Reports from all over are saying that Yahoo’s contextual advertising network, the Yahoo Publisher Network, is launching today. Meanwhile, MSN’s contextual program is coming as well.
This represents Yahoo’s competition to AdSense, and don’t be surprised if initial payouts are higher than Google’s to be very competitive. Yahoo would be wise to take a smaller cut than Google, because most publishers will be testing it out on the only criteria that matters: Money earned from Yahoo versus money earned yesterday from Google.
Yahoo Wednesday will expand the number of sites on which it will place ads through a service called the Yahoo Publisher Network. Meanwhile, Microsoft next week will announce plans to begin U.S. testing of MSN Keywords, its own system for placing ads on its MSN Internet search site. The system, which Microsoft began testing last month in France and Singapore, will debut in the U.S. in test form in October, according to Joe Doran, senior director, MSN.
Yahoo declines to specify revenue from its current ad brokering, which extends to about 160 Web publishers in the U.S., or commissions it pays for those ads. David Zito, head of engineering for the new initiative, says Yahoo hopes eventually to provide content to partner sites, in addition to ads.
Laying the groundwork in this area earlier this year, Yahoo released Y!Q, code that analyzes the text of a Web page and shows search results based on its content. Publishers can add the code to their Web pages to automatically generate a list of related links.
Yahoo’s new service will differ from Google in that it will add human editorial judgment to the selection of ads for content pages. In comparison, Google’s service relies on technology.
Yahoo will invite 2,000 sites to take part in the test, beginning today, and will open the system to blogs and other publishers by the end of the year.
Yahoo appears to be focusing on a weakness in Google’s offering for small publishers, said John Battelle, a blogger and author of “The Search,” a book on Google and its rivals to be published in September by Portfolio Hardcover.
“Google is the 800-pound gorilla and until now there aren’t even any chimps around,” he said. “You hear two complaints over and over again: They are a black box and you can’t get anyone on the phone to help you.”
You can ask for an invite here.
I’m proud to announce today that Yahoo! has launched a beta network in the U.S. for small- and medium-sized publishers. Currently available through invitation only, as Yahoo! tests and refines the new platform, small- and medium-sized publishers can easily sign up online and access new revenue sources and enhanced Yahoo! content through our new self-serve platform. Our goal is to extend the beta to more publishers by the end of the year.
We spoke to many Web publishers throughout our alpha phase to get a sense of what you want out of a publishing platform. Several things became clear: In addition to the obvious — competitive revenue opportunities - you expressed a desire for more ways to enhance the content of your sites and connect with your users. You also indicated that you’d like more control - not only over how ads appear, but also over what types of ads appear on their sites. In addition, the publishers we spoke to expressed a need for more accessible customer service.
We heard those requests, and we’ve built a beta product that addresses those needs. Our new self-serve platform will offer publishers new sources of revenue, starting with our Content Match contextual advertising product, and one-stop access to unique Yahoo! products, such as “Add to My Yahoo!” buttons and Yahoo!’s Y!Q beta. The Yahoo! Publisher Network self-serve beta will also offer phone and email customer service and in the coming weeks, will feature ad targeting capabilities to publishers. And that’s just the beginning. Down the road look for more opportunities through the self-serve platform that draw from other types of Yahoo! content (Think: Web search, “Add to My Web” buttons, RSS advertising, shopping…).
Search Engine Roundtable has an interview with Will Johnson, YP & GM of Yahoo! Publisher Network. They also are already beta testing the ads. Some things from the interview: Yahoo gives free PSAs to non-profits. Yahoo has the same page-level exclusivity in their TOS that Google insists on. YPN earnings should be reported every 1-3 hours.
One thing I noticed on the ads: If you hover the mouse over it, you get much longer ad copy.