Microsoft execs may consider the online ad and search businesses critical to the company's future. But capturing a sizeable chunk of either isn't an easy task.
The latest example: The week after Microsoft was touting a major ad win with the Discovery Channel, it is conceding that another ad deal has gone by the wayside.
ClickZ is reporting that Digg is ending a year ahead of schedule its exclusive ad deal with Microsoft. From that report:
"(B)eginning in July, Digg will be solely responsible for all custom ad deals and a significant portion of its own Interactive Advertising Bureau standard ad inventory.
"The partnership initially was supposed to last until summer 2010, but the two always had an understanding that Digg would at some point step up to rep the bulk of its own ads, according to Mike Maser, Digg chief revenue and strategy officer. He said the company's internal sales efforts will focus on custom, non-IAB inventory combined with standardized banner ads."
I asked Microsoft for its take on the end of the year-and-a-half long Digg ad relationship.
No word back yet. A spokesperson provided this statement:
"Starting July 1, Microsoft will sell network inventory for Digg through the Microsoft Media Network, which it has been doing successfully for the last year and a half. Digg has created its own internal Sales Executive team and we respect their decision to sell their owned and operated site inventory directly to help further accelerate their growth as a company. Microsoft will continue to sell Digg’s reserved inventory alongside Digg’s new sales force through June 30, 2009."
Microsoft announced last week that the Discovery Channel was spending its entire ad budget (rumored to be in the seven figures) for "The Deadliest Catch" with Microsoft. Those ads are slated to run across a variety of Microsoft properties, including the MSN.com and MSN Mobile home pages, MSNBC, Xbox Live, Windows Live Hotmail, Live Search, aand a variety of video games using Microsoft’s in-game ad platform.