Microsoft Adds WSJ Sites to Network

NEW YORK Microsoft has inked a deal to sell contextual and search ads across Wall Street Journal sites, the latest move in the company’s effort to build an ad network to rival Google’s.

Under terms of the two-year agreement, Microsoft will displace Pulse 360, the company that previously ran contextual text listings. Wall Street Journal Digital Network properties, which include, and, had not previously provided search services. Microsoft will begin serving ads on the sites Feb. 1.

The deal builds on success Microsoft has seen in expanding its ad network to finance sites. In addition to ads it runs on MSN Money, Microsoft signed an agreement to place ads on and Edgar Online. Unlike those deals, the Wall Street Journal agreement does not cover display ads. Outside of finance, Microsoft has pacts with Facebook, Digg and Viacom.

“It’s really about premium publishers,” said Jon Tinter, general manager for strategy and business development, differentiating Microsoft’s approach to Google’s more far-flung network strategy. “We think a publisher of the quality of The Wall Street Journal speaks to that.”

The agreement highlights the shifting alliances that are forming as Google and Microsoft battle to stake out real estate across the Web. Fellow News Corp. division Fox Interactive Media, for example, is a partner of Google’s, inking a $900 million deal in August 2006 covering searches and ads on MySpace and other FIM properties.