- Microsoft Sidewalk, the US online city guides venture, is preparing to launch a greatly expanded service later this year.
The expanded offering is scheduled to launch by the end of 1998 and will add consumer buying guides to the current arts and entertainment content. Advertisers and promotion partners are already signing up with the new service.
The added content will allow users to benefit from buying tips, product reviews and Yellow Pages-style listings to help them locate merchants in their area that sell specific goods or services.
Among the new advertisers is expected to be a large number of local companies but Microsoft has already signed up a raft of blue chip advertisers including Alamo Rent A Car, Albertson's.com, barnesandnoble.com, Bloomingdale's, Continental Airlines, Eddie Bauer, Merrill Lynch & Company, Northwest Airlines, Visa USA and Wells Fargo Bank.
The relationships will range from straight advertising to co-operative marketing programmes designed to drive online retail sales.
Microsoft Sidewalk is currently available in Seattle, New York, Boston, Houston, Denver, Minneapolis/St. Paul, San Francisco, San Diego, Washington, DC and Sydney, Australia. Sidewalk is scheduled to be available in the top 50 U.S. cities by the end of 1998.