MSN Featured Site
The definition of Featured Sites can be different for each search engine. This can vary from where they are always advertisements to where they can include results based on an editorial review process.
In the case of MSN, they are sites that MSN editors choose to "Feature" for given keywords. These are not paid advertisements (at least not always), but MSN clearly gives some preference to Web sites who advertise with them, or to properties owned by MSN, in respect to the featured listings. However, there's also a number of featured listings (depending on the keywords you use) that are simply sites that MSN views as a quality site, or important in the keyword category.
In this respect, you can influence your rankings in the featured area of MSN by getting it reviewed for inclusion like a directory engine. One tip to get included in the featured area would be to build link popularity for your Web site making it more likely for MSN to find or recognize your site as important. In addition, consider doing some advertising on MSN or even LookSmart (an MSN partner) to get on their radar.
Once you start some advertising, e-mail MSN about having your site reviewed by an MSN editor for inclusion as a featured site. There's no formal process for this that we're aware of, but it would be worth some time to try to get recognized. If applicable, mention how your site is of high quality, very applicable to certain keywords, popular, and that you advertise with MSN or LookSmart. A good point of contact would be to e-mail your advertising contact and ask to be reviewed as a featured site.