MSN Says IM Ads Not Contextual

    October 26, 2005

MSN, a division of software mogul Microsoft, recently attracted attention with their instant messaging service. Many users of said service claimed MSN was running contextual ads based on the content of the conversation but MSN has since claimed otherwise.

According to MSN, all the ads are based purely on demographic information provided by users when they sign up for the service. Demographics include things like, name, address, age, gender and other information. While the chat may not be the basis of the ads, it may seem like it depending on who’s bought ad time on the chat.

It would be easy enough to personalize these down as ads for your favorite local eateries show up or the garage down the street may be a chain and an ad pops up for them. Maybe movie ads at the local Regal or tickets to a Wildcats game could be thrown in the mix.

Ads are nothing new in instant messaging. All of them do it and MSN started putting text ads in to their IM product with the launch of Messenger 7. AOL runs a graphic ad at the top of their primary window and it may be movie ads or a variety of other things in nice graphic detail.

John Stith is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business.