Last year, some jaws were dropping over MSN inviting competitor Yahoo's CEO Terry Semel to speak to its major advertisers. Time for some more jaws to hit the floor. This year, Google CEO Eric Schmidt will be giving a talk.
Inviting Semel last year really wasn't that odd, given that Yahoo is also a major MSN partner, providing it with the bulk of its ads. Bringing in Schmidt? It certainly makes it seem like MSN's not playing favorites. Yahoo will also be back, in the form of Yahoo-owned Overture president Ted Meisel.
The event is the annual MSN Strategic Account Summit, running from March 15-17. Schmidt and Meisel are taking part on the second day. Didn't get an invite? Then you'd better spend a lot more money with MSN, because that's who this is for -- top advertisers spending the big bucks.
Search marketers, on offer will be the MSN Search Insights session, described as: "We will discuss case studies on the best use of search engine marketing and most recent updates on MSN Search."
I'd expect this mainly a look at how paid search works on MSN, through Overture purchases and its own programs. And perhaps this may be when some advertisers will learn of any expansions to that program, which have been rumored.