Mon Mar, 2012 by Derek Mehraban
msnNOW is a new service from Microsoft that tracks “what people are talking about, searching for, and sharing the most.” It launched on February 15 and so far has generated a decent amount of traffic. It seems to be able to generate a fair amount of referral traffic as well. The problem, however, is where the referrals go.
Some of the stories at msnNOW will direct the user to a Bing search result. The link will supply search terms and then the users clickthrough counts as a search. When third-parties are then compiling statistics about market share for searches, msnNOW clickthroughs will artificially inflate Bing results. It is important to note that not all msnNOW links feed into Bing, only some of them.
Digital advertising firms are swayed by market share numbers. If a Bing advertisement is cheaper than a Google advertisement and the marketshare is artificially inflated, then the digital advertiser is not quite getting what they expect out of their investment. The bright side of this is that msnNOW looks to be a good palace to gain some impressions once it is opened up to advertising. It also offers up another place for heightened awareness if the digital agency can capture the place of a trending issue, but if that is captured then visibility is already not an issue.