MSN AdCenter Updates Coming Soon

Well the AdCenter team has been hard at work assimilating all the feedback from various blogs, forums and napkin backs into what will soon be unleashed upon us in the form of a very significant update. I was lucky enough to be invited to a demo of the new system yesterday and here’s what you can expect in the near future: [Read more…]

MSN’s Incentivized Search Comedy

So we’ve all heard by now that MSN is incentivizing search. It’s not a horrible idea and I really like that that the big prizes are donations to charity. A little bit of social goodwill is always nice to see and can really go a long way. One a tip from SEO Protege Kerry Dean I viewed the source code of www.msnsearchandwin.com and here’s what you get:

Meta Keywords tag:

house cleaning, William Sonoma, Starbucks, Barnes & Noble, Blockbuster, Home Depot, money, cash, gift certificate, luggage, skin care, makeup, spa, Baby, stroller, toys, golf, gortex, ski, skis, skiis, mountain bike, mountain biking, mountain biker, snowboard, snow board, snow boarder, snowboarder, snow boarding, tennis shoes, electronics, Halo, Halo 2, Plasma, plasma tv, camera, mp3 player, dvr, portable, midcentury, house, storage, storage boxes, target, eco, printer, travel, printer, charity, philanthropy, giving, Netflix, film movement, Consumer Reports, magazine, magazines, Zagat, Theaters, movies, independent films, independent film, independent movies, product ratings, ratings, consumer product ratings, magazine subscription, magazine subscriptions, restaurant guide, movie theaters, house cleaning services, gourmet foods, coffee, Barnes and Noble, Blockbuster movies, home improvement, win, gifts, gift check, bags, skin, blush, beauty, toddler, maternity, newborn, golf club, polar fleece, downhill, fat tire, fattire, Burton, athletic shoes, home theater, joy stick, Flat screen, Flatscreen, flat screen tv, flatscreen tv, digital camera, mp3, digital video recorder, portable tv, midcentury modern, home, organize, organizer, organization, amy coe, eco friendly, printer cartridge, hotels, printer cartridge, donation, red cross, non-profit, DVDs, foreign film, foreign films, foreign movies, product reviews, consumer product reviews, Amazon magazines, Amazon magazine, restaurant survey, theatres, maids, gourmet, latte, books, Blockbuster movies online, doors, money exchange, travelers checks, American Express, purses, perfume, eye shadow, massage, massage therapy, infant clothing, trimester, baby books, golf accessories, polartec, slalom, single track, Shaun White, athletic gear, consumer electronics, mist, hdtv, hdtv ready, hdtv capable, mega pixel, mega pixels, Windows media, tivo, wireless, furniture, modern furniture, houseware, housewares, home organizer, home organization, design for all, green design, printer refills, luxury hotel, printer refills, fund raising, environment, Hurricane Katrina, top video rentals, Cannes, Cannes Film Festival, buying guide, buying guides, magazine order, magazine orders, Zagat survey, movie theatres, maid services, gourmet cooking, espresso, books online, movie rental, lumber, present, debit card, credit card, luggage set, fragrances, mascara, manicure, pedicure, nursery, nursing, gerber, golf putter, fleece, moguls, cycle, Gretchen Bleiler, sports gear, dvd player, playstation, digital cable, digital photo, WMA, Directtv, Directv, direct tv, wi-fi, modern architecture, furniture, furnishings, living room furniture, container, containers, isaac mizrahi, sustainable design, home office, resort, home office, donate, foundation, charitable foundation, online movie rental, Sundance, Sundance Film Festival, product guide, product guides, Time magazine, restaurant reviews, AMC, merry maids, cookware, Starbucks stores, Borders, dvd rental, windows, travel, toys, online shopping, handbags, eye cream, lip gloss , facial, spa facial, baby shower, baby gear, baby albums, golf ball, backcountry, back country, boots, ski boots, cycling, Hannah Teter, sports shoes, cd player, sony playstation, superbowl, canon, real, real audio, videophile, sony, modern design, placemat, place setting, place settings, closet organizer, michael graves, prefab, pre-fab, desk, vacation, desk, donor, homeless, social change, movies online, film festivals, top rated, Newsweek magazine, restaurant ratings, AMC theaters, mop, gourmet cookware, Starbucks locations, book best sellers, video, roof, leisure, camera, office supply, backpacks, soap, lipstick, Pamper, pampering, infant care, car seat, carseat, diaper rash, golf accessories, hiking, bindings, ski bindings, trail, Danny Kass, marathon, marathons, stereo, stereos, stereo equipment, game boy, frye’s, nikon, portable music, audiophile, cutting edge, mod, mod design, carafe, clutter, mossimo, renewable energy, cable modem, getaway, cable modem, united way, philanthropic, volunteer opportunities, videos, top independent films, top independent movies, geek files, In