MSN’s adCenter Arrogance

March 8, 2006

Topics: Usability.

Microsoft has a justified reputation for arrogance. Not only do they produce the buggiest browser on the market, they believe that nobody should use anything else. Seriously, folks – I understand that Microsoft networks are likely to encourage people to use their own products. That’s totally reasonable. However, the logical train of thought would be to offer extra functionality for the favored browser – not eliminate access for alternate browsers.

In this day and age, the web designers mantra should be about accessibility. In my other blog, I’ve recently posted about design for the deaf, accessibility for the learning disabled, and designing for mobile devices. I considered design for alternate browsers, such as Mozilla Firefox or Opera to be so fundamental that it’s incorporated into my core design philosophy. Yet Microsoft considers that 10% of the marketplace to be so insignificant that they will not even allow them to sign up for the system. In fact, that 10% may not even function with the system! Your ads may never be seen by individuals using alternate browsers.

And to add insult to injury, MSN’s official solution was to advise customer service reps and customers to switch to IE6, posts Danny Sullivan, at Search Engine Watch. It’s well worth noting that, according to Tyson Kirksey, IE7 doesn’t function with adCenter either. So, clearly, if you’ve committed the sin of wanting to test IE7, you’ll need to revert to IE6 to use this Microsoft product.

It’s a well known opinion that the majority of tech professionals are inclined to use alternate browsers. Thus, it should have occurred to Microsoft that their disinclination to support these browsers could have a rapid backlash in the tech community. When so many people in the higher-regions of SEO industry discussion immediately notice these problems, the word that gets out is not good.

I think that my opinions are apparent in this article – but Microsoft probably won’t notice.

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