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I had an enjoyable day yesterday getting out of the office and going to the Search Engine Watch Seattle Meeting at the Hotel Monaco. Its a nice hotel, if not a bit crowded and confined. It looked like it used to be a bank or something. Met a few people, got to meet Danny Sullivan briefly. Talked with Larry Sivitz (SearchWrite - who we have worked with for some of our seo projects) for a bit as well.

Just as a side note, parking in Seattle is nuts. It cost more for 5 hours than for my whole daily house rent value...

Here is a little run down of my meeting notes.

May 19, 2006 - Search Engine Watch Seattle Meeting ----------------------------------------

First session covered some of the new features in Microsoft AdCenter, Google AdWords, and a little bit about Yahoo!.

Jed Nahum and Brian Burdick popped over from Microsoft to tell us more about MSN AdCenter - rebranded Microsoft AdCenter.

The response to their question of how many people were using AdCenter was a resounding response of maybe 2 people in a packed conference room! GO MSN! (The Google reps response was about 80% of the audience). Being very new, and only having gone live with AdCenter in April, they do have a lot to catch up on. There were several comments about the system being hard to use and having a hard time getting keywords approved through the system.

Jed's response: MSN is working on enhancing the editorial process of adding keywords. We are perhaps being overly cautions trying to maintain the rich family experience.

Dont know what that means? One of the examples from the slides was the keyword "diapers" with something like 58% of the searches coming from men, but the caution was that a good portion of those men were most likely not new fathers, but looking for something more like "adult diapers" I will let you derive the rest from there... ;)

In my own experience I found it (at least in beta) to be fairly difficult to use and set up keword campaigns compared to Google, who has by far the best user interface of the big 3.

They do have some nice demographic tools and have the customer base (from MSN.com and Hotmail) to be able to derive the data from similar to Yahoo! (Whos West Coast Search Marketing Sales Director Kelly West, was kind enough to tell us has a 400 million registered and 200 million active user base they pull demographic data from). Those were about the only numbers any of the groups would discuss.

There was/are a lot of questions about how the demographic data was formulated and what percentage of users was it based on? No one really knows. Jed Nahum (MSN) would only say it was "a significant amount". Of what we do not know! Google wouldn't really comment on it at all and sort of brushed it off similar to MSN's comment. Oh, the ponderings and mysteries of the SEO world......

We are all SEO magicians anyway right?! ... Google Potter and Harry MSN, then there is Yahoo Weezly...

Things of note from Microsoft:
Working on updating Keyword editorial process for adding new keywords
Rebranded from MSN AdCenter to Microsoft AdCenter
All microsoft advertizing, through MSN and shopping networks will fall under Microsoft AdCenter
They will be working on an API interface to be able to manage large campaigns sometime in the future.

Follow up links:
advertizing.msn.com/adcenter/
webmasterworld.com

Anyway wrapping up with MSN and heading to Google in the next chapter...

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