Quiet Mumblings

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Microsoft AdCenter

Today UK Yahoo advertisers finally got a letter to say that our Yahoo ads would no longer be showing on MSN Search. The deadline for this change? Yesterday! This sent some advertisers into quite a panic, but gave me a chance to have a look at Microsoft's new offering MSN AdCenter.

I had been looking forward to this day for quite a while: I had read the initial hype on the web, seen the presentations at Search Engine Strategies London, and heard the vague mutterings of approval and disdain from our American counterparts on WebmasterWorld.

My first thoughts: what a disappointment. The interface is clunky and slow like Overture's, the functionality is nothing to write home about, and its missing vital tools for keen advertisers like me to migrate. There's no bulk import that can create Orders (Adgroups), Adverts (Creatives) and keywords, and there's no API! Its adequate, but nothing more, and that's not really enough. Microsoft should be out to wipe the floor with Google, and if they really think that advertisers are going to spend loads of time optimising keywords using MSN's demographic ad targeting through a bad interface for a search engine that doesn't even produce much traffic, they're surely misguided. But they actually consider this their saving grace!

I really hope Microsoft improve dramatically on this meagre first attempt over the next year - giving Google some serious competition would be a really good thing for everyone. Firstly, an API, then a nice slick AJAX powered interface.

Oh, and they could have named it AdCentre in the UK!

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