Microsoft improves MSN Spaces blogging service

The MSN Spaces blogging service has a retooled search feature and now offers users options for making money from their blogs.

Microsoft has sharpened its free MSN Spaces blogging service with tune-ups for its search feature and new options for generating revenue through partnerships with Amazon.com and Kanoodle.com.

To improve searching on MSN Spaces, Microsoft loaded new code on the service's back end last week, and users should begin to see increasingly better results in the coming days and weeks, as the souped-up system crawls the blogs.

Before last week's retooling, the MSN Spaces search feature often delivered "unsatisfying" results and sometimes worked in "complicated" and "mysterious" way, according to a posting on Thursday on the service's official blog (http://spaces.msn.com/thespacecraft/blog/cns!8AA773FE0A12B9E3!3889.entry).

Meanwhile, MSN Spaces users now can earn money from their blogs by becoming Amazon.com associates, and also by running ads distributed by Kanoodle.com.

In the case of Amazon.com, users would choose which books to feature on their blog's book list section. They would get paid anytime one of their blog visitors clicks on one of the featured books and purchases it from Amazon.com, according to another posting on Thursday on the official MSN Spaces blog (http://spaces.msn.com/thespacecraft/blog/cns!8AA773FE0A12B9E3!3890.entry). This program is available to bloggers in the U.S., U.K., Canada, Germany, France and Japan.

For the Kanoodle.com program, MSN Spaces users need to sign up to have the ads displayed on their blogs. The ads will be contextually related to the blog's content, and MSN Spaces users will get paid every time a visitor clicks on an ad, Kanoodle.com announced Monday. This program is available to MSN Spaces users in the U.S. and Canada and only if their blogs are in English, according to the MSN Spaces team official blog.

Other MSN Spaces enhancements announced last week:

-- Users can now post entries to their blogs from three different e-mail addresses, as opposed to only one.

-- The 30M-byte ceiling on photos has been lifted and users are now allowed to upload up to 500 photos per month with no storage space limit.

-- The blogs' navigation structure has been improved to make it easier for visitors to explore the content.

-- Blog entries can now be listed by title, instead of their publishing date, a convenient feature for users whose postings are infrequent but sophisticated.

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Juan Carlos Perez

IDG News Service
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