Microsoft, Yahoo move forward on paid search

The two companies say the move to combine advertisers on Microsoft's AdCenter tool is on track to be completed by the end of October.

Microsoft and Yahoo say they are moving forward with their effort to transition search advertisers to Redmond's set of search ad tools.

Beginning Tuesday, Yahoo advertisers can begin migrating their campaigns to Microsoft's AdCenter, though users will still need to use both Yahoo and Microsoft tools for a while longer. The companies hope to start the shift of Yahoo ads to AdCenter in mid-October and complete the shift by the end of that month.

However, the two companies continue to give themselves wiggle room on the date.

"Microsoft and Yahoo will continue to seek input from advertisers as we work to complete the transition," Microsoft general manager David Pann said in a blog post. "While we expect the paid search transition to be complete by the end of October, and we are on track to reach that goal, we still may consider holding off on the full integration of paid search until 2011 if we feel that the transition will in any way impact the holiday season."

For its part, Yahoo has several tools for advertisers on its Web site, including a feature comparison, transition checklist, and a somewhat ominous sounding "compatibility report" generator.

"We recommend that you review your Compatibility Report, and fix incompatibilities between your current Yahoo campaigns and the AdCenter platform before starting the transition to AdCenter," Yahoo said on its blog.

Last week, Yahoo completed its move to use Bing to power its algorithmic search results in the U.S. and Canada. The move to use Bing results and Microsoft-powered ad tools is part of a 10-year deal aimed at joining forces to gain more bulk against the overwhelming market leader, Google.

Even with the combination, the two have less than half as much market share as Google. The two companies continue to refer to their combined market share as 31 percent, although the latest ComScore numbers put that figure closer to 28 percent.

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