The WorkHappy One Month Challenge

December 12, 2006

Here's the deal: Microsoft adCenter is MSN's answer to AdWords and works essentially the same way. It's Microsoft's pay per click offering. You bid on keywords, adCenter charges you when people click your ad.

Microsoft_adcenter It's new, and Microsoft is trying to promote it. So much in fact, that they're giving away $200 in free advertising.

So here's the challenge:

If you're anything like me, you've got plans for world domination brewing. But no one ever conquered the world by brewing. So the challenge is to get off your backside and get your latest venture launched before January 15th (that's when the free advertising offer ends). Maybe not completely, maybe not perfect, but out there. And you've got $200 of Microsoft's money to build your initial audience.

Here's how we'll do it:

Greenlight Decide now what you're going to launch. Hopefully it's that venture you promised yourself in January that you would finish this year. At the very least, get a promo page up (a sneak peek?) and start collecting email addresses of people to be notified when you launch the full dealio. If you need some accountability, post your name and commitment in the comments here and we'll follow up with you on the 15th. On January 15th I'll make another post where you'll be invited to share your story with everyone else.

Aside from the free traffic, this will serve as a nice all-expense paid hands-on education lab on pay-per-click advertising. Don't pass this up.

For those of you already launched - congratulations! You make us look bad. Make sure you goose your traffic with the free ad money and come back on the 15th to share your experience as well.

Every great journey starts with a first step - make this yours. Go! 

A few "just so we're all clear" notes:

- You have to spend $5 to get the $200. That's the signup fee paid to adCenter.

- If you continue to use adCenter after you burn through your $200 - it will cost you real live money.

- If you don't take advantage of the offer before Jan 15th 2007, it'll be gone. You've got one month.

- You have to use up your $200 in the first 90 days or the balance is gone. So for you wimps, you can sign up by the 15th to get the deal, and then procrastinate using the money for 89 days and try to blow it all in one glorious last day of opportunity (note: this won't work).

- Some reports indicate that adCenter will bring you less traffic that AdWords, but the price is right for a trial. It will vary wildly, I'm sure, depending on your niche.

- This will work for any sort of business, not just a web application. Anything you'll promote through a website is a great candidate.

- This is, unfortunately, only available in the U.S.

- I've emailed Microsoft about this and it's (a) legit (b) open for us to use and (c) not going to go anywhere (until it expires). That said: here's the promo in case it does: "Sign up today and get up to $200 of free ad clicks. Just use promo code DM-2-1106 before 1/15/07."

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I think this is a great idea. Now I have to go think up something to launch.

Posted by: Jeff Adams | Dec 12, 2006 9:12:54 AM

Ads? What ads? Oh yeah, I have the Adblock extension for Firefox. I almost forgot what ad-laden browsing was like.

-he who stacks pork

Posted by: Leopold Porkstacker | Dec 12, 2006 9:55:11 AM

Thanks for the heads up. We're just about to launch a big update to our flagship product SnapLeague ( and this will be a great way to increase our exposure after the update launches (hopefully next weekend).

Posted by: John S. | Dec 12, 2006 10:29:37 AM

You didn't mention that this offer - which is, I agree, very appealing - is only available to "to residents in the 50 United States and Washington, D.C."

Posted by: SjH | Dec 12, 2006 10:37:09 AM

Ah, good catch SjH, I've updated the post.

Posted by: Carson McComas | Dec 12, 2006 10:55:52 AM

Sign me up. The Goddesses in Progress website will be at least preliminarily up in time to take advantage of this offer - and that's only about two months ahead of schedule. Suuuure. No prob.

Posted by: lakshmi | Dec 12, 2006 11:21:07 AM

The signup process was a complete nightmare and eventually ended in me cancelling. The offer doesn't seem to apply to Euro-peons like myself. Unfortunately they don't tell you until after you've submitted the first form a dozen times because Microsoft doesn't like your favorite pet's name.

I'm still in for the Jan 15 challenge, but I'm sticking with Google AdWords.

Posted by: Hendrik Mans | Dec 12, 2006 11:28:45 AM

Hi Hendrik, sounds good, you're in. Sorry about the nightmare signup experience and sorry for not clarifying that it's US only. (what a pain!)

Posted by: Carson McComas | Dec 12, 2006 11:30:24 AM

So what's the deal with "US only" requirement? Do I need a U.S. address, and if so, does anyone know if I could just enter P.O box / friends / random?

Posted by: Tony | Dec 12, 2006 12:45:57 PM

Oh that's a shame about US-only. I'm glad I didn't start filling out the forms already! I'm still in for getting something up for my new project,, before January 15th... even if it's just a splash and collector of interested parties' email addresses.

Posted by: Trevor | Dec 13, 2006 2:55:59 AM

Excellent Trevor - we'll check up on you.

Posted by: Carson McComas | Dec 13, 2006 7:28:26 AM

You didn't mention that this deal isn't available to us Mac users...

Posted by: Tiffany | Dec 13, 2006 6:04:37 PM

Sure it is Tiffany, it's all web based.

Posted by: Carson McComas | Dec 13, 2006 8:41:35 PM

It seems in the system requirements that Windows 98 is required... I'm a Mac guy.

Posted by: Mike | Dec 14, 2006 8:41:03 AM

Hi Mike - holy crap, sure enough. I just looked at the help files and it does specify Windows only. I called them to ask about this and the guy told me, without guarantee or promise, that he had a Mac user using FireFox who was able to get it to work, albeit with some "limited functionality" - whatever that means. It also sounds like they "SUPPORT" using Windows, but given that it's all web based, I'd say give it a try with a Mac. You might want to use FF on the Mac as it appears that Safari explicitly isn't supported. I guess it's still pretty new - but that's pretty disappointing. If any Mac users out there have an experience with this, let us know.

Posted by: Carson McComas | Dec 14, 2006 8:56:22 AM

The functionality of Microsoft's ad center on the Mac OS platform is extremely poor. I wouldn't reccomend this at all to Mac based businesses.

Posted by: Tim | Dec 16, 2006 7:23:33 PM

Wow... talk about some good timing. I'm about to launch a site on January 24th AND (after reading everyone's comments) I'm lucky enough to live in the U.S. while using Windows.

I'll sign up for an account tonight.

Thanks for the heads-up Carson.

Posted by: Kevin Finn | Dec 26, 2006 5:01:33 PM