Microsoft To Provide Paid Search Listings For Wall Street Journal - InformationWeek
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1/29/2008
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Microsoft To Provide Paid Search Listings For Wall Street Journal

The deal also covers other sites in the Wall Street Journal Digital Network -- including Barrons.com, MarketWatch.com, AllThingsD.com, and other online properties.

In what amounts to a tactical victory over rivals Google and Yahoo, Microsoft said Tuesday that it has won the right to become the exclusive provider of paid search listings and related advertising services to the Wall Street Journal's Web site.

The deal also covers other sites in the Wall Street Journal Digital Network -- including Barrons.com, MarketWatch.com, AllThingsD.com, and other online properties operated by Wall Street Journal owner Dow Jones and Co.

Financial terms were not disclosed.

Under the agreement, Microsoft will use technology from its Advertiser and Publisher Solutions Group to place third-party, paid search listings on the Dow Jones Web sites. "Microsoft's state-of-the-art advertising platform will enable us to dramatically improve our revenues," said Gordon McLeod, president of the Wall Street Journal Digital Network, in a statement.

Microsoft acquired much of its online advertising technology through its $6 billion buyout last year of aQuantive -- the corporate parent of digital ad agency Avenue A-Razorfish.

Microsoft said it expects to start serving up ads on the Dow Jones sites starting next month. Both Microsoft and Dow Jones will presumably receive per-click payments from companies who's ads appear on WSJ.com and the other Web sites, though Microsoft did not provide specifics of the arrangement.

Microsoft is increasingly turning to broad partnerships with content providers in its effort to catch up with Google and Yahoo in the lucrative market for online advertising.

Last month, Microsoft and Viacom announced a sweeping, five-year alliance that will see the computer and entertainment giants partner on the creation and distribution of digital advertising and content and work jointly to promote each other's products and services. The deal is worth about $500 million, the companies said at the time.

In building out its digital advertising business, Microsoft is hoping to close the gap with Google and Yahoo -- both of which are currently well ahead of the software maker in terms of generating the search engine traffic that drives the bulk of online ad sales.

As of December, Google held 58.4% of U.S. search traffic, Yahoo commanded 22.9% of the market, while Microsoft controlled just 9.8%, according to market watcher comScore.

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