Style magazine, dining reviews, movie listing, floor wax, specialty foods, Starbucks gift card, best sellers, popcorn, tools, shopping, lipstick, printer, clutch purses, skin cleansors, nail polish, hot stone therapy, hot stone massage, OB, OBGYN, Diapers, diaper, postpartum, post partum, PGA, Mountaineer, mountaineering, alpine, alpine skiing, trail riding, Nate Holland, 10k race, 5k race, Pc, Computer, Desktop, Notebook, laptop, nintendo, espn, kodak, walkman, magnolia hi-fi, roaming, lighting, glasses, drinking glasses, water glasses, queer eye, queer eye for the straight guy, liz lange, hybrid, hybrid suv, high speed internet, weekend escapes, high speed internet, volunteerism, volunteer , teach for America, video rental, top foreign films, top foreign movies, file cart, People Magazine, dining ratings, movie listings, windex, kitchen appliances, hear music, book recommendations, hollywood, lighting, cars, perfume, printer supplies, carry-ons, moisturizers, nail polish remover, day spa, dayspa, breast pump, pacifier, birth, LPGA, crampons, ski racing, Andy Finch, Runner, running, software, xbox 360, panasonic, shutterfly, ipod, entertainment, designers, designer furniture, wine glasses, trading spaces, books, prius, DSL, valentine’s day, DSL, peace corp, public television, NPR, Hollywood movies, Cannes Film Festival winners, epinions, House & Garden Magazine, top restaurant ratings, top movies, floor cleaner, kitchen equipment, buy coffee, book reviews, movie star, decks, automobiles, ear ring, print refills, garment bags, bath oil, face powder, wattsu, watsu, diaper bag, crib, labor, michelle wie, rock climbing, climbing, snow plow, snowboarding, sportsbra, sports bra, hardware, xbox, aspect ratio, ofoto, itunes, kitchen tv, rugs, stemware, home improvement, cleaning, cleaning supplies, diesel, bio diesel, biodiesel, all in one printer, honeymoon, all in one printer, katrina, tsunami, oprah, top videos, Sundance Film Festival Winners, cars, used cars, Martha Stewart Magazine, top nightlife ratings, top blockbusters, broom, cookware, coffee beans, book clubs, gossip, landscape, prices, glasses, watches, kate spade, shower gel, foundation, hydrotherapy, breast feeding, changing table, doula, tiger woods, nordic skiing, aspen, warm ups, warm up pants, warm up gear, dvd burner, gaming zone, pixel, online photos, codec, videoonly, carpets, barware, spring cleaning, pots, architect, scanner, cruise ship, scanner, burberry, booster club, farestart, top dvd rentals, indie, electronics, Real Simple Magazine, nobu, blockbusters, sponge, tableware, buy coffee beans, top books, people magazine, garden, bargains, eye glasses, cartier, tote bags, body crème, loose powder, swedish massage, baby monitor, nursing chair, midwife, mid-wife, golf swing, cross country skiing, cross-country skiing, cross country ski, cross-country ski, whistler, soccer, satellite television, satellite tv, gamer, HDMI, photo processing, music, videonly, wenge, wenge wood, cook, cooking, cooks, garage sale, pans, architecture, desktop, first class airfare, desktop, art, pta, union gospel mission, top dvds, IFC, appliances, babbo, movie reviews, cleaning supplies, gift packages, java, New York Times best sellers, perez hilton, insulation, retailer, optical, hand bags, rolling luggage, body lotion, liquid foundation, deep tissue, deep tissue massage, lullaby, baby clothes, birthing, fairway, randonee, randonee skiing, randonee ski, jackson hole, tennis, XMRadio, cable card, fuji film, music download, video only, neutra, kitchen, kitchenware, kitchen accessories, movers, moving, moving services, moving boxes, toaster, interiors, telecommute, international travel, telecommute, fine art, school district, goodwill, online dvd rentals, parker posey, lawn mowers, mario batali, movie critics, dust pan, cookbook, whole bean, New York Times book review, angelina jolie, building materials, sale, stereo, purses, laptop bags, shampoo, cream foundation, masseur, masseusse, nursery rhymes, carter’s, carters, mclaren, irons, snowshoe, snowshoes, snowshoeing, snowshoing, sun valley, football, Sirius , tuner, konica, american idol, magnolia, retro, home décor, uhaul, u-haul, kitchen appliances, interior design, checkbook, travel agent, city year, yoga, auction, donation, online video rentals, iconoclasts, diets, iron chef, fandango, vaccuum, cuisinart, frappucino, New York Times book reviews, charlize theron, bark, apartment, coupon, shoes, toiletry kits, conditioner, concealer, waxing, medela, baby bjorn, peg perego, wedges, telemark, telemark skiing, telemark ski, telemark skiis, lake tahoe, basketball, Sony, video , photography, digital audio, best buy, studio, home accessories, self storage, public storage, storage unit, storage units, blender, urban, banking, cruiselines, susan g komen foundation, pilates, fund raiser, poncho, dvds online, almodovar, treadmills, napa, brad pitt, vaccuum cleaner, waring, cappucino, Oprah