Microsoft to extend contextual-advertising beta to all U.S. advertisers

Microsoft plans to extend its contextual-advertising program, known as Content Ads, to all U.S. advertisers interested in testing the new service, starting on August 29.

Microsoft plans to extend its contextual-advertising program, known as Content Ads, to all U.S. advertisers interested in testing the new service, starting on August 29.

Microsoft announced its planned cutover date on its adCenter blog.

Content Ads is Microsoft's alternative to Google AdSense. Microsoft began testing Content Ads a year ago among select adCenter customers.

Content Ads are text-based ads that are contextually targeted, allowing advertisers to key in on certain demographics, geographies and other specifically designated customer groups. Initially, ContentAds are being displayed on Microsoft properties, such as Real Estate, Money, MSN and Windows Marketplace. Among the features Microsoft is promoting with Content Ads are the ability to "separate content and search bidding, with keyword-levl pricing" and the "ability to turn off content (content-only, search-only ad groups)."

No word yet from Microsoft as to when Content Ads will move from "beta" to "final" status.

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