Yahoo Revamps Mobile Offerings with Nod to Ads

Yahoo has boosted its investment in mobile services and ad representation with enhancements to its OneSearch and Yahoo Go mobile platforms.

The changes revolve around a new open platform strategy under which publishers and advertisers are invited to create applications for the mobile search and services platforms. Yahoo said EBay, MTV, and MySpace are the first partners to develop material for the platform; larger publishers may opt to sell their own ads, though any publisher can let Yahoo handle its inventory.

“Yahoo is very much in the business of creating a large mobile ad network,” said Michael Bayle, senior director of mobile advertising at Yahoo. Bayle added standardization of mobile widget ads may be the next hurdle for Yahoo, and the mobile industry at large.

Apart from publishers creating and monetizing widgets under the mobile developer platform, Bayle said Yahoo has seen interest from advertisers in creating widgets. Mainstream brands across the automotive, travel, and financial sectors have been the most active, Bayle said, though he declined to name specific advertisers currently developing content.

Yahoo’s mobile announcements, announced yesterday at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, were only one component of an overarching strategy outlined by Yahoo co-founder and CEO Jerry Yang. The company’s new goal is to deliver “the most personally relevant and indispensable Internet experience to consumers worldwide,” regardless of platform, the company said in a statement.

Yahoo has greater mobile reach than its competitors, according to M:Metrics. In October, 17.4 million users accessed mobile sites on Yahoo, compared to 12.6 million for Google; 9.3 million for AOL; and 8.7 million for MSN’s mobile properties. All other brands combined served 20.4 million users.

Yahoo aims to capture more users by allowing them to customize their mobile experiences. People can create a start page containing e-mail, Yahoo buddy status, news feeds, widgets, and RSS feeds. Feeds may top out at around three, to make the home page both useful and navigable. “Yahoo spent some time harmonizing the content to appear as best as possible on a mobile device,” Bayle said.

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