Yahoo Turns to Openness

Amid Inquiries Into Digital Deals, Portal Takes Different Route

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String of Digital Deals Leaves Ad World Baffled

NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- At a time when advertisers are questioning whether myriad new-media deals will be good for them and the FTC is investigating whether the Google-DoubleClick deal will bring together too much online ad power under one roof, Yahoo is taking another route, touting openness as an increasingly important part of its online-advertising strategy.
Sue Decker, head of the publisher and advertiser business at Yahoo
Sue Decker, head of the publisher and advertiser business at Yahoo Credit: Yahoo

Today, for example, the company is set to unveil open access to its commercial application program interfaces -- more commonly known as APIs -- which will let agencies, tool providers and even individual developers tap into the Panama ad platform and build applications on top of it. Right now it's limited to Panama's search system, although it will expand into other ad formats down the road as Panama expands.

Sue Decker, head of the publisher and advertiser business at Yahoo, said the company sees what it's doing as an offensive strategy rather than a response to anyone else's actions.

"We've talked more comprehensively about 'open' ever since we made the acquisition of Right Media," Ms. Decker said. "It's our objective to promote open standards for systems, platforms and data to third parties across the online ecosystem."

She noted that Right Media allows publishers to see exactly how much a buyer is willing to pay for a piece of inventory, and Yahoo allows "open selling," meaning select partners can sell network inventory.

An open philosophy will be good for innovation in the industry, she said, sounding much like the B-to-B version of Facebook's announcement two weeks ago that it will allow developers to create applications on top of its social-networking platform.

Tapping the crowd might be a wise idea as talent gets tougher to find.

Separately last week, Yahoo Chief Technology Officer Farzad Nazem resigned; Yahoo co-founder Jerry Yang is serving in his place.
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