Microsoft today decked out its Web advertising and webmaster outreach efforts with some of the bells and whistles already available to Yahoo and Google customers:
Microsoft Corp. today unveiled two tools and an accreditation program designed to help customers make the most of their experience with Microsoft adCenter and Live Search. Microsoft adExcellence, opening to all U.S. adCenter users today, is an official training and accreditation program for adCenter. The Microsoft adCenter Add-in for Excel 2007 and the Webmaster Center are new tools designed to help advertisers improve the quality of their search advertising campaigns and help optimize Web sites for Live Search, respectively.
The Webmaster Center parallels Google’s Webmaster Central and the more loosely organized Yahoo Webpublishers help which allow webmasters to monitor and improve their indexing in the respective search engines, The Microsoft adCenter Add-in for Excel 2007 provides a convenient service within Microsoft Office Excel for advertiser keyword research as an alternative to the Web-based tools in adCenter, Google AdWords, and Yahoo Publisher Network. As for the adExcellence certification program, it parallels the Google Advertising Professionals Program and Yahoo Search Marketing Ambassador program.
I don’t mean to give the impression that these new Microsoft facilities are redundant. They are necessary if Microsoft wants to play in the big leagues in both Web search and search advertising.