MSN UK Prefills Search Box With Advertisement

SEO Home reports that the MSN UK home page currently has the search box prefilled with the query “The Apprentice BBC,” effectively making it into an ad. Here’s a screenshot:

MSN UK Prefill Search Box Ad

Clicking “Search” takes you to the search results for The Apprentice BBC. The first result I see is at with information about the show provided by the BBC.

I wonder how much that cost? :-)

Postscript From Danny: I’m trying to get comments and more details from both the BBC and Microsoft about this unprecedented deal.

Postscript from Barry: It appears MSN UK is now testing several keyword phrases in the search box. At this time I see “Cricket World Cup” but earlier I saw “Euro 2008 results.” Here are more screen captures:


Euro 2008 Results Search Ad

This may not be an advertisement.

Related Topics: Channel: SEM | Microsoft: Bing Ads | Microsoft: General | Microsoft: Partnerships | Search Ads: General


About The Author: is Search Engine Land's News Editor and owns RustyBrick, a NY based web consulting firm. He also runs Search Engine Roundtable, a popular search blog on very advanced SEM topics. Barry's personal blog is named Cartoon Barry and he can be followed on Twitter here. For more background information on Barry, see his full bio over here.

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  • f-lops-y

    Wow! Nice catch! Please can you let us know what youfind out, and I’ll do some digging too.

  • f-lops-y

    first feedback:

    Yahoo! says:

    “We do not currently have plans to populate the search box as you describe below. Nonetheless, we can keep you apprised of future product development initiatives as appropriate. ”

  • f-lops-y

    not sure what it is – and a Google rep says that they are ‘very protective’ of their search bar over there, and that they have no plans to pre-populate either… so what’s up with MSN?

  • Michael Goc

    This has become popular in Poland. The 3 major portals (including one that uses Google for search results) are prefilling their search boxes almost daily. Please feel free to contact me if you’d like more details.

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