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Bing Annoys MSN Partners

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Microsoft’s devotion to Bing is straining some of its MSN partner relationships—and has even cost the company some cash.

The portal’s sales staff has been irked for some time by Microsoft posting myriad links to Bing on the home page rather than to MSN properties, the New York Post reported. And more recently, several high-profile MSN partners are feeling shafted by Bing hogging prime real estate on the MSN home page. According to sources, Hearst’s Delish.com endured such a traffic haircut in late summer/early fall of last year that MSN executives had to a write a check for a few hundred thousand dollars just to preserve the partnership.

Additionally, a pair of BermanBraun projects have also experienced a shortfall: Wonderwall, the celeb photo site, and Glo, the women’s mag launched last April in conjunction with Hachette Filipacchi Media U.S. The problem became so acute that a fired up Lloyd Braun paid a personal visit to Microsoft HQ before the holidays to try to rectify the situation.

According to comScore, while Delish reached over 5 million uniques soon after launching in 2008, its audience slipped to 3.2 million unique users as recently as last April before bouncing back to 4.3 million by December. Nielsen found that Delish’s audience slid about 9 percent in 2010—while Bing’s jumped 10 percent.

Glo.com also had a strong start, hitting 6.4 million uniques last June before losing 2 million users by October, per comScore. By December, Glo’s audience had returned—but only after rounds of discussions between the partners.

Wonderwall, which had consistently delivered 11-12 million unique users, plummeted to 7.2 million users last November, per comScore. Per Nielsen, Wonderwall’s traffic slid a total 12 percent in 2010. The drop was even more precipitous—minus 43 percent as of December—according to comScore’s panel-only data (which offers a more apples-to-apples comparison).

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