Introducing Yahoo Publisher Network

Chris Beasley

This isn’t exactly breaking news anymore. I decided a while ago that one of my first posts on this blog would be about Yahoo’s new publisher network. Unfortunately it took longer than I expected to get this blog up and going. I’m sure that by now many of you are already familiar with YPN, but I thought I’d go ahead with this anyway as its hard to find a bigger web publishing news story than Yahoo getting into the Ad Network game.

Yahoo Publisher Network, found here is actually still in beta, but don’t let that stop you from signing up. If you’re familiar with Google Adsense then you pretty much know what to expect with YPN. Like Google, YPN analyzes your content and then serves appropriate ads based on your content, or that’s the plan anyways. In actuality I’ve found that YPN’s targeting is abysmal. The ads served when I ran my tests were barely related to my content at all, and some were completely unrelated scummy sounding MLM ads (think pyramid schemes).

The upside to all of this is that Yahoo’s per click payout rates are far superior to Google’s. This could be for a couple reasons, for instance Google allows advertisers to pay lower rates to Adsense publishers than for normal AdWords placements you’ll find on search result pages, Yahoo is not yet doing this. Also Google’s Adwords program has a lower minimum cost per click than Yahoo’s Search Marketing program (formerly known as Overture).

In the end though what you get is fewer clicks, but more money per click, leaving you with about the same revenue from less desirable ads.

I could see it being possible that if you had an ad unit that received a high CTR, such as a rectangle ad encompassed by content, that you might earn more with YPN than with Adsense, simply by the virtue of the placement. Also, Yahoo allows up to 4 units per page, whereas Google only allows 3, so if you actually have room for 4 units you might be able to increase your revenue by switching to Yahoo. I should note however that what you cannot do is show 3 Google ads per page and then another 1-4 Yahoo ads as you’d be breaking the network terms. You must pick one or the other and cannot show Google ads on the same page as Yahoo ads.

Yahoo also has a feature called Ad Targeting that Google does not have. This feature allows you to categorize your site in hopes of improving the relevancy of the ads displayed. Unfortunately in my tests it didn’t seem to work, and the categories you have available to choose from are not that encompassing anyways, they’re pretty generic. For instance there wasn’t a category for “Web Development” as I recall, just one for “Internet.” Google’s unpublished private feature called Google Hints works far better.

Other than the issues already mentioned the service is more or less a clone of Google Adsense. You have plenty of options for unit size, and can easily customize the colors. Payment terms are roughly the same as well.

Overall it’s worth your time to at the least test out Yahoo and see if it earns more for you than Google does. Also if Yahoo can improve their targetting while maintaining their payouts I think many people will end up defecting from Adsense to YPN.