Yahoo's long-awaited self-service contextual ad network will launch in the United States in a limited beta test today, extending the reach of Yahoo Search Marketing ads through small and mid-sized publishers.
"By helping the broader publishing community maximize the value of their sites, we aim to create an even more rewarding Internet experience for publishers, advertisers and users," said Bill Demas, senior VP of Yahoo's Partner Solutions group.
The network, which has been expected to launch for months now, will complement Yahoo's existing network of larger publishers, including CNN, ESPN, and NBC. Up to 2,000 publishers will be invited to join the beta test, with a full launch expected by the end of the year.
Yahoo will begin by offering publishers its Content Match contextual listings. The company expects to make available additional products, including the Y!Q contextual site search product and "Add to My Yahoo" RSS syndication tools. Yahoo is currently conducting tests to evaluate the advertising capabilities of Y!Q and RSS feeds.
A Yahoo offering that pays attention to quality of sites in the network, strives for openness in its policies, and offers advertisers more control would address several of the issues marketers have raised about Google's network. With the launch of this offering, advertisers should benefit from increased competition in an area that has been ruled by Google, and publishers will have another revenue-generating option for their sites.
"The feedback we've gotten from advertisers is that they want more leads. We're responding in a way that will provide them with more leads, while maintaining the quality of sites in the network," Yahoo spokesperson Gaude Paez told ClickZ News.
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Kevin Newcomb joined ClickZ in August 2004, covering search marketing and other online marketing topics. He has been reporting on web-based businesses since 2000.
Before the bubble burst, Kevin was a marketing manager for an online computer reseller, handling copywriting, e-mail marketing, search marketing and running the affiliate program.
With a combination of real-world marketing experience and years of business journalism, Kevin brings to ClickZ a unique ability to deliver news and training materials that help online marketers do their jobs better.
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