Microsoft is taking solid aim at Google’s advertising business with a new technology called "conversion attribution," which will track the trail of online ads seen by users. According to the software maker, Google undeservedly gets all the credit for many clicks on the ads it delivers via its search engine, arguing that many times users will see a display ad elsewhere and go to Google, search for the vendor’s name, and then click on the text ad served by Google.

Tracking is important, because the site credited for prompting a user’s visit is the one that gets paid for it. With search advertising accounting for about 40 percent of total ad spend and Google’s dominance in the market, it should come as no surprise to read about Google’s swelling profits. But Microsoft is definitely trying to put a stop to that by changing the way effectiveness of internet advertising is measured.

With the increased spending in display and rich media advertising, Microsoft says pay-per-click text ads are becoming less effective. Using technology from aQuantive, the advertising company Microsoft recently acquired for $6 billion, the company will be able to provide advertisers with a log of all the places where people see ads, giving more publishers credit for sending people to advertisers’ websites and devaluing search advertising.