A number of high-profile players in the travel industry have privately voiced concerns that the new service, which is being touted in some quarters as a major challenger to the dominance of Google, could lose even more ground if it fails to launch this year.
Microsoft is still tight-lipped as to the launch date for the UK version of AdCenter, which will target users based on their demographic – a first for a search engine. Microsoft may unveil a Beta version for the UK prior to a full launch, a spokesperson said, despite the success of tests in France, Singapore and the US.
Mike Teasdale, partner at online marketing agency Harvest Digital, said: “The search engines need to keep delivering in order to retain their user base. This makes Google vulnerable to new products from rivals, such as MSN’s eagerly anticipated launch this year.
“This is especially important as our recent survey shows a quarter of users think they can’t find what they are looking for because advertisers are paying to come top on search engines.”
Harvest recently unveiled a study of consumer behaviour with search engines that revealed over half of Internet users regularly used two or three different engines when looking for products.