Back in November, it was announced that Yahoo and Adobe would be testing out some new technology that lets publishers place advertising in PDF documents. After a couple months of being left to wonder exactly how such an advertising system would be implemented, Adobe and Yahoo have attempted satisfied our curiosity by releasing a free, downloadable book that lets us check out the ad system in action.
At the time of the November announcement, they said “The Adobe service allows publishers to generate revenue by including text-based ads linked to the content of an Adobe PDF (portable document format) page in a separate side panel.” It was also indicated that no special software would be needed. That description was a bit vague, so it’s great that we can finally get our hands on it and see just what they meant. Let’s take a look.
The book they’ve used to test out the new ads is “True Films 3.0: 200 Documentaries You Must See Before You Die.” The book is free to download. The advertising is opt-in, so if you’re vehemently opposed to advertising, you can opt-out of it and still view the document ad-free. Additionally, the ads appear in Adobe Reader 8.0, but if you open it up on an older version it will appear ad-free.
So how do they decide what ads will appear in the document? Like Yahoo Ad network and Google AdSense, the ads that are displayed are contextually based and appear along the side of the document in the margins. The ads that appear are based on the content of the PDF document, and not any user-identifiable information.
It sounds like another way for publishers to earn a few extra bucks off their work, and it will be interesting to see if eBooks and other PDF documents will start to utilize this new ad system.