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Microsoft offers advertising options on blogging platform

Advertisers can now create their own blogs on Windows Live Spaces

Microsoft’s aggressive sales run continues on its digital advertising solutions portfolio. With 93 million blogs and 115 million unique users a month, Windows Live Spaces (Microsoft’s blogging platform) is now open for sponsors in India. Though the company offers display advertising on Live Spaces, now advertisers can create their own blogs and interact with the community.

Besides India, Sponsored Spaces is now available in other countries as well. Clients include Pioneer, Colgate and McDonald’s in the UK, and Sony Ericsson and Adidas in Hong Kong.

Blogging is a relatively niche activity for Indians. According to India Online 2007, only 7 per cent of the 30 million people online write blogs, though 27 per cent visit them. No major publisher offers advertising packages for blogs. Google’s Blogger allows optional AdSense ads. However, many advertisers are using blogs informally to create a buzz around their brands. With Microsoft’s solution, the process could become more organised.

Microsoft offers advertising options on blogging platform
'Share the real me' blog
Sony Ericsson created a ‘
’ campaign in Hong Kong in April to promote its latest handset, which Microsoft claims received 52,000 visitors in a month and 191 comments. The blog was authored by celebrity Jay Lamb, and invited other bloggers to share their experiences. This month, the company launched another campaign, titled ‘Share the Real Life’.

Sponsored Spaces lets advertiser get exclusive branding on its blog, and offers the use of widgets, photo albums and videos. Users can also integrate it with Windows Live Messenger, the advertising options on which Microsoft introduced in May.

As the results on Sponsored Spaces may not be entirely measurable, MSN has a different deal with advertisers. Rajnish, head of digital marketing revenue and strategic business, MSN and Windows Live India, says, “Our package for advertisers is to promote their Spaces blogs on our various properties in the form of display advertising.” Though he does not name any clients, Rajnish adds that the company is close to acquiring advertising from lifestyle, apparel, beverage and mobile companies.

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