Thursday, March 16, 2006

Microsoft Tests Ads In Web-Based Software

Microsoft Tests Ads In Web-Based Software
by Shankar Gupta, Thursday, Mar 16, 2006 6:00 AM EST
MICROSOFT WEDNESDAY ANNOUNCED A TRIO of pilot programs to test advertisements on its recently launched free services--blogging network MSN Spaces and the Web-based software products, Windows Live Mail, and Office Live.
The pilots involve 20 marketers--including Coca-Cola Brazil, JCPenney Co., and Monster Worldwide Inc.--which are advertising in several different geographic markets. Ads on MSN Spaces are being tested in Australia and Italy, ads on the Windows Live Mail beta are being tested in the United States and nine other European and Asian markets, and ads on Office Live are being tested only in the United States. The MSN Spaces pilot began most recently, on March 9, while the Office Live and Windows Live Mail pilots began quietly in February.
MSN Product Manager Karen Redetzki said the pilot is the first phase of testing on the new ad-supported services Microsoft touted last November. "We basically went out, and put a stake in the ground and said Microsoft is going to be doing more with our software services online," she said.
At the time, Eric Hadley, MSN's senior director of advertising and marketing, told OnlineMediaDaily: "Given the fact that the market's booming, the media's booming--the opportunity to take ad-funded software live around the company is going to be a great experience."
Future rollouts will bring the ads to more markets, and add better targeting, including contextual targeting, Redetzki said. "It opens the door for advertisers to connect with more consumers across Microsoft products and services," she said. "These are untapped areas."
Advertisers in the pilot include Monster Worldwide Inc., American Express, Dell and Sprint Nextel on Microsoft Office Live; and Coca-Cola Brazil, Verizon DSL, Discover Card Services, JCPenney, P&G, and Nestle on Windows Live Mail. Microsoft did not provide information on the advertisers with MSN Spaces. However, Kanoodle--which MSN contracted to provide contextual text ads--will remain on the Spaces pages of members who opted-in, she said, while the ads sold for the pilot will appear regardless of the users' preferences.
Redetzki declined to provide a timetable on the rollouts of more targeting controls, or ads in other markets, but said they would take place later this year.
buzz this