Update, September 1: Microsoft responded. More here.
Draft! Work in progress! Feedback welcome!
Yeah really. Microsoft’s new search engine Bing getting a lot of attention and (at least according to some reports) a higher click-through rate than Google. Bing’s home page is inviting in a very different way than Google’s, and with Microsoft’s likely acquisition of Yahoo! Search they’re in a solid position as #2 with significant growth potential. So there are starting to be a lot more situations where it makes sense to advertise there. Including for non-profits, which is why it’s disappointing that Microsoft doesn’t have a program like Google Grants offering in-kind donations of free advertising. Microsoft’s still trying to shed its evil empire reputation; you’d think that at least want to match their “Don’t be evil” competitor. And given the peculiar positive-sum dynamics of the search and advertising market, a similar program wouldn’t cost Microsoft very much at all* when compared to the $100 million they’ve spent advertising the Bing launch. If anybody has information about how much Grants costs Google, please share it! Ah well. They’ve got a lot on their plate. Most likely this just hasn’t made it to the top of their priority list … Yet. After some discussion on the Progressive Exchange mailing list, @grassroots_org started up an act.ly petition to @bing to “Create grants for nonprofit advertising on their site.” act.ly’s a relatively-new Twitter activism tool from Jim Gilliam that’s great for stuff like this: you can sign the petition just by retweeting, and the recipient of the petition has a place to respond. The women in technology community has used act.ly very effectively to spark dialog with organizers of nearly-all-male conferences. I’m not sure if anybody’s applied it to corporate activism yet, but hey, there’s a first time for everything! So, check it out, at http://act.ly/fz. Or if you’re on Twitter, just tweet the following**
petition @bing to create grants for nonprofit advertising on their site http://act.ly/fz || RT to sign #nptech @adccenterblog
Thanks! jon * the loss of some advertising revenue countered by increased volume in the market [which pushes up prices in general] and a bunch of people kicking the tires on Bing, some of which converts to repeat users. ** For those who don’t speak Twitter, this tells Bing that I’m petitioning them, adds me to the list on act.ly, and let my followers and anybody following the #nptech hashtag know that they can sign the petition by retweeting (RT). Oh, and it CC’s Microsoft’s Ad Center Blog, who answered my question about whether or not Microsoft had an existing program like this. It’s amazing what you can pack into 140 characters!