Microsoft opens up its answer to Google AdSense

People in the U.S. now can sign up for the company's service for placing ads chosen on the basis of Web site content.

Microsoft on Wednesday opened its PubCenter advertising service up for public beta testing, providing more of an alternative to Google's AdSense and Yahoo Publisher Network technology that places ads on publishers' sites.

All the services scrutinize the content on a Web site and place advertisements the service deems to be relevant to that content. As with ads on search sites, the advertiser pays only when a reader clicks on one of the ads, and revenue is shared with the publisher and the company operating the ad service.

Kevin McCabe, senior product manager of PubCenter, announced the move at the AdSpace conference Wednesday. People can sign up for the beta service at the PubCenter site, though it's only open to people in the United States at present.

Click-through rates on such services typically are far lower than for ads on search engines. But the technology still is significant, particularly during the recession, in part because advertisers can bid for keywords and limit their investments only to areas where they see a return.


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