What to make of MSN announcing that they will have their own PPC ad system? Well, one thing they do differently than Google is pre-announce instead of just launching it. It's not clear when MSN keywords will be for sale direct from MS.
Is this announcement good for the SEM world? Raise your hand if you want to deal with another set of user interfaces, reports, account managers, bidding tools, TOS, payment systems, APIs, etc., etc.
Now if Microsoft actually did something new, that might be nice. I wonder if they have it in them. CPA, anyone?
I find this quote from the USA today interesting:
"Competition is fantastic," says Chris Winfield, the president of New York-based search marketing firm 10e20 Web Design. "I'm hoping this will lower some of the costs per click. I can't see Microsoft charging as much as Google and Yahoo, at least not in the beginning."
I don't see how dividing up inventory that's already rep'd by Overture is going to change prices at all. If MSN's ad system is better and easier and well-promoted, it actually might attract more buyers and raise prices...