Microsoft launching new service for merchants named Agora

Agora is the Greek for “open market” or “market place” and it is also now a new service for merchants on Windows Live.
The Agora service allows online merchants to upload their catalog and product descriptions through the fairly new live search index. Products are then listed on the live product search result pages.

If you are an internet retailer, no need to hurry for now unless you pre-registered with Windows live – access is currently restricted to members only.
Most e-tailers have experienced difficulties when it comes to optimizing their inventory listings for a maximum visibility on the major search engine result pages. The fact is that a large number of searchers look for product information, reviews and prices using internet search before making a decision to buy or even visiting a brick and mortar store.
When Google launched Google Base, last year, their idea was to provide accurate information about products, services and prices by giving the opportunity to business to upload their information themselves. The new Microsoft Agora service provides a very comparable offer.

Needless to say, both Google base and the Live product search are a new opportunity for all internet retailers. By optimizing their product feeds they will gather direct traffic towards deep pages on their web sites and furthermore match internet search patterns.
Internet searchers rely more and more on search engines to provide them with direct access to product information and prices, instead of browsing brand name websites.

A user centric type of service such as Agora / Live product search represents a new opportunity for both merchants and retailers. It will also significantly reduce the amount of traffic gathered by shopping comparison engines. If users find the accurate information they need directly where they perform queries most of the time, they won’t need shopping comparison engines anymore. Marketers will also have to rethink their strategy when it comes to budgeting their product feed uploads.
Microsoft did not disclose yet when the Agora service will be available to a larger public.

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