Microsoft today announced a new site that will be showing Microsoft Content Ads – the Wall Street Journal Digital Network:
The Wall Street Journal Digital Network today announced an agreement in which Microsoft Corp. becomes the exclusive third-party provider of contextual and paid search advertising for its network of sites, including The Wall Street Journal Online, Barrons.com, MarketWatch.com, AllThingsD.com and others.
The addition of these sites brings an additional 20 million unique visitors per month to the extended Microsoft network, enabling advertisers to reach out to an increasingly deep and attractive audience in the financial services vertical. The Wall Street Journal Digital Network is expected to begin providing Microsoft contextual advertising in February.
It is a two year deal with unspecified financial terms and Microsoft displaced Pulse 360 and business.com. Google’s erstwhile acquisition DoubleClick will continue to provide banner advertising.
The good news here is that this isn’t another instance of Microsoft vending old fashioned banner ads placed by their crew of banner ad salesman, but modern content targeted ads available to all advertisers through MSN adCenter:
This agreement marks an exciting increase in reach and relevance for adCenter customers bidding on financial services keywords – you asked for more volume, now you got it! Contextual advertising will automatically begin on the WSJDN starting in February 2008. If you are already an adCenter customer who is opted in to Content Ads, your ads will automatically be extended to the WSJDN at that time. Timing for Paid Search advertising on WSJDN is still being determined.
For those of you new to Microsoft Content Ads Beta, it’s an advertising offering available in the U.S. that places content-targeted advertisements on relevant web pages, delivering relevant ads to the right people at the right time on the quality Microsoft network, giving you better control over distribution and budget. Microsoft Content Ads is the perfect opportunity to potentially increase your adCenter impressions and clicks as we expand our network of participating sites.
WSJDN, along with our strong audience on MSN Money and syndicated partners such as CNBC.com and EDGAR Online, makes the extended Microsoft network one of the largest financial vertical networks for advertisers.
Ok so it’s still a beta and available only in the USA, but it looks like Microsoft’s new Web advertising czar Brian McAndrews is making a concerted effort to break out of their stodgy niche. The ploy for the moment seems to be to build a content network of quality “big name” US sites as opposed to Google’s AdSense which is open to all. That’s probably not a bad initial plan given that they haven’t built the worldwide infrastructure yet, but it isn’t going to put them ahead of Google.