Microsoft Opens Ad Research Center in Beijing

The software giant said that Web-linked ads for television and scores of other projects are underway in China.

Microsoft Corp. this week revealed the existence of a new facility in Beijing, China, where about 50 researchers are developing Web-linked TV ads and other new Internet advertising features.

Microsoft said it demonstrated a number of features-in-training during a publicity event in Beijing on Thursday. The video hyperlink project, it said, lets TV viewers zoom in on products featured in advertisements, and click through to get info about their availability.

The lab is also focusing on delivering advertisements to mobile phones, according to Microsoft.

The adCenter Incubation Lab is meant to feed new facets to Microsofts adCenter, a system Microsoft is developing to distribute advertising throughout any number of Internet locales, from blogging sites to accompanying its MSN Internet search results.

/zimages/4/28571.gifRead more here about adCenters features.

Internet search companies, including MSN, Yahoo Inc. or Google Inc., derive all of their revenues from selling advertisements alongside search results, and competitive forces are such that each must continually improve the results their advertisers get.

The work has led to breakthroughs unheard of in traditional advertising circles. adCenter, for instance, allows companies to target someone based on their age, gender or location.

But theres a dark cloud, said privacy experts. From a privacy perspective, that kind of sophistication could lead to a harmful link between a company and its target audience.

/zimages/4/28571.gifRead more here about other changes expected on the MSN Internet portal.

Microsofts ads can only perform as well as those found at rival Yahoo Inc. Thats because Microsofts been relying on Yahoos own advertising system while it builds adCenter.

But the outsourcing deal ends in June, followed by adCenters promised U.S. debut, according to The Associated Press.

While the MSN site itself is extremely popular, its search feature has been perennially in the shadows of Google and Yahoo, the leading Internet destination.

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