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.

42 thoughts on “Yahoo's Contextual Ads in the Wild

  1. And along with the hopes of higher revenue sharing, I’d like to add that I’m hoping this competition will bring communication about percentages of revenues being shared.

  2. Yoki: The Citysearch ads, and other Content Match ads, are served from cmhtml.overture.com. These new ads, located at ypn.overture.com, are definitely something new. I can say with 100% certainty that it’s not just Content Match, even if the end result displays similarly.

  3. Andy: good point, well made; I’ve updated my post accordingly. However, I don’t think the technology is new. I do wonder why Yahoo/Overture have left it so long before opening this up to all publishers.

  4. It will be very nice if Yahoo will provide more accurate stats than current Overture Keyword Selector tool. But it sounds too good to be truth, no?

  5. Well, the ads appear to have good context from here. I mnean, really, have you seen what’s advertised to the right of this page? 🙂

  6. Yahoo’s network will undoubtedly rise to the number two position if/when it’s released for small publishers. I agree that things will improve for publishers, but will this spread ad buyers money to thin and lower costs?

  7. Good for advertisers – bad for publishers. By decreasing the depth of the advertiser pool (effectively splitting it while opening new venues) text ad prices will drop in the short run.

  8. This is great news for webmasters who use Adsense. A little competition will be GOOD. There’s a discussion which stemmed from this blog (the link was taken down by a MOD, something about no links to blogs) at webmasterworld. Here’s the link.

  9. Finally a long needed alternative. Google arrogance and greed is unspeakable. Who said “Make no evil”???

    Now they have to change their bad attitude and start thinking for publishers who make their money, not just for themselves. Hope the Overture service would be available very soon and will serve very relevant contextual ads.

  10. Google just closed my AdSense account. My router is unsecured network with the name of my site .com so I can “advertise” with the residents of my building.

    I guess they detected that I login to my account from the same IP people used to connect to the Internet and click on the AdSense words.

    On top of that, s.o. clicked 600 times on the ads which is what I think really did it for my account.

    I have no hope they will reinstate my account. Reading blogs, it seems that Google are indeed ARROGANT.

    For my case, how simple would it be for them not to pay for clicks made from an IP address used to login to an account with them? Pretty simple, eh?

    Also, why simply not count the clicks made in exsess from that one IP that clicked 600 times? I know they did not count them as the balance that days was $8.

    The way they declare a publisher fraud and just cut off their account is the unreal…

    Cheers,

    P.

  11. While I don’t consider their actions unreasonable, it’s disturbing how effective it would be to get your competitors’ accounts shut down by faking fraudulent activity.

  12. Overture’s now called Yahoo. They’re re-branding all of current services under Overture to “Yahoo Search Marketing Solutions” so it’s good not to see them as separate entities.

    Also, although AdSense tends to have higher clickthrough rates, Yahoo’s content matching does have better reporting capabalities. Gotta give it to them for being ahead of the competition on that point.

    I guess my confusion with this post is the big differentiation being made between content matching and contextual advertising? Yahoo’s content matching IS contextual; it’s keyword driven as well as content driven (text relevant to the original search term is found in the text).

  13. Christoph, I had problem with google adsense too ….for few days someone used bot and clicked many times on my ads and they closed my account with reason “bad clicks” I asked for report but the answer was “in trying to protect our advertisers we can’t share such details to our publishers….”

    And from that day I can’t apply for google adsense never more … and this only because someone made that against me 🙁 I tried to apply with another sites for google adsense program but no result … when someone go in the blacklist can’t apply more …..

    I hope yahoo will be good for publishers ….

  14. I tried AdWords a few months before but in my report was displayed a few clicks but no money :o) Has anyone this experience?

  15. Hey there,

    Nice scoop. I’ve been hoping that Yahoo will come up with something of this sort for quite some time now. Google does need some good competition, and fast, to make things more exciting in this arena and to let us publishers have some good options as well.

  16. Having 3 major ‘players’ in this arena would be a grand thing for online publishers. Here’s hoping Yahoo! and MSN can get their products released sooner, rather than later. 🙂

  17. Google cancelled our AdSense account as well. Bogus if you ask me. What is to stop a competitor from clicking like mad on your site and getting your account canned! Any update as to when Yahoo will be coming out?

  18. Adsense has gone into the shitter over the past year. With all other variables remaining the same basically, our per-click revenue has gone from a $1 on average to less than a dime. Indeed many times I’ll see stats like: 3 clicks, $.09 total revenue.

    It’s not even worth the bother running adsense anymore. We are looking at alternatives.

  19. My google adsense disabled, now a bidvertiser.. i hate it, not calculating clicks… i hope for yahoo…

    Does anyone knows about msn ads ???

  20. It is going to be good to see. With MSN also coming out with their vesion, the competition should be better for all of us!

  21. Google, the self appointed Internet information disseminator and filterer adds a new benchmark to its greedy business model. Google keeps yelling about giving their advertisers and ofcourse “themselves” the ultimate selling experience at the cost of publishers. However, they have now gone a step further in making their “search user” a victim of their advertising greed.

    The new light background color of the Google ads which have replaced the green background ads are now making unsuspecting users click on them thinking they are top results produced by the “Saintly Google”. Nice ! Have a look at the faint color on the top right corner mentioning the “sponsored ads”. Wow… while publishers now have to sport the huge “Ads by Google” logo on their sites, the common user doesn’t see Google proclaim the same in large bold text. Why? Simply because the Big G wants to make the most of their own direct revenue at the users cost.

    So now, the common user who made Google popular is being used as a pawn to increase advertising revenue. Even the top 10 results for a keyword like “mortgage” are actually high paying Google adwords advertiser. Sweet!

    This, in my opinion is the biggest click fraud by Google. Google is making a fool out of both publishers and users.

    Why should users be subject to ads with the light background? Why has the green background color been replaced? Its time to stop the masquerade.

    Eagerly awaiting YPN.

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