Microsoft and localized media delivery based upon site location

One approach to providing advertisements on a website is to try to gauge the subject matter of a page, and provide advertising related to that content. But many advertisers are interested in delivering advertising that will go to an audience in a certain area or region.

Ads based upon content can be targeted to specific geographical locations by looking at the IP address of a visitor, though that approach often results in serving the visitor with advertisements based upon the location of the owner of the IP address. One problem with doing that would be when a visitor uses a large ISP located a distance away from where he or she is viewing a site from.

An alternative would be to attempt to collect some geographical location information from the visitor, relying upon a user of a personalized web service to supply that information, such as a phone number, or zip code, or something else that can tell where they are at. But people don’t always provide that type of information, or may supply it to get something like information about local weather and then move and not change the information that they supplied.

A different way of delivering ads based upon location would be to attempt to understand the location of the site, if it has one associated with it, and serve yellow pages styled ads on that page. A patent application assigned to Microsoft, and released this week explores ways to display ads related to what it believes is the location of a site.

System and method for automatic presentation of locality-based content on network site

The inventor listed is Microsoft data mining analyst Li Li, and it was filed on September 23, 2004 and published March 23, 2006.


A system and related techniques automatically parse Web and other network sites, to determine whether the site contains content directed to local content or interests.

The invention may then access a content database to retrieve ads or other media or content which match or correspond to the detected locality or region, such as ads for local or regional restaurants, car dealerships, physicians, sports or other services or products.

The locality or region may be identified, for instance, by the presence of geographic clues or indicators in the general content of the Web site, for instance, the presence of ZIP codes, telephone numbers, town names or other semantic or other indicators which have some geographic connotation.

Because the delivery of localized content according to the invention depends not on user input but on an examination of Web sites for these types of indicators, which examination may be performed by programmed agents, localized ads or other content may be automatically generated and delivered without user input or tracking.

According to the invention in one regard, the user may therefore view ads and other content which may be akin to an online “yellow pages” experience, in which advertisements and other content are automatically grouped according to region or area.

The type of information that may be looked for upon a site would include such things as:

Postal ZIP codes,
Telephone numbers,
Town or state names,
Call out signs for radio or television stations, or
Other geographic indicators.

This type of information would be collected by program rather than manually, and the information would be collected in a content server, so that it could be matched with advertisements or other content, and those could be served to the visitor of a site.

Examples of some of the types of ads and content that may be served are described in the document, and these may include listings of local television and radio programming, and ads or promotions for groceries, restaurants, florists, car dealerships, real estate services, and more.

The location of a site may also be determined using other techniques, and could include a look at the behavior of users, such as the “clicking of business name, telephone number or other links.”