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SuperPages.com Ads Appear on MSN

Verizon's SuperPages.com wants to send more traffic to its local advertisers. MSN has the traffic, but it wants more local ad content.

In the ongoing drive for local advertising dollars, a $100 billion market by some estimates, this is how deals are born.

Verizon SuperPages.com ads began appearing this week on MSN's local search engine pages, the result of a partnership signed with Microsoft in November, according to Dana Benton Russell, a Verizon SuperPages.com spokesperson.

"MSN is a huge player as far as search is concerned, and that gives our advertisers greater value," said Russell. "Our salespeople have relationships with local businesses, and that interests MSN."

Under the deal, three ads sold by Verizon's local sales teams appear across the top of a search page after every search query on MSN local search. They are a mix of paid-per-click, paid-for-call and fixed-rate pricing ads that are geographically targeted.

Ads are pulled directly from the Verizon SuperPages.com site, prioritized so that the more lucrative paid-per-click and paid-for-call show up first. Otherwise, fixed-rate ads will appear in their place.

The deal is an extension of the existing relationship between MSN and SuperPages, which is the provider behind MSN's yellow pages. The terms of the arrangement, a revenue share between Verizon and MSN, were not disclosed.

"This benefits SuperPages because it gives their PPC and pay-per-phone-call advertisers more distribution and it gives MSN more local content and the ability to better monetize its local traffic," said Greg Sterling, an analyst for The Kelsey Group.

In the past year, Verizon SuperPages.com has been working aggressively to expand its network, as have other online Yellow Pages publishers. Recently SuperPages competitor YellowPages.com announced an expanded distribution relationship with Yahoo!.

Besides MSN, Verizon SuperPages.com has partnerships with Google and several smaller sites.

One reason for the company's push in this area is that local PPC advertisers have increased their budgets to levels beyond what can be spent in its own network. Rather than turn them away, the company places their campaigns on rival PPC networks.

"We have had situations where we couldn't drive as many clicks to advertisers as they are willing to pay us for," said Russell. "That's why we need additional exposure."