It looks like Yahoo! was waiting for MSN to dump them before rolling out their new PPC product. MSN dumped them last week, and today Yahoo! is already launching their shiny new PPC system.
The new system is going to be rolled out in stages. This stage is mostly about improving the underlying data and analytics platform. On the 17th of May they intend to announce the new PPC relevancy algorithm. In the third quarter they also plan on integrating analytics that will allow you to buy and track ads on Google or MSN as well.
Already mentioned everywhere else, but I think it is worth noting that Andrei Broder Joined Yahoo!. Google has been getting the lion's share of hires of big web names (like Vint Cerf), so it is good to see Yahoo! pick up one of them.
Gary Price also added links to a number of research papers Andrei Broder contributed to.
I generally haven't watched Yahoo closely, but since the update in late July, where many inside pages dropped like rocks, I've been following some selected niche searches. My thought at the time was that there was some sort of "filtering" in place (and I'm probably using the word inaccurately), much like there was after Google's infamous Florida update.
What seemed to affect some searches and some sites didn't seem to affect others... there was talk of over-optimization penalties... and results just didn't feel right. After Florida, I felt that Google would have to fix it, and eventually they did. I've felt that about Yahoo since the July update, but it hasn't happened yet.
The Yahoo serps are Florida-like in one respect that I haven't seen discussed... nonsense exclusion strings in the search query seem to return to search to an approximation of pre-July normalcy. Add -asdf to a search a bunch of times and you'll see what I mean.
Google also slightly increased their number (from 8,058,044,651 to 8,168,684,336), which may be an attempt to further refute / undermine Yahoo!'s claim. Gary says Google gave them the new number before Yahoo! did, which makes me wonder if Google has a few people who know the pulse on Yahoo!
Google always used index size as free marketing it's whole way up, and now that someone is ahead they simply said the figure is useless and everyone agrees. Amazing PR.
Yahoo is planning to launch on Wednesday an ad network for small Web publishers intended to strengthen its hand against rival Google, a source familiar with the plan told CNET News.com.
Yahoo's new service will differ from Google in that it will add human editorial judgment to the selection of ads for content pages. In comparison, Google's service relies on technology.
There are many fronts they can beat Google on:
open revenue sharing policies
unlike AdSense, they could actually enforce some legitimate quality standards - which may be likely if they put a bit more human interaction into the system
more flexible, offering XML feeds or customizable ads instead of making people use arbitrary ad blocks
Allow advertisers to run various ad copy lengths.
Allow advertisers to pick what sites they want their ads to appear on or block.
Better reporting of where ads are being displayed.
It looks like some people are already testing the new network. Earlier Oilman mentioned the Yahoo! context ads on Women's Finance, and looking around, they also appeared on Mom's Budget. I wonder what sort of revenue sharing Yahoo! is offering.
Yahoo! quickly needs to expand their inventory before they lose their partnership with MSN to avoid becoming a second tier pay per click engine.
I looked around and a few of the search related blogs, like Jeremy Zawodny, JenSense, and SE Roundtable were also displaying ads. Some of the publishing partner ads looked a bit botched. The ones on SE Roundtable were frequently off topic and cut off. I mean, how compelling is this ad:
Contraxx by Ecteon
Providing premium contract...
I know that as a user I probably would not click that, if I was the site owner I would be angry for wasting my screen space on that, and if I was paying for that advertisment I would be angry about that ad wasting my money. Why not just use shorter ad copy instead of cutting it off?
How can Yahoo! even think those chopped up ads are useful? Didn't they do some sort of testing on the system? How can an editor think that above six word ad is anything other than complete garbage?
Some chopped ads may send the wrong branding message and work to destroy brand value. Not good, IMHO.