual ad provider, and they have also demonstrated in the past that they are more than willing to take a loss in order to gain marketshare.

Based on that, I'd say that the odds of MSN releasing a contextual program that is far more transparent and ultimately pays publishers better than any current program are quite good.

Regardless of what program ends up winning, 2006 will end up being the most lucrative year yet for independent webmasters who make their living from contextual ad revenue.

8:33 pm on Mar 15, 2005 (gmt 0)

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What I first want to know is whether M$'s PPC will follow the good quality example of OV's RELEVANCE requirement of actual, ON-TOPIC sites in search queries, or will they instead follow the anything-goes absurdity of G$'s AW system.

The AW experience has clearly disproven the foolish G$ CTR-theory of "relevance" being defined by clicks. False advertisers get their CTR by lying to users and G$ allows even off-topic sites to advertise.

If anything but on-topic, real-domain sites ARE allowed in M$'s new PPC, well... the "truth in relevance" for PPC ads was proposed for that kind of advertising situation last December:
[webmasterworld.com...]

If M$ goes the evil way of G$, then OV will be the last remnant of truly RELEVANT PPC-ads in important SEs. But if it does the right thing and follows the OV model of true RELEVANCE, not only might it give OV (Y!) a competitive "run for their money," but it would also be "doubling up" with OV as both (OV & M$-PPC) showing proof together as to how horribly cluttered the AW ads really are because of so many irrelevant ads allowed in AW.

The second thing I would want to know is... given that M$ recently came out with a new SE system that actually yields HONEST, relevant, and valid natural SERPs (showing, for example, how utterly dishonest -- i.e., manipulated on purpose -- the curent "natural" SERPs for G$ are), M$'s new PPC also causes me concern that it could later become inevitable that M$ might also go the way of G$. M$ could just as equally destroy their now currently-accurate SERPs in order to also blackmail sites into their PPC -- just like G$ does. I hope not, though!

Waiting and watching...

9:11 pm on Mar 15, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Considering Google seems to drive most of the traffic to most web sites, a quick tweak to Google search to favor pages with AdSense over pages with MSN or YAHOO ads and the advantage to switch easily diminishes. Would be too easy to spot this change so I'm assuming Google won't silly enough to attempt such trickery.
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