Yahoo Publisher Network Expanding This Spring
Yahoo is preparing its answer to Google AdSense, the Yahoo Publisher Network, and has been going about the launch of their contextual advertising offering in a slow and careful fashion. Instead of letting mass publishers apply for and automatically receive Yahoo Publisher Network accounts, Yahoo is inviting samples of United States based publishers which fit into certain advertising categories.
Such ‘smart growth’ tactics by Yahoo are leading to the monitoring of ROI and controlled reach of Yahoo Search Marketing advertiser ads, as Yahoo is taking the quality approach as opposed to quantity.
For example, Yahoo is following a strict editorial review process which includes :
* editorial review and assessment on quality of publisher
* no hate or adult related sites,
* higher standard of quality sites
* size of the site
* how vertical or niche is the site
With somewhere around 3,000 quality publishers currently serving YPN advertisements on their sites and in their RSS feeds, Yahoo has spent the past two quarters planning expansion of the network in what is gearing up to be an active year in the world of site monetizing. During the Q4 earnings conference last week, Yahoo CEO Terry Semel discussed the vision behind the Yahoo Publisher Network as going beyond the offerings of a normal contextual advertising network.
“We believe that there is significant potential upside as we improve our monetization capabilities and our tools to publishers and advertisers. We have been quite successful in attracting large content partners and have begun to take advantage of the large number of small publishers on the web…” Semel told Yahoo investors. “During the fourth quarter, we further experienced the beta of our self service Yahoo Publisher Network, which is designed to tap into that segment. The beta is ramping up nicely and we now have several thousand publishers in the program with thousands more requesting invitations.”
As a member of the Yahoo Publisher Network Advisory Council, I spoke with Yahoo about this last week and plans for YPN which were approved for printing on this blog include:
1. Improvements in Relevance : The ads that are shown by YPN are based upon what Yahoo calls its ‘matching expert’s. These ‘experts’ will be expanded to include :
* Contextual Engine : Targeting based upon the content of the page
* Ad Targeting : Publishers can “tag” their own site by defining their ad targeting category in the YPN admin
* User Data : Behavioral targeting or profiling (geographic & demographic)
2. Wire Service : Offering publishers payment via direct deposit this Spring
3. Expanding Invitations : Continuing on reviewing and approving thousands of high quality web publishers
4. International Rollout : Global expansion beyond the United States to English and non-English speaking countries
5. Yahoo Search Box : Publishers can add Yahoo Search to their site which will pay publishers a percentage of sponsored search revenue
6. Integration into Yahoo Answers : Yahoo may be offering its registered users the ability to earn revenue or points for contributing to Yahoo Answers and other user generated content offerings.
Of course, YPN will be continuing to maintain its customer service team which surprisingly provides prompt phone and email support, something which I agree is rare in this day and age.
Backtracking to the Semel speech from the Yahoo earnings report, Terry confirmed the importance of YPN in Yahoo’s future :
I would like to briefly give you an overview of our key priorities for 2006. Our #1 priority is building and expanding the suite of tools services and solutions for Internet marketers and publishers.
In search marketing, our monetization efforts can be grouped into 3 categories.
First, we are expanding our content match services through the Yahoo Publishers Network to take advantage of the growing number of small publishers on the web. We plan to add new features to beta over the coming quarters including search and enhanced ad targeting. We believe the service will ultimately position Yahoo as one of the preferred advertising partners for small and medium-sized publishers.
Second, we are focused on improving RPS to better matching in relevance algorithms. While our matching initiatives will largely benefit coverage, we’re also focused on improving tools to drive higher relevance and click through.
And third, we are increasing the number of easy-to-use tools for advertisers and publishers, so they can buy more keywords, touch more creative and add more listings faster.