So what was lost by Microsoft not winning the deal?
“Microsoft not winning this is a huge setback for the uptake of [ad management platform] adCenter,” said Andy Beal, president and CEO of Fortune Interactive. “So while they’ll still move forward with their plans, and I’m sure they have other avenues to explore for expanding their PPC product and distribution…Winning this would have been a double whammy.”
Microsoft could have kick-started it’s attempt to challenge Google and Yahoo…
MSN’s loss was particularly hard felt in a community that would welcome a strong alternative to Google and Yahoo!, which currently dominate search.
“We think this market has needed a legitimate number three,” said Peter Hershberg, managing partner of SEM firm Reprise Media.
Some think the deal could lead to Google providing demographic data from the AOL network…
“If they’re going to open that vault [AOL subscriber data] up in a way to look at specific demographics,” she said, “that’s going to be a huge run on what MSN is doing right now in their adCenter program.”
And it looks like adding logos or images to Google ads is not exactly enticing…
“I don’t think that would have any impact whatsoever. My gut feeling is that people already associate the logo or image with the brand,” said Impaqt’s Burgess. “I don’t know if there’s going to be any incremental gains from having a logo there, that would have an impact on click-through rate.”
“As an advertiser, my initial reaction is, yeah, let’s have that opportunity. But I need to be conscious of what has made Google great over the last five or six years, and that is the clean interface,” said Beal. “It could be the demise of a very stable and profitable model.”