WASHINGTON: Software titan Microsoft has inked a deal with US social networking site Facebook as its exclusive seller and provider of banner advertising and sponsored links.

The site, aimed mainly at college students but which also allows access to recent graduates, high school students and employees of certain companies, enables users to set up pages about themselves, post pictures and create discussions. Its youthful demographic is very attractive to advertisers.

The three year deal - the value of which has not been revealed - is a small consolation for Microsoft's disappointment at losing out to Google in the $900 million (€702m; £475.5m) tie-up with News Corporation's MySpace [WAMN: 09-Aug-06].

Comments media market researcher Phil Leigh: "Facebook is also a legitimate test bed, a place where Microsoft can test new technology in a commercial context. Whatever technology they develop and use effectively in Facebook, they'll be able to use it elsewhere."

Data sourced from New York Times; additional content by WARC staff