INTERACTIVE;MSN SPELLS OUT WEB AD STRATEGY

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Microsoft corp. is preparing ambitious plans to include more advertising on Microsoft Network's Web site.

Microsoft has started selling Web link banners for Slate, the online commentary magazine edited by ex-New Republic Editor Michael Kinsley that makes its debut in early summer.

PROTOTYPE FOR MSNBC

In July, Microsoft and NBC will launch MSNBC as an ad-supported Web site and cable channel. The free MSN News site (http://www.msn.com/news) that launched late last month is a prototype of what MSNBC will look like on the Web, said Steve Goldberg, MSN manager of advertising development and strategy.

Microsoft also is developing Web content dealing with entertainment and information.

"We're going to work with advertisers to find ways to sponsor these shows that are very likely to be more than just a banner," Mr. Goldberg said.

For now, though, Microsoft is mainly selling banners linking to advertisers' sites. Ad rates range from 3 cents per impression for high-traffic sites like an MSN search area, up to Slate's 6.5 cents.

BANNERS AND MORE

While Mr. Goldberg said Microsoft believes its pricing works for advertisers, the company is open to suggestions on ways to improve the advertising model.

Advertisers get up to 17.5% discounts based on ad volume and length of commitment, Mr. Goldberg said.

MSN launched in August as a proprietary service with an array of ad options. When Microsoft refocused the company on the Internet late last year, MSN's content and ad focus shifted to the Web.

MSN Web advertisers include C/Net: The Computer Network, Internet Shopping Network and Nynex, plus a few MSN advertisers-Chrysler Corp., Quaker Oats Co.'s Gatorade and Kellogg Co.-that shifted ads to the Web.

Mr. Goldberg said Microsoft has ad proposals out to more than a dozen major advertisers in such categories as cars, package goods, financial services, travel, computers and software.

Microsoft is in the process of assembling a staff of about 10 people to sell Web advertising.

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