Yahoo Will Change AMP Name, Again

Yahoo has agreed to change the name of its new AMP ad management platform, again.

In April, when the company announced details of its highly-anticipated ad management and media buying system, until then dubbed “Project Apex,” the new official name had a familiar ring. It turned out the “AMP” moniker was already in use by ad network and technology firm Collective Media. That company’s own platform for managing vertical ad networks, launched about two weeks prior to Yahoo’s, is also named AMP, which stands for Ad Management Platform.

Now, ClickZ News has learned Yahoo will not use the AMP name after working out an arrangement with Collective Media. Neither Collective Media nor Yahoo would comment for this story. The news comes during a chaotic epoch for Yahoo, as the company grapples with another internal reorganization, an ongoing takeover attempt by Microsoft, and a U.S. Department of Justice investigation of its advertising deal with Google.

Despite the fact that both AMP products in question are ad management platforms, another striking similarity cannot be denied: Both Yahoo and Collective Media serve online newspaper publishers with those products. Collective’s platform currently powers QuadrantOne, a network of newspaper sites launched in February by Gannett Co., Hearst Corp., Tribune Co., and The New York Times Co.

Meanwhile, Yahoo is testing its AMP product with its own newspaper partners; the ultimate goal is for the system to be the primary ad management platform for those paper partners along with other publishers. Yahoo has deals with several online newspaper publishers to distribute its HotJobs recruitment listings and search ads, and cross-sell inventory.

Coincidentally, most of Yahoo’s online newspaper publisher partners have signed agreements to provide inventory to QuadrantOne’s network.

It is unclear what Yahoo will change the AMP name to, or why it will cease using it. However, continued usage could result in marketplace confusion or lead to trademark disputes. Indeed, according to the United States Patent and Trademark Office Web site, it appears Collective Media applied for a character mark on April 7, 2008, the very day Yahoo made its announcement regarding the AMP name.

All sorts of products, from baseball bats to entertainment events already go by the AMP name. However, trademarks are, according to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office site, “intended to be used in commerce to identify and distinguish the goods of one manufacturer or seller from goods manufactured or sold by others, and to indicate the source of the goods.”

Hence, while customers are unlikely to confuse baseball bats and entertainment events of the same name, the same can’t necessarily be said of two platforms for managing online advertising.

Claiming first use in 2007, Collective Media’s application refers to its product as one “Providing temporary use of an online, non-downloadable computer software platform for creating and managing advertising networks, standardizing contextual and behavioral audience targeting, centralizing audience targeting, managing advertising orders and sales, analyzing and managing advertising financial data, inventory forecasting, and providing reports in connection therewith.”

Yahoo’s platform remains in test-phase. It is intended to combine ad and inventory management with media buying in an exchange environment, allowing advertisers and agencies to purchase display, search, mobile and video ads on Yahoo’s own site and on other publisher properties.

When ClickZ spoke with Collective Media CEO Joe Apprendi on April 7, he indicated he was “not anticipating any problem” resulting from the name duplication, and stressed the differences between the two products. Collective Media’s AMP is intended to complement the Google-owned DoubleClick DART for Publishers ad platform, and could potentially work with other ad platforms in the long term — possibly even Yahoo’s. Yahoo’s AMP, however, was created in the hopes of eventually competing directly with DoubleClick and other ad management platforms.

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