Microsoft Replaces Google in Advance Internet Deal

Although reports of Microsoft’s ad deal with Advance Internet have deemed Yahoo the loser, it’s Google that will lose local market share as a result. Before signing with Microsoft, Advance Internet had used Google’s contextual ad platform AdSense on all its local sites. As part of its deal to become a Microsoft network reseller, Advance has switched from running Google AdSense on article pages to running Microsoft Content Advertising links.

“Google now has been replaced with the Microsoft product,” Advance Internet President Peter Weinberger told ClickZ News. The company began running AdSense ads in early 2008.

Exactly how much AdSense inventory is represented by Advance Internet sites — which include local news sites NJ.com, NOLA.com, and OregonLive.com — is not clear. Weinberger said he was not sure. Google did not comment in time for publication. The agreement does not affect Condé Nast Digital sites such as Epicurious.com and Style.com, which are published by a separate division.

In what could be perceived as another setback for Google, the publisher has agreed to include Microsoft’s sponsored links in the internal site search it uses Google to operate. According to Weinberger, Advance employs Google’s platform to enable content searches on its sites, but Microsoft will now serve ads into those results. Google had not served sponsored links into Advance search results in the past.

Advance was running Google’s AdSense ads the same way any small site publisher or blogger does. Because there wasn’t any custom set-up in place, Advance performed the transition without Google’s involvement. “We just stopped using it,” said Weinberger.

The ad deal between Microsoft and Advance, announced yesterday, has been construed as a blow to Yahoo, which has partnered with several newspaper site publishers in similar deals. In those deals, paper site publishers have agreed to use Yahoo’s display ad management platform. Advance, which currently uses 24/7 Real Media’s ad management platform, was looking for a more flexible contract, Weinberger explained.

“We want the flexibility of continuing to use our current advertising platform… There’s a tremendous amount of flux in the ad serving space right now,” he continued. “It seemed to make sense for us to be patient to get a better understanding of what all these platforms will become before making a decision.”

Disclosure: The author’s spouse manages the design department at Advance Internet.

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