ATLANTA, Oct. 21, 1998 — Microsoft Corp. today launched the expanded version of MSN® Sidewalk® , an online guide designed to help consumers make better decisions about how to spend their time and money. Consumers can now get information, expert advice and buying tips on a broad range of products and services, whether they are planning to buy a new camcorder or a set of golf clubs, or hoping to find a nearby pediatrician or plumber who works on Sundays.
Previously available in nine U.S. cities and Sydney, Australia, MSN Sidewalk ( http://sidewalk.com/ ) has been integrated into the MSN network of Internet services ( http://www.MSN.com/ ), which makes it easier for consumers to keep in touch, stay informed and get more done every day.
The expanded version of MSN Sidewalk will address one of the most underserved needs on the Web today. A recent Microsoft study indicates that 74 percent of online consumers use the Internet to research products and services.
“But, let’s face it, researching a spending decision on the Web can be frustrating and time-consuming and often involves visits to too many sites,”
said Matt Kursh, business manager for MSN Sidewalk.
“By combining editorial insight and reviews with innovative technology tools, MSN Sidewalk makes it easy for consumers to make great decisions in one place online.”
The New Sidewalk
The expanded site provides a one-stop solution for people who have questions about which products and services are right for them and where to find them locally. MSN Sidewalk combines expert editorial content from its own teams across the country as well as from leading category experts, including Consumers Digest, Consumer Guide, Zagat’s Guides, ZDNet and Times Mirror Magazines.
The expanded site includes four main areas:
Buyer’s Guides. Designed to help consumers zero in on the information they want on what to buy, whom to hire or what to do. Buyer’s Guides offer detailed, helpful information and advice on a wide variety of products and services:
Home electronics. Camcorders, CD players, televisions, stereos and more
Home appliances and home maintenance. Dishwashers, ovens, clothes dryers, contractors and more
Recreation equipment. Skis, ski boots, snowboards and more
Professional services. Attorneys, plumbers, doctors and more
Gift ideas. For brides, cooks, new home owners and everyone else on a user’s shopping list
Travel, auto, real estate and personal finance information from the MSN Expedia
travel service, the MSN CarPoint
online automotive service, the MSN HomeAdvisor
online real estate service and MSN MoneyCentral
Entertainment Guide. Features up-to-date information on movies, restaurants, music and other local events to help consumers nationwide make decisions about what to do in their limited free time.
Yellow Pages. A comprehensive national business directory that includes phone numbers, addresses and quick facts to help consumers search for businesses and services in their area. MSN Sidewalk lets users search for services nearby their home or work and print out a map to help get them there. It also provides more detailed information on thousands of local businesses to help consumers search for specific information on store hours, brands, parking and delivery. MSN Sidewalk will include comprehensive information on local businesses as well as a directory of online retailers.
Your Favorites. Acts as a personal notebook where users can save useful pages, business listings or search results for businesses, products and services. On any page, users can click on the Add to My Favorites icon, and a link to that page will be added to Your Favorites.
Targeted Advertiser Opportunities
The expanded geographic coverage and the addition of Buyer’s Guides to MSN Sidewalk make it even easier for local, regional and national businesses to target consumers when they are making decisions about how to spend their time and money. According to Peter Atkins, general manager for advertising sales at MSN Sidewalk, businesses will be able to market to relevant consumers in the geographic areas they serve – whether that is one, many or even all U.S. cities. In addition, these businesses will now be able to use MSN Sidewalk to target consumers looking to purchase specific products and services.
“For example, businesses can choose from advertising specifically in the electronics section of the Buyer’s Guide if they sell televisions, or the sports and recreation area if they sell skis or golf clubs,”
“If they want to promote a new restaurant or a new menu, they can advertise in the restaurant section of the Entertainment Guide. With our help, businesses can even create customized Web sites that will provide consumers with more detailed information on their business, such as store hours, upcoming sales or unique services they may offer.”
Atkins added that MSN Sidewalk has sold more than $26 million in advertising to date.
“Response has been great. We’re likely to run out of some types of advertising inventory very soon.”
Advertisers include brand-name marketers such as Alamo Rent-A-Car Inc., Albertson’s Inc., AllApartments, barnesandnoble.com, Bloomingdale’s, Continental Airlines Inc., cybermeals, Eddie Bauer, MetLife, Northwest Airlines Inc., Prudential Real Estate, Rite Aid and Visa U.S.A., as well as more than 6,000 local businesses.
MSN Sidewalk is free on the World Wide Web (connect-time charges may apply) at http://sidewalk.com/ and is a featured offering on The Microsoft Network at http://www.MSN.com/ . MSN is the network of Internet products and services from Microsoft that helps people tailor the Web to what’s important to them. MSN offers award-winning e-mail functionality; personal communications services; customizable access to news; popular sites for travel, investing, automotive services, shopping and more; an online community; a Web search engine and directories; and top-rated Internet access. MSN Sidewalk has been integrated into the MSN Network of Internet services, which makes it easier for consumers to keep in touch, stay informed and get more done.
Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq
) is the worldwide leader in software for personal computers. The company offers a wide range of products and services for business and personal use, each designed with the mission of making it easier and more enjoyable for people to take advantage of the full power of personal computing every day.
Microsoft, MSN, Sidewalk, Expedia, CarPoint and HomeAdvisor are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries.
Other product and company names herein may be trademarks of their respective owners.
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