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The rollout is Microsoft's first foray into its new strategy to monetize the Web by providing ad-supported Internet-based software tools that allow the consumer to control their own experiences.
Keeping pace with the future
The Web-based products are not only a way for Microsoft to keep pace with a consumer-controlled future, but also as a way to better compete against technology whiz Google. “With Live, Microsoft is creating the next generation of My MSN or My Yahoo and trying to leapfrog a little bit what’s out there,” Eric Valk Peterson, VP-media director, Agency.com, told Advertising Age when Live was announced in November.
The consumer-directed Windows Live products and Microsoft Office Live small-business suite allow consumers to customize their own Web programming with software that helps them build their own Web pages, receive RSS feeds, do personalized searches, send e-mails and instant messages, maintain blogs and be involved in a variety of social-networking and other activities. MSN.com, meanwhile, will continue to produce programming for the more passive user. MSN.com had 91 million users in January.
Microsoft has 20 advertisers in all, including four in Office Live; six in Live Mail; and 10 in the Spaces area. Coke Brazil, JCPenney and Monster.com are placing display ads and paid-search sponsored links, said Eric Hadley, senior director-advertising and marketing at MSN. Live.
His team is doing much cross-promoting between Live and MSN. Advertisers are testing on Live, looking to find out what type of audience they can attract through the new offerings.
“We are targeting Internet achievers,” Mr. Hadley said, a group that represents 23% of all Internet users, but 60% of all minutes spent online. “We think they [will be] core users of both MSN and Live, but we will be able to attract a larger chunk of that 23% now,” he said.
The Internet achievers are early adopters, frequent users of e-mail and Messenger, and buy more online, he said.
Microsoft has migrated the 230 million active MSN Hotmail users worldwide over to Live E-mail. The MSN Messenger service attracts about 205 million active accounts worldwide.