Microsoft’s Beta Prog. Breaking into Google’s Ad Realm and Doing OK

By Matt Van Hoven 

Google AdSense has stood out as the model to beat in online advertising, until now. Microsoft released news that they’d be entering the space last summer with PubCenter and now AdCenter &#151 a similar third party ad publisher that acts like an ad network, only much, much bigger.

According to this TechCrunch story, the system’s beta testers (actual content publishers, mind you) are so far having success with the program. And they’re making more money, too. In one case, four times more than with AdSense.

Microsoft’s program works basically the same way as Google’s, but gives the publisher more freedom to modify the appearance of the ads on their site. For example, ad backgrounds can include user uploaded images whereas Google only allows you to change the background.

But Microsoft still has a lot of catching up to do. Google announced this week that their ad system now reaches into Google News. And recently the company launched “interest ads” which basically read your every move on the Web and display ads according to your searches, site visits and other activity.

More: “Keeping Up With Google: Still Really Difficult