Microsoft is already experimenting with advertising in the Bing chatbot

In a recent Microsoft blog post, it was confirmed that it is experimenting with placing ads in the responses of its Bing chatbot, which is powered by OpenAI’s GPT-4. Although these sponsored answers are clearly marked, it raises questions about the evolution of search engine advertising, reports TechCrunch.

In addition to this, Microsoft is also exploring additional opportunities for publishers, including its 7,500 Microsoft Start partner brands. Some of the early ideas the company is exploring include displaying links when hovering over a reply from a publisher so it can drive more traffic.

For Microsoft Start partners, the company is also testing chat advertising to share ad revenue with partners whose content drives chat responses.

The ad has been reported anecdotally for several weeks, but users recently started seeing it in Bing chat.

For now, these are test ads that not all users see. However, it is clear that in the near future Microsoft will still start monetizing its chatbot. For now, it is expected that such ads will be better integrated and will not look like sponsored answers. At least if a person is looking for a certain product, they are unlikely to be against knowing its price from a particular seller.

A bigger side effect of this is that such ads cannot be blocked with modern tools. It’s unlikely to make sense to cut out the part of a chatbot’s responses that contain ads to lose context.

In any case, Microsoft needs to move very carefully to avoid getting into a situation where the chatbot’s promotional responses will outweigh the relevant responses. After all, this can undermine the trust of users, who primarily expect to receive accurate and verified information.