Yahoo is making progress on the holistic new ad sales and management system Jerry and Sue talked about last month, the NYT’s Miguel Helft says. Alas, we’re still looking at a second-half 2008 launch–if then–at which point Yahoo (YHOO) will likely be on its way to being a division of Microsoft (MSFT):
Yahoo said the system, called AMP and still months away from being ready, would greatly simplify the task of selling online ads, allowing Yahoo’s publishing partners, for instance, to place ads on their own sites as well as on Yahoo and on the sites of other publishers in the company’s growing network. Advertisers will be able to focus those ads by demographic profile, geography and online behaviour, the company said.
Yahoo is developing the system as other Internet giants…are all stepping up their efforts to become sellers and brokers of all types of ads on sites across the Web. Many analysts expect Google, which recently completed its acquisition of the ad-serving specialist DoubleClick, to begin making inroads into the market for graphical ads online, which Yahoo dominates.
The WSJ adds that Yahoo has dedicated an astounding 500-700 engineers to the project and that Yahoo’s newspaper-consortium partners like what they’ve seen so far.
The great hope here, as in all the ad network businesses, is that Yahoo’s demographic, geographic, and behavioural targeting capabilities will allow publishers to get higher CPMs and, perhaps, sell ads into open inventory that they would have otherwise missed. Yahoo is already the major player in display ads, and with Google (GOOG) buying DoubleClick and with AOL (TWX) desperately trying to salvage some of itself by putting most of its eggs in the Platform A basket, this move is as much defensive as offensive.
Yahoo runs a risk by talking up the platform now, as any delays will bring back the Panama nightmare. But Yahoo needs to do everything it can to persuade the market that it has exciting new stuff coming, or the division-of-Microsoft thing is a foregone conclusion.
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