It took them a while, but Microsoft’s adCenter will soon generally support (albeit in beta) US sales of contextual ads on Microsoft content pages as well as search results according to David Jakubowski, General Manager, adCenter:
We are delighted to make Content Ads Beta available to all U.S. customers! On Wednesday, August 29, we will upgrade adCenter to include Microsoft Content Ads.
Microsoft Content Ads allows you to place content-targeted ads on the Microsoft network—connecting you to the right people at the right time for the right price. We’re excited about this release and the choices we are providing advertisers.
What does this mean for you?
- More reach. With Content Ads, you can access the valued MSN audience on high-quality Microsoft content network pages, starting with day one, MSN® Tech & Gadgets, Money, Real Estate, and Windows Marketplace. Over time, we will introduce the rest of MSN, other Microsoft-owned properties, and premium partner sites. Until now, this premium inventory has been available directly only through the MSN sales team and has commanded premium pricing. Today, we are making it available to everyone at a price you will decide.
Hard news for the banner ad salesmen, but good news for Microsoft’s Web advertising revenues, I’m sure.
One oddity (particularly for a beta) is that every current adCenter search advertiser apparently will get content distribution of their ads unless they explicitly opt out. I suspect most are savvy enough to deal with this, but it will take a while to determine what the correct price differential is between the search and content ads and no one likes to be thrown into that willy-nilly.