Why publishers should (yes *should*) support the launch of Yahoo’s Publisher Network

Just finished my talk about advertising networks at Search Engine Strategies, and it was a live one. The big elephant in the room that no one seems to want to talk about is: should publishers support Yahoo’s new Google Adsense competitor Yahoo Publisher Network?

Why wouldn’t someone support Yahoo’s network? Two reasons:

  1. Loyalty to Google: People are invested with Google from a professional and technical level. For the past year we’ve both been making money and in a total romance. Some might consider it an awkward moment when they run Yahoo Publisher Network in the space of Google Adsense. Google has put me at ease about this, telling me to “go for it” because they believe they are the better solution. Gotta love their confidence.

  2. Competition from Yahoo’s content: Many publishers I’ve spoken to are wondering if partnering with Yahoo’s ad network means you are supporting a hugeand growingcompetitor. Clearly Yahoo is in the content business, even though many folks there will tell you they are not. I understand the concern, especially considering that sticking with Google means you don’t have to worry about bankrolling your competitor.

Now many folks know I’m in love Google Adsense. I love it, I love the people there, I love the technologyI love everything about it. I’m a Google guy, so this might come as a shock, but we will test Yahoo Publisher Network when we are invited to do so (we were not invited to the beta).

Why? Couple of reasons:

  1. Yahoo Publisher Network might make us more money then Google (hey, there is always a chance right?) 🙂

  2. Competition is goodvery goodfor publishers.

You can see point two happening already. Google is clearly taking Yahoo’s presence seriously and has been for some time. There have been more updates to Google Adsense in the past six months then the last two yearsat least from what I can see.

On the issue of competition, sure Yahoo is competing with us on some verticals. However, my hope is that is we offer the olive branch of using Yahoo Publisher Network they might want to work with us more in the other areas of their business (i.e. partnerships with their content and services). Yahoo has a lot of traffic and lot of verticals that our contentheck, any publishers contentcould fit into, and if we’re making money together they will be motivated to help us grow.

I’m suggesting to all my publishing friends that they at least try Yahoo Publisher Network. A second major play in the space will a) create more competition, b) draw more advertisers to advertising on the Internet, and c) increase the leverage publishers have with advertising networks.

These networks are here to service publishers and advertisers. Google knows this, and so does Yahoo. They both have to work hard to keep their publishers and fight for inventorythis is great for publishers. They also have to work hard to make it easier and more effective for advertisers to spend money online.

At some point, when MSN, AskJeeves, Newscorp, and AOL all get into the text ad business, publisher will be faced with the ultimate goal: the guaranteed minimum.

In fact, if I was running the Yahoo Publisher Network I would make a huge splash by offering high-end sites a minimum of a $.50 to $1 CPM per ad unit to make a huge splashand I would pay that money by the 5th of the next month (25 days ahead of Google). That would draw a large stream of publishers.

Bottom line: Supporting Yahoo Publisher Network is good for competition, and competition is good for publishers.

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