An AdSense Threat from Bing-Yahoo

Several years after nixing its fledgling text-based (contextual) ad product, Yahoo's Publisher Network (YPN) - a competitor to Google's AdSense - is on its way back. With recent reports that Adsense publishers are earning less these days, the timely release could be quite fortuitous for both advertisers and publishers.

With the launch of Yahoo Bing Network Contextual Ads, through a partnership with, the company will place contextually-relevant text ads on websites - just like Adsense. The combined companies have a sizable group of advertisers who currently buy millions of search ad impressions daily through the Yahoo Bing Network (YBN) on both Yahoo and Bing. will manage the publishers (affiliates) interested in serving ads from the YBN, and YBN will manage the technology, operations and advertiser relationships. Publishers, who need to request an invite and be approved for participation, will use the self-serve platform to create and customize ad units as well as for access to the real-time reporting. Publishers will also have a fair amount of control thanks to's prowess in page-level ad targeting and dynamic optimization.

I've been very critical of Yahoo in the past (most of it was warranted), most forcefully about it shuttering YPN. The Web ecosystem demanded a product of this type nearly six or seven years ago when the program launched and it was a harbinger of bad tidings when the program officially closed - which never should have happened. In fact, I believe it to be one of the primary reasons that Google pulled so far ahead at the time in terms of advertising revenue. Whether or not the YBN/ program succeeds is anyone's guess, count on interest from digital workers and some excitement about the possibilities.


Sample Ads from the Yahoo Bing Network: