Microsoft Sidewalk Signing New Advertisers

Microsoft’s Sidewalk, a group of local online consumer city guides, said that “thousands of advertisers and promotion partners” are signing up with the service as it prepares to launch an expanded product later this year.

Among those signing on are Ace Hardware Corp., Alamo Rent A Car Inc., Albertsons.com, barnesandnoble.com, Bloomingdale’s, Continental Airlines Inc., Eddie Bauer Inc., Merrill Lynch & Company Inc., NorthwestAirlines Corp., Norwest Bank, the Prudential Real Estate network, Rite Aid Corp., Visa U.S.A. and Wells Fargo Bank.

These marketing relationships often involve more than just advertising, Microsoft said. For example, Albertsons is joining with Sidewalk in a marketing campaign to drive both online and retail sales. This campaign includes a range of promotional activities encompassing online, broadcast and print media.

The expanded offering of the Sidewalk city guide, scheduled to launch by the end of 1998, will include consumer buying guides along with the current arts and entertainment information. These guides are designed to help users with every facet of major purchase decisions, Microsoft said.

Advertisers can choose from a broad range of targeting options, from category- specific ad rotations in particular buying guides to enhanced yellow pages listings, the company said.

Peter Atkins, general manager for advertising sales at Microsoft Sidewalk, said that between 50% and 60% of current advertisers already chose to renew, and the average revenue per merchant and advertiser has tripled since last year.

Sidewalk is available in Seattle; New York; Boston; Houston; Denver; Minneapolis/St. Paul; San Francisco; San Diego; Washington, D.C.; and Sydney, Australia. Sidewalk is scheduled to be available in the top 50 U.S. cities by the end of 1998.

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