MSN Extends Overture Paid Search Deal

The Microsoft division commits to another year with Yahoo's sponsored-links division, even as it prepares to replace Yahoo's Web results in 2005.

Microsoft Corp.s MSN division has extended its sponsored-links contract with Overture Services Inc. for another year.

The companies announced an agreement on Thursday that runs through June 2006. The previous deal between MSN and Yahoo Inc.s paid search division was due to expire in June 2005.

The move signals that MSN is not ready to drop paid search results from Yahoo next year, even though it has outlined plans to switch its Web results from Yahoos search engine to its own engine in 2005.

Redmond, Wash.-based MSN launched a beta of its search technology last week, which is running simultaneously with its main MSN Search site that taps Yahoos Web search results.

"Overture has been a strategic partner of MSN since 2001, and we look forward to continuing our productive relationship," said Yusuf Mehdi, an MSN corporate vice president, in a statement.

As part of the agreement, MSN can run Overture ads on its sites in the United States, Canada, Europe and Asia. Overture, of Pasadena, Calif., is one of the largest paid search providers alongside Google Inc.

MSN Search runs Overtures sponsored links alongside its main Web search results. Earlier this year, MSN reconfigured the way it displays paid search ads by more clearly labeling them and limiting the number that can appear atop nonpaid results.

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