MSN Launches Paid Search; Announces Contextual Search Test

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Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer officially debuted the paid search portion of MSN adCenter at the company's annual MSN Strategic Account Summit for advertisers in Redmond, WA. Mr. Ballmer also said Microsoft would start testing a contextual ad program this summer.

After testing the adCenter paid search program for a year, Ballmer and other Microsoft executives are now promoting adCenter as a one-stop shopping experience for search, contextual and display ads across all of Microsoft's sites.

"Our close partnership with the ad community is extremely important to us as, we evolve Microsoft from a software company into the world's…most attractive provider of online media through MSN, Windows Live and adCenter," Ballmer told the audience of advertising and marketing executives.

"Advertisers have the ability to reach niche markets, such as small business owners through Office Live and gamers online through xbox.com," Karen Redetzki, MSN Product Manager told <I>DMNews.</I>

Microsoft will start testing adCenter with a limited number of advertisers in the U.K. in June.

Ms. Redetzki declined to say when Microsoft would launch the display advertising test.

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