Techcrunch reports today that Microsoft’s Adsense competitor Pubcenter is getting good reviews from it’s beta testers:
PubCenter is being tested by a small subset of web publishers. Our tipster says that he is receiving from four times more in revenue from Microsoft than Google AdSense. And the money isn’t the only advantage PubCenter has over AdSense. The advertisements themselves are are higher quality than Google’s ads
That is encouraging news for web publishers and those of us that would like to see more effective competition for Google.
It strikes me that Adsense is a good area for Microsoft to go after. Most publishers can be easily persuaded to switch to the service which offers them the best eCPMs which I think will make it much easier for Microsoft to take market share than in search advertising where they first have to convince the consumer to switch away from Google.
On top of that according to Techcrunch they are doing a decent job of product quality as well – this covers customisation of how the ad units look, effectiveness of targeting and ease of setup. Having just installed Adsense on this blog I can say that Google is ok in this area, but could certainly be bettered.
The final weapon that Microsoft has at its disposal is the revenue split with publishers, and obviously any concessions in this area show up directly in publisher eCPMs – so this could be a pretty powerful tool for gaining market share. Google has some of the highest margins in corporate history and over time you can almost guarantee that competition will bring them down to more normal levels – leaving more money in the ecosystem for other participants (in this case small web publishers). Hopefully Microsoft’s Pubcenter will make this theory a reality.