Yahoo Shuts Down Text-Ad Network for Small Websites

Culling Businesses Not Related to Premium Display

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Yahoo is closing down its text-advertising network, ceding the market to already-dominant Google, as it retools to focus on premium display.

The Yahoo Publisher Network Beta, a text-ad service for small sites and blogs, will shut down as of April 30, according to a memo sent to publishers, which were directed to the Chitika ad network, which set up a welcome page for former Yahoo clients.

Yahoo's Publisher Network, known as YPN, is the company's version of Google's AdSense, one of three types of ads it places on third-party sites including search ads and display ads through Yahoo Network, which includes premium Yahoo inventory as well as inventory from third parties such as eBay and Comcast. Yahoo also operates display ad server APT, which serves many large U.S. newspapers.

Small publishers could sign up for the beta program on an invite-only basis, and get text ads targeted to the content on the page, as well as some ad revenue. Compared to display, text ads are a tiny business for Yahoo, one that most brand advertisers won't miss.

"That was the poor man's AdSense, and something brands generally avoided so for them this is a nonevent," said Bryan Wiener, CEO of 360i, now a unit of Dentsu.

A Yahoo spokeswoman said a "small group" of publishers were using the service. Yahoo under CEO Carol Bartz has been trimming back its portfolio to focus on the premium display ad market, including repositioning the Right Media exchange on the high end by eliminating some ad network inventory.

Yahoo declined to say how much revenue was associated with the network, but the program still carried a "beta" moniker even though it had been in existence for years.

"After conducting an extensive review of the Yahoo! Publisher Network beta program, it was determined that the resources that would be required to advance the program to the level expected by our publishers would be better utilized in other areas of Yahoo!'s business," Yahoo said in a statement.

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