MSN to Consumers: Listen up!

Microsoft’s MSN Network signed a deal with San Francisco-based Keen Inc. that will bring its users live
advice and online content regarding subjects such as computer help, astrology
and financial advice.


The move marks a major ratification of Keen’s business model. Under the
agreement, Keen’s pay-per-minute service will be offered across a variety of
MSN properties, enabling users to talk live over the telephone to Keen
advisers. Financial specifics were not disclosed.


Links to Keen’s personal advisers will be integrated throughout the MSN
network, including MSN Search, MSN Communities and MSN Chat.


MSN users who need advice on anything from child care options to tax advice
will be able to follow a Keen topic link to connect with a KeenSpeaker for a
live telephone conversation. Keen is also a part of the Microsoft Office
Tools on the Web site, so users can connect with a Microsoft Certified
Engineer for technical support by clicking on the Tools on the Web link in an
Office document and following the links to Keen advisers.


“MSN is committed to bringing superior content complemented by easy-to-use
technology to millions of users … and Keen’s vision is in line with reaching
those goals,” said Jed Savage, director of national sales for MSN at
Microsoft


Through keen.com and 800-ASK-KEEN, consumers can browse a directory of
KeenSpeakers (those who sell their advice on Keen) and connect for a live
phone call.


Keen says that because it makes the connection, consumers get the advice
they’re looking for without revealing phone numbers or other personal
information. People who wish to sell their advice can join Keen’s community
of speakers free by creating a listing that describes the information and
advice they wish to provide.


Launched in November 1999, Keen’s investors include Amerindo Investment
Advisors, Attractor Investment Management, Benchmark Capital, CNET, Deutsche
Banc Alex. Brown, eBay, Impact Venture Partners, Inktomi, Innovation
Investments, Integral Capital, Merrill Lynch, Microsoft, Pivotal Asset
Management, Pyramid Technology Ventures and Vulcan Ventures.

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