MSN Launching Answer to Google Labs

According to MediaPost, MSN has launched its own research and development group.

For MSN, the adCenter Incubation Lab–adLab for short–can be seen as an answer to Google Labs, the forge for many of the search giant’s recent product launches.

AdLab will operate from two offices; one in Redmond, and one in Bejing. Each office will have 22 researchers and will work on roughly 40 projects at a time.

MSN Expects Full Switch to adCenter by Summer

SEW reports that Microsoft plans to switch all of MSN’s advertising to its own adCenter platform by the end of June.

Microsoft has been testing its ambitious new platform for selling all kinds of online advertising, called adCenter, since last spring. Right now, the company said about 25 percent of the sponsored links that accompany regular search results on its MSN Search site are from adCenter, but that will grow to 100 percent by the time the company’s fiscal year ends in June.

Channel Sponsors

Google Offers Mobile Home Page

From Reuters

Web search leader Google Inc. on Thursday said it was now offering U.S. mobile phone users a personalized version of the Google home page tailored to work on most recently introduced mobile phones.

Did You Get Your Google Analytics Invitation Code?

Google Analytics expert, and good friend, Tim Seward, has launched the Unofficial Google Analytics blog.

He has word that Google is sending invitation codes to the first set of customers who submitted their email addresses for a Google Analytics account.

He also has a free one-hour online webinar, “How to turn Google Analytics into Pure Profit“. Tim was a guest speaker at a symposium we hosted in Raleigh, so I can attest that he knows his stuff.

Google Tests Local Ads on Maps

ClickZ has details of a new experiment Google is conducting with ads on Google Maps.

A search on “hotels” in New York City returns an organic list of local hotels, plotted on the map with red markers and bracketed by sponsored hotel listings, plotted on the map with blue markers. The same search in other locations, such as San Francisco, doesn’t yet return the paid listings.

This is probably one of Google’s most relevant use of advertising in recent months. Very cool.

SunRocket Giving Bloggers a Bad Name

How many of you were offended with the Forbes article that labelled bloggers as an “online lynch mob spouting liberty but spewing lies, libel and invective.”

Well, contests like “Everyday Hogwash” certainly don’t help. The contest encourages bloggers to complain about businesses in hope of winning prizes. That’s terrible.

Why do we want to encourage just the complainers? Why reinforce the negative image of bloggers? Surely the sponsor SunRocket could get the same publicity by encouraging both negative AND positive comments?

I think this reflects badly on SunRocket, so, ironically, consider this my entry to the contest.

SunRocket = Everday Hogwash! If I win, I’ll donate the money to Vonage! ;-)

Update: Aaron adds this is just “a link scheme sold as a contest that encourages bloggers to give companies negative plublicity.”

CBS and NBC Track Blog Buzz

Both CBS and NBC have launched new initiatives to track the most popular stories in the blogosphere.

CBS – With millions of sites floating through the blogosphere, who really has time to peek at even a fraction of them … especially if you’d like to keep your job. So Blogophile reads them for you with the weekly roundup of the buzz on must-read blogs. Blogophile is written by CBSNews.com’s Melissa P. McNamara.

NBC – So for this [NBC Dateline] segment, we read through some of the postings online and enlisted the help of two companies that monitor Internet buzz (Technorati and Blogpulse) to find the most blogged-about topics on the ‘Net this week.

Via Rubel.