Microsoft hedges, renews deal with Overture for paid listing marketplace through 2006!

Ahead of the recent launch of Microsoft’s new search offering, I wrote:

“…The real test for Microsoft will be their ability to create their own vibrant marketplace for paid listings (further breaking their ties to Yahoo)…”

According to this joint press release from Overture and Microsoft, Microsoft isn’t quite ready to join the big boys yet by offering its own bidded marketplace and ad serving capabilities, and instead has renewed its relationship with Overture through June 2006 (a one year extension).

This is a big win for Yahoo (and Google), giving them another year to grow their advertiser base and ponder how they can maintain (or grow) their share of wallet when MSFT eventually gets its act together. (Yes, you and I are savvy enough to know that any advertiser worth his/her salt would buy from any and all marketplaces that provide positive ROI… but for whatever reason, there are still plenty of advertisers who don’t “get it” and work with only one of the leading SEM marketplaces.)

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