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BizReport : Ecommerce archives : November 08, 2006

“Agora” Launched by Microsoft

Microsoft’s new “Agora” e-commerce service makes uploading product information a snap. It allows online merchants to upload product inventories using the Microsoft Live Search index and also lists products in search results.

by Kristina Knight

Accessing the service is limited for now. Only members who pre-register with Windows Live are allowed entry. Here is how the system works: merchants upload product images, descriptions and price points as well as store links. Once uploaded the products will also be available to the Microsoft beta shopping search engine through Live product searches.

Greg Sterling, principal of Sterling Marketing Intelligence said (via MediaPost), "This sort of product information in search results is very valuable--that's why everyone's making such a big push around it." He went on to say, "Its a threat to the shopping comparison engines, because search engines are used so much more frequently than those engines for product research. It simplifies the process for marketers--you just upload your products in one place."

The Microsoft offering is similar to Google Base, launched last year. Google Base listings are also incorporated into search engine results pages. E-tailers could see a big boost to revenue with these two listings services because many consumers use search engines to research products. These services would list the products, along with needed information and an easy link to a storefront.

Tags: e-commerce service, Google, Microsoft

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