Yahoo Shutters Contextual Ad Publisher Network

Yahoo has informed members of its Yahoo Publisher Network (YPN) that the program will be ending at the end of the April. The contextual ad product – much like Google’s AdSense – enables publishers to easily monetize their sites on a cost-per-click basis, by serving contextually relevant text onto their sites.

An e-mail was circulated to YPN publishers today stating, “After conducting an extensive review of the Yahoo! Publisher Network beta program, we have decided to close the program effective April 30, 2010.” The platform was in beta since its launch in 2005.

Yahoo suggests publishers should instead make use of services from Chitika, a network that includes syndicated ads from Yahoo’s Content Match and Sponsored Search ad products, which previously populated the publisher network.

The memo did not give reasons for the closure of the program, but stated the company “continuously evaluates and prioritizes [its] products and services, in alignment with business goals and continued commitment to deliver the best consumer and advertiser experiences.”

Yahoo closed its European Content Match contextual ad service in March last year, claiming it wanted to focus on its search and display business instead. Meanwhile in the U.S., a range of its products have been shuttered in the past year, such as MyBlogLog and the Maven Networks video platform it acquired in 2008.

Chitika is attempting to capture as many YPN customers as it can by making the migration to its platform as seamless as possible. To that end, it’s created a dedicated microsite to help it do so.

Yahoo did not respond to requests for comment on the closure.

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