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Thursday, July 13, 2006

Most Widely Traded 48 Hour Clock:Yahoo/MSN Instant Message Deal

Stocks: (TWX)(YHOO)(MSFT)

24/7 Wall St. has begun coverage of the 36 most widely traded stocks, eighteen each from the NYSE and the NASDAQ. Most of these stocks trade over 50 million shares a week. This new feature will highlight each of the 36 stocks at least every 48 hours giving investors fresh infomation and perspective on the companies whose shares are most likely to move the broader markets.

Yahoo! and MSN have announced that their instant messaging units will now interoperate, creating a base of 350 million users between the two services.

As instant messaging platforms become a platform for online advertising, this large pool of users gives Yahoo! and Microsoft an edge in competing with AOL's instant messaging product for advertising eyeballs. The deal is another challenge for AOL which is already trying to retool its products to drive more advertising revenue.

According to a Reuters report, NetRating says that AOL's product had 47.2 million users in the US during June. MSN had 28 million and Yahoo! Instant Messenger has 22.5 million. The AOL offering clearly has a larger reach for online advertisers. That changes as the Yahoo! and Microsoft offering work together. Their unduplicated audience is 43.5 million.

One of the attractions of AOL's product for consumers is that it has the largest number of users. Having the AOL product on a computer meant access to more instant messaging "buddies" that the Yahoo! or MSN offering. But, now that is changing, so in addition to the advertising balance shifting away from AOL, the user interest may be as well.

Douglas A. McIntyre can be reached at He does not own securities in companies he writes about.

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