books, napoleon, mulch, newspaper, gift card, designer shoes, camera bags, candles, makeup remover, hair coloring, baby gap, baby powder, avent, putters, belay, belaying, skiing, baseball, Toshiba, RGB, camera phone, headphones, circuit city, noguchi, isamu noguchi, votive, votives, tupperware, back to school, modernism, billpay, safari, AIDS, organic, jungle party, seattle art museum, videos online, transamerica, car buying guide, sonoma, will ferrell, dyson, pressure cooking, mocha, Oprah Book Club, napoleon dynamite, gardening, magazine, discount, wallets, duffel bags, scented candles, foundation primer, colorist, fisher price, baby formula, pampers, drivers, black diamond, blackdiamond, cycling, Samsung, LCD Projection, albums, earbuds, Cellphone, Corbusier, le corbusier, dining room, dining room furniture, dining room table, dining room chair, pyrex, dorm, dorm room, design-build, pay by phone, trek, doctors without border, conservation, saint jude’s, SAM, blue book , healdsburg, luke wilson, feather dust, slow cooker, café au lait, Oprah’s book club, academy awards, lighting fixtures, ikea, project runway, belts, diaper bags, bronzing powder, stylist, pregnant, baby names, huggies, pine valley, headlamp, head lamp, Olympic games, Monster Cable, DLP, photo album, eames, ray eames, charles eames, food, drawer organizers, family, off grid, office depot, adventure travel, make a wish foundation, preservation, st. jude’s, olympic sculpture park, consumer safety, owen wilson, swifter, henkel, tazo, booker prize, golden globe, light bulbs, target, LOST, men’s shoes, wallets, false eyelashes, salon, hair salon, childbirth, child birth, pregnancy, placenta, greg norman, climbing harness, climbing gear, olympics, Bose, home video, online photo album, lounge, wine, wine storage, bins, family room, solar, solar energy, office max, bike touring, ronald mcdonald house, historic preservation, marlo thomas, employee matching fund, brokeback, febreeze, wustoff, tea, reading, golden globe winners, wheel barrel, jc penney, jackets, eyeliner, aromatherapy, PEPS Groups, new moms, poop, jack nicklaus, Magnesium carbonate , MgCO3, Toshiba, digital video, picture share, workspace, bed, bedroom, bedroom furniture, bedding, baskets, den, Quonset, quonset hut, staples, wine tours, slow food movement, moveon.org, one.org, giving campaign, brokeback mountain, laundry, donvier, caffeine, library, academy award nominee, planter, back to school, coats, cuticle remover, spa treatments, colicky, SIDS, teething, golf handicap, chalk, chalk bag, climber’s chalk, climbing chalk, Panasonic, DVI, digital picture prints, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Bath, Bathroom, bathroom accessories, boxes, sleepear, dwell, dwell magazine, epson, food tours, magic johnson, sierra club, one world, community affairs, dryer, baking, libraries, best picture, lighting, suits, bassinet, colic, cradle, caddy, carabiner, Pioneer, 1080p, 35 mm cameras, chilewich, sheets, trunks, clothing, clothes, HP, winter vacations, technology access foundation, bono, net jets, casey foundation, dishwasher, ramekin, used books, windows, shirts, playpen, boppy, booster, hole in one, bouldering, HD DVD, , angela adams, towels, crates, mops, Dell, ski vacation, TAF, bill gates, mandarin oriental, corporate council for the arts, sponge, pyrex, plumbing, underwear, high chair, highchair, nursing pillow, glider, sand trap, top-roping, top roping, blu-ray disc, flor, bath towel, shelf, shelves, shelving, brooms, Microsoft, beach vacation, unicef, bill and melinda gates, french laundry, gates foundation, zyliss, decking, drugstore, swings and jumpers, jumpers, bouncers, tee, golf tee, piolet canne, piolet ramasse, piolet panne, piolet poignard, piolet ancre, piolet traction, blue ray, jasper morrison, shower, shower curtain, shower accessories, laundry, laundry room, dust pans, technology, tropical destination, care, melinda gates, gucci, osprey, good grips, hammer, supermarket, portacrib, diapering, tee time, Abalakov V-Thread, high def, home improvement, linen, linen closet, toys, new york city, american red cross, cartier, vertu, nobu, oxo, stanley, wine, potty training, green fee, green fees, Ice pitons, pitons, new home, cabinet, cabinet organizers, cd, cds, cd’s, las vegas, habitat for humanity, sotheby, fine wine, gourmet, krups, black and decker, beer, usga, outdoor, outdoor gear, cookware, luggage, dvd, dvds, dvd’s, passport, Oxfam, caviar, port, rioja, calphalon, outdoor lighting, french wine, camping, camping gear, camping supply, camping supplies, silverware, basement, music, hit music, travel visa, unicef, food, bordeaux, cabernet, le creuset, motion detector, bordeaux, sno park, sno park permit, forest service permit, sno park pass, snow park, snow park permit, snow park pass, flatware, attic, pet, pets, pet care, pet supplies, road trip, save the children, wine, burgundy, california cab, pillows, throw pillows, throws blanket, oprah, 24

