Bell Canada and Microsoft Canada are changing the partnership that led to what was one of the country’s most visited websites.
Starting today, the site formerly known as sympatico. msn.ca – jointly operated by the world’s largest software company and the giant phone company – is no more.
Instead, both companies have launched their own individually branded portal sites: sympatico.ca and msn.ca
Both companies say they are enhancing and improving their respective sites, with added social networking features, new content and interactivity. The idea is to both attract and retain site visitors, as well as to identify and sign new advertising and sponsorship partners.
However, under terms of their new agreement, the companies will continue to cooperate and exchange traffic between each other’s portals for three years.
Sympatico.ca will also use Microsoft’s new Bing search engine and continue to offer Windows Live Hotmail and Messenger inventory to Canadian advertisers. Traffic to the default homepage address sympatico.msn.ca will also be redirected to Sympatico.ca.
In creating MSN.ca, editorial, product management and development teams working in Canada and around the world for the past 10 months logged more than 20,000 hours to provide a truly unique MSN experience, site developers describe.
“Microsoft is focused on delivering the best consumer experiences and innovations across the PC, online and mobile. Microsoft’s goal for MSN.ca is to give Canadians the best online and mobile destination in the world,” said Owen Sagness, vice-president and general manager, Consumer and Online, Microsoft Canada, in a release.
The new MSN.ca offers a content channels from companies like MSNBC, BBC, Delish, CBC/ Radio-Canada, and Chatelaine. It has exclusive content from columnists and industry experts, new and improved local and regional news, MSN guides, blogs, previews and reviews, photo galleries, streaming music, video, and more.
Twitter and Facebook hooks have been added, so followers can stay connected on the go at msnmobile.ca and at the social networking sites.
MSN.ca says its improved personalization features include a unique Windows Live, ‘signed-in’ experience that allows users to send and receive e-mail, instant message and participate in MSN channel blogs using Windows Live, Hotmail, Windows Live Messenger and Bing embedded directly into the MSN.ca homepage.
Bell, too, says it has added enhancements to its Sympatico.ca portal, and four new channels to help inform and entertain Sympatico.ca visitors.
“Over the last 14 years, Sympatico.ca has been Canada’s leading portal. Bell is a pioneer in the industry and we have continued to build on the Sympatico portal’s popularity as we evolve to meet our clients’ needs,” said Kevin Crull, President of Bell Residential Services. “In our five successful years managing and operating the joint sympatico.msn.ca portal, Bell has seen the Internet advertising industry evolve significantly. It’s clear that creating two distinct portals now allows market expansion by both partners in terms of new online advertising and revenue opportunities.”
Sympatico.ca has celebrity news destinations like Celebedge.ca; fashion site Fashionism.ca; InMusic.ca, the popular interview show The Hook and the Live @ The Orange Lounge concert series; tech-centric blog Sync.ca; and Push.ca, a busy destination for snowboard and skateboard enthusiasts.
In addition, Bell launched four new portal channels: Autos, InMovies.ca, YourMoney.ca and Best Health, a Reader’s Digest publication.
All Sympatico.ca employees remain in place and will continue to deliver industry-leading strategy, sales, content and advertising support, the company noted. The site first launched in 1995.