Microsoft Playing Catch-up with adCenter

by SMD 

The Seattle PI has an interesting story about Microsoft’s adCenter. Microsoft is, of course, desparate to knock Google off the internet advertising throne. Last week they held their adCenter Demo Fest and some of the revelations sound pretty interesting.

Top new concept would have to be the “video hyperlink” that will allow you to click on the skillfully placed Dr. Pepper can the next time you’re watching Survivor on your computer [from a video stream I assume, as opposed to a TV tuner] and be instantly hyper-browsered over to the Dr. Pep website. Could be a driver for pushing more and more shows into online delivery, which has been held back by studios, due to the ease of removing the commercials and therefore their revenue streams.

Now, Microsoft is hoping to expand on the concept with a new technology that allows viewers to click on cars, clothing or other products that appear in online movies or TV shows. For example, viewers of “Sex and the City” could click on Carrie Bradshaw’s designer shoes or Kamali sweaters as she walks down a New York street and immediately be transported to advertisements for those products.

“Until now, there is no way for the user to actually interact with these ads in the video,” said Microsoft data-mining analyst Li Li, who was showing off the technology as part of the company’s annual adCenter Demo Fest Thursday.

The other part of the demo featured advancements in the MSN search technologies, included some advanced data mining techniques that would allow MSN to identify the top bloggers in a certain niche. Why would they want to do this? $$$ [the answer to any question, silly]. If they can identify the sites with the most influence then they can command top dollar for ads on that particular site:

For example, Daimler-Chrysler could use Microsoft’s search tool to determine what percentage of women between the ages of 18 and 24 conduct searches for Dodge Caravans. Or they could use data-mining technology to determine what blogger holds the most influence on car shoppers.

“As an advertiser you want to advertise on that guy’s blog first, because he influences the whole network and there is a ripple effect,” Najm said.

Whether it is by Microsoft or other online ad purveyors, I can only see this kind of trend continuing as the pressure to gain a competitive edge continues to grow. On the web it is all about the control of traffic. If you can be the king of your niche, you’ll be rewarded handsomely for it [uh, assuming that your niche is somehow related to products, of course]. So if you’re going to blog for cash choose that niche wisely. Looks like it will be better to dominate the “how to file your taxes online” space rather than to be just one of a million “personal finance” bloggers.

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