This comes as no surprise to me, but rumors are getting out that MSN plans to compete with Google and Yahoo (Overture) with their own version of paid ad placement. MSN has spent the last year and more working on their own search technology so they could become independent from Yahoo and produce their own set of search results. Search itself, is not a money maker, but paid ads certainly are, so it seems logical to me, to believe that one of MSN’s goals was to monetize their search results in this way.
I’m not a big fan of PP, but its a huge market and it certainly does have its advantages. I applaud MSN for going this route as I am a firm believe in search competition. MSN will not only get a slice of the search pie, but will also get a slice of the paid advertisement pie. This, in turn, will help bring more search traffic to MSN allowing it to be a more even competitor for the coveted search market share.
What will be interesting to see is if MSN invests enough money into their paid ad system to create something equal to or better than what Google and Overture currently provide. Both have their pros and cons, but for most advertisers, usability comes second to conversions. What does MSN have up its sleeve to help boost paid ad conversion over its competitors. Time will tell.
In the mean time, I am still anxiously awaiting MSN to roll out their search. When the beta rolled out we notices most of our clients performing extremely well. Over the past week or so we’ve seen considerable declines in MSN beta search rankings. This tells me they are still adjusting their algorithm for relevance–though I would contend that they are going in the wrong direction!