Archive forYahoo Publisher Network

Yahoo Puts Ads in PDF Files

YPN has announced a partnership with Adobe that will allow publishers to put ads in PDF files.

Publishers will be able to upload PDFs to Yahoo, and the ads will be inserted. Publishers can than email the PDFs or put them on websites. The ads will be contextual and will be displayed to the right of the content.

This is an interesting new way to display. E-Book authors have often released free e-books with affiliate links in the as a way to make money, but this allows one more monetization option. One problem I see with the ads is they are not integrated into the content area of the PDFs, so I think the Click-through-rates will be terrible.

If you are interested, you can apply for the beta. It doesn’t look like you have to have a current YPN account to apply, but like the YPN beta, only US publishers will be accepted.

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YPN Having Major Difficulties Serving Ads

It seems that Yahoo Publisher Network is having some major problems. The following message was presented to YPN publishers today:

You may have noticed a decrease in impressions in your Yahoo! Publisher Network account recently. This is due to a partial outage that occurred during routine maintenance. We are actively addressing the issue and expect improvements by next week. Thanks for your patience.

I know YPN is in Beta, but it’s going to take until next week? That’s a major issue. YPN seems to be loosing publisher anyway because they are not paying out as well as AdSense. These problems are only going to make things worse.

I have been running some YPN ads this week, but I have been changing things around quite a bit, so I’m not sure how many impressions I have been loosing.

Considering they are almost two years into the beta, things are not looking good for YPN. I would have thought they were passed problems like this by now.

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A Look Back at YPN After 2 Years

The Yahoo! Publisher Network has been in beta for almost 2 years now – the initial announcement was made on August 2th, 2005. I thought this would be a good time to reflect on my experiences with the program so far.

I have been with YPN since the start and have had my ups and downs with them. When I first started using them the revenues were not as good as they were with AdSense. Then in spring of 2006, I noticed that the income started getting a lot better – YPN was actually paying out better then AdSense. I’m not sure what changed, but things were great for a while. I was getting checks bigger than I ever was with AdSense. For a few months it was really good and I had most of my contextual ads with Yahoo. But then it started trailing off, and AdSense once again took over as my main contextual ad source. I try Yahoo again every now and then, but it has been worse than AdSense for over a year now.

The one consistent problem seems to be with targeting. Yahoo ads have never seemed as relevant as AdSense ads. Yahoo does have an ad Targeting feature. This lets you target your ads to 20 categories with 109 subcategories, but these categories seem way too broad. For example, they have an “Automotive” category with subcategories of “Aircraft”, “Automotive Resources”, “Automotive Services”, “Boats”, “Commercial Vehicles”, “Military Vehicles”, “Motorcycles”, “Parts and Accessories”, “Passenger Vehicles”, “Powersport Vehicles”, “RVs” and “Trailers”. Now, if you run a Ferrari enthusiasts site, these general categories are useless. You want only ads about Ferraris but these broad categories will give me ads about all types of cars.

Contextual ads work best when they are laser targeted. If I write a page about blue widgets in Toledo, I want to see ads about blue widgets in Toledo. I don’t want ads about credit cards in Toledo, or purple widgets. The great thing about contextual ads is that they can target exactly what the visitor is interested in at the time, and that causes them to click. Yahoo’s ads seem to miss the mark in this area. I’m not sure if there problems are technological, in that they just don’t do a good job matching, or if they just don’t have enough ad inventory to make good matches. Either way, they need to get this fixed.

Reading through the Digital Point YPN forum, it seems like I am not alone in this assessment of Yahoo. Almost all publishers seem to be saying they now earn more with AdSense than YPN.The common complaint is that YPN’s CTR is horrible compared to AdSense. When clicks do come, they seem to pay more than an average AdSense click, but there just aren’t enough clicks to make it worthwhile. This is due to the poor targeting.

I’m still hoping that things will improve with Yahoo and that they will once again start to have income levels similar to or better than AdSense. I think Google needs some serious competitors in this space to keep them in check.

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Yahoo Introduