Yahoo's Contextual Ads in the Wild

So, I think I have a scoop. I’ve discovered that Yahoo is very quietly testing their new contextual advertising program for blogs and other small publishers, a la Google Adsense.

Ken Rudman is a product manager at Yahoo-owned Overture, and his blog features contextual Overture ads throughout. His homepage shows the vertical two-ad format, monthly archives show a three-ad horizontal format, and individual entries show another variation of the horizontal format. The ads have decent relevancy, especially considering its early state.

The Javascript that generates the ad IFrame is hosted on Overture’s server. The domain name refers to “ypn,” which might be an acronym for the ad program… Yahoo Publishing Network, maybe?

I haven’t spoken to Ken yet, but I’m assuming that only Yahoo employees are able to test the ads for now. If you find any other sites testing them, please let me know.

Update: As Phil points out, some of the ads aren’t very relevant.

March 8, 2005: The program will be called the Yahoo! Publisher Network. I was close! Silicon Valley Watcher independently confirms that YPN is Yahoo’s response to Google Adsense. No word on the launch date yet, but the markets have responded positively to the Yahoo rumors.

Here’s another Yahoo employee blog with the same YPN ads (thanks, Rick). Oh, and anyone want to bet that their new “publishing tools” refers to a free hosted blog service that ties into their contextual ads? Brace yourselves, Blogger.

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