Online Ad Wars: Who will win in 2007? Google, Yahoo, or Microsoft?

Here it is the day after Christmas and major publications plus the blogosphere are already making predictions as to the state of online advertising in 2007. The Wall Street Journal (subscription required) discusses Microsoft’s Adcenter and how it is way ahead of its time, the New York Times explains how online ad pricing is rising or falling depending on the specificity of ad placement, BusinessWeek points out why Yahoo’s ad-delivery technology falls short, and Techcrunch adds that the real advertising war is set to begin in 2007 when Google may be forced to cut back on its way-to-high revenue share.

This is all good news for advertisers, of course. And I understand the lingering curiosity floating around when it comes to the relatively new online ad marketplace, especially considering so much information is currently a secret.

Google doesn’t make public its revenue sharing percentage while Microsoft doesn’t disclose how much it actually makes from online advertising. And Microsoft is the first to take data from its Hotmail email service (the world’s largest with 263 million users) and use it to better position ads. The NYTimes articles said it best when quoting the CEO of an online retailer: “…everyone says the Internet’s great because you can measure everything and track results, but a lot of people don’t measure everything.”

So who knows who will will in 2007? But whoever the winner, perhaps it’ll be the first year where online advertising data is actually disclosed, measured, and implemented effectively.

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