Yahoo is back in the business of context-driven text ads with the launch of Yahoo Bing Network Contextual Ads.
Like Google's AdSense, Yahoo will place text ads on small sites across the Web, usually tied in with text found on a particular Web page.
The move comes two years after Yahoo shut down the earlier text-based Publisher Network, also seen as Yahoo's answer to AdSense.
YBNCA will tap into advertisers who already buy search ads through the Yahoo Bing Network , which handles search ads on both Yahoo and Microsoft's Bing.
Through YBNCA, advertisers can extend their search campaigns to various publishers’ online and mobile sites.
These text ads can be customised with various colours, says Adweek, "but at the most basic level, these ads will look like paid search results." They will be set aside in a box labelled “ads by Yahoo.”
Yahoo's new network is being powered by the contextual ad firm Media.net, a Yahoo partner since 2010.
Media.net will crawl sites to ensure the ads served are contextually relevant (e.g., a car site shows car ads). Media.net founder and CEO Divyank Turakhia said the platform has been in testing for almost a year, with over 1,000 publishers as well as Yahoo’s own sites.
At first, only Yahoo sites will fully participate. Beta publishers will be added over the next several months.
Turakhia said Yahoo chose to work with a third party like Media.net on contextual ads because of the 400 employees Media.net could dedicate to the project and its position as a contextual targeting specialist.
Could Media.net be an acquisition target for a newly flush Yahoo, AdWeek wondered , with reportedly acquisition-minded CEO Marissa Meyer at the helm?
“We could be considered an acquisition target, but we haven’t had any such talks,” said Turakhia. “We’re not looking to sell, at least so far, but at some point in time it may make sense.”