This incy wincy little list is repeated again in the body in comment form. I didn’t think I needed to paste it in here twice 🙂

If you look at he meta tags you also find this: meta name=”Author” content=”Hook Network”. Google around a bit (or MSN around or Yahoo around) and you’ll find a French agency that does appear to have some ties to Microsoft but the site is flash and I don’t speak French other than what’s on a cereal box here in Canada and Hook Networks does not appear to be sugar free or a source of any essential viatamins and minerals.

Go view it now in the wild as I expect it won’t last long.

My favorite ‘targeted’ word in there: placenta. What the heck do you win searching for that?

MSN AdCenter Adventure Part 3

So I’ve been playing around with AdCenter for a few weeks now and there are a couple usability items that drive me absolutely nuts. First off is all the scrolling – up down left right all the time it slows you down to a crawl when you are entering a new set of keywords and using the research tool at the same time. When I have the keyword window open with the research tool I have to stretch my browser onto my second monitor to do away with the horizontal scrolling. So why do you have to open it so wide? Because the keyword window has a frame set in it that you need to access the scroll bar in as well. The screenshot below shows the all the scrollbars that are present when the browser is maximized to 1280×1024: The problem is the keyword field that is set to about a zillion characters wide: keywords That line really only needs to be about a third as long as it is and would solve a ton of scrolling issues. Next up is the research tool that only returns 5 results per screen. If I was still running a 640×480 resolution this might be useful but as it stands it’s annoying as all get out especially when there are 20 pages of results. Click, click, clickity click – argh. Just a short adventure for today. Tune in next time. I promise more regular AdCenter Adventure updates.

MSN AdCenter Adventure Part 2

Well well well – Part 2 already. The approval process has run full course and here are the results:

Approved =55 Pending =0 Rejected =13

Now what’s interesting is there seems to be only faint traces of logic to the editorial process. For example let’s say the site is about dog houses: maryland dog house – approved kentucky dog house – rejected generic dog house – approved buy generic dog house – rejected small canine shelter – rejected Needless to say an email has already gone off to support for clarification.

MSN AdCenter Adventure Part 1

So I decided it’s time to jump in and learn this PPC thing. I simply know too many people making money on it to let another day pass without getting in on the game. MSN was kind enough to invite me to the AdCenter pilot program. My plan is to blog my AdCenter Adventure as I learn PPC from the MSN point of view. I hope some of you come along for the ride and learn along with me and I’d imagine along the way we’ll uncover some cool and not so cool pieces of AdCenter. Keep in mind I’m not planning on reading any instructions or tips along the way. We’ll see how intuitive the interface is. Let’s begin…. I followed the url to sign up and 30 seconds later after entering my info and allowing MSN to charge my credit card for $5 to activate my account I’m staring at this screen: The next couple screens are really straight forward – pick your region (Singapore or US for now) and any dayparting you’d like. They have several predefined times of the day to choose from. So I picked some times I felt would be relevant for the product I’m testing with and, of course, turned my ads off at night. Next up is selecting your keywords. I love their interface for this. The keyword selector is in the top right and you seed it with your base keyword or phrase and it immediately gives you related phrases – much faster than Yahoo or WordTracker’s tools. Then you just click through selecting the terms you want and they are populated into a list in the bottom right. Once you’ve gone through all the phrases you want you click one more button and they move into your main window on the left and you can then manage all the bids on per word basis. I’m running minimum bid for everthing at this point. Now the creative bit. I’ve blurred my ads because you’d probably mock the creative. Well, that, and I don’t want you to see my market – sorry kids 🙂 There is an ad preview that updates as you type in the ad fields below. Not a big deal but pretty cool to see it real time. Now we click submit and see the summary. Ads submitted at 12:28pm PST. I’ll take bets on how long it takes to approve… That wraps up the MSN AdCenter Adventure Part 1. Relatively painless I must say. Far better than the last time I set foot in the Adwords interface. ADDED: wow – 6 terms rejected instantly with: ‘Landing page content not relevant,Undesirable content per editorial guidelines’ as the reason. I can sort of see some of them but one in particular makes no sense at all. They basically told me that a site (Best Pet Reviews) about dogs is great for the term puppies (a fair comparison to the real terms IMHO). Check my lastest review on that guarantor loan program i’ve tested a few weeks ago.

Let us talk about grilling materials in the industry. If ever you want to see some of the client’s review about offset smoker, just visit and learn more here to decide what type of smoker is right for your needs.

MSN adCenter Pilot Program

Katrina Flyover: Aerial images of Katrina’s devastation

Katrina Flyover: Aerial images of Katrina’s devastation – Hurricane Katrina – MSNBC.com

MSN has done a pretty nice job of putting together a pretty smokin before and after gallery of New Orleans using Virtual earth and Pictometry. Well worth checking out but be sure to use IE – Opera and FF won’t render it correctly. Very cool technology at work here.

Oilman – Champion of Search

well, well, well – I just received my official invite to Search Champs V2. I’m definitly looking forward to it – how many times in your life is there someone waiting at the airport with you name on a placard? 😉 It also looks like some good friends of mine will be there as well: Jen Slegg – JenSense Greg Boser – Webguerrilla Stephanie Lefler – Monster Commerce The dates are set for mid April so watch for some updates as soon as I get back.