Ted Meisel, who runs Yahoo!’s Overture Services (as well as being a lawyer from Stanford 🙂 told Adweek that he expects Microsoft not to renew their deal with Overture to supply search ads to MSN. The current deal runs through June 2006.
This is not really a surprise, as Microsoft has been hiring many people of late to focus on a paid search product for the new MSN Search. And in the brand arena, Yahoo!’s Overture, division is changing its name to Yahoo! Search Marketing Solutions. Having the Yahoo! brand selling paid search placement on MSN would not be good for Microsoft, although Yahoo! would probably have maintained the Overture brand longer had they been able to renew the Overture – MSN deal.
For those with a lot of $ to spend MSN is already selling search related ads directly to clients who spend more than $75,000 per year with their MSN Featured Sites product. And for a few million a year, you can probably get your link on the MSN home page (it looks like the lawyer directory link space has opened up).
In any case, for most firms it will just lead to one more setup of search terms for search advertisers, and one more system to track. Hopefully MSN will design their paid search fulfillment system to be like Google’s AdWords, and not Overture’s user unfriendly system. Better still would be for Overture to change their fulfillment system to be more like Google’s AdWords. But more on that when I compare Google and Overture services in a later how-to post…
Peace – Tim