Last week, I received an email in my inbox from MSN adCenter telling me that I was part of the next round of testers that were going to be give access to set up a pay-per-click campaign. I spoke with a few folks at SES Chicago that heard the same, so it seems that the next round let quite a few more people in the door. MSN is still showing Overture listings 75% of the time, but new adCenter advertisers will see their listings showing up for about a quarter of the searches run at MSN.
The email gave me two options... the first directed me to sign up by clicking a link in the email. I followed that link and answered half a dozen questions posed by the adCenter site. Once I filled the form out, it spit out the following message:
Success from day one - Let our Marketing Analysts help you plan, create, and optimize your first campaign.
Advertising on MSN Search has never been this easy. With MSN adCenter QuickLaunch, a QuickLaunch Marketing Analyst will assist you with a one-time ad campaign set-up service. Participating in this pilot program will provide you with an opportunity to take advantage of a unique service offering at no-cost. You will also be able to help shape adCenter improvements as a QuickLaunch customer.
How does QuickLaunch work?
Why should you become a QuickLaunch customer?
Expand your coverage - If you are already on Google and Yahoo!, get on MSN Search by importing your existing ads.
No cost to you - QuickLaunch is free during the pilot period.
Shape a new product - Help MSN make improvements to MSN adCenter and QuickLaunch by providing feedback.
Currently participation in the QuickLaunch pilot program is by invitation only. Register today to let us know if you're interested in the QuickLaunch pilot. You will be contacted by a QuickLaunch Marketing Analyst if you are selected to participate.
I'm not a big fan of letting other people setup my pay-per-click accounts, so I popped back over to the email and clicked the second link which took me to a sign-up page that required me to enter my email and then fill out all of my contact information.
The only bug I ran into at this point was that it asked for my credit card number and told me that a "sign-up fee" would be charged to my account. The problem was, they didn't tell me what that fee was. I went and did a little hunting and finally found that it's only $5.00, so I went ahead and completed the sign-up. The nice thing was that on the same page that noted the $5.00 charge, Microsoft explained that they would bill my card AFTER I had racked up charges, much the way that Google's AdWords system does. Users start with a $50 credit, which goes up over time to as much as $2,000. Credit cards are charged every 30 days, or whenever a credit limit is hit.
I'll be playing around with the interface some over the next week or two and will blog my comments as I find things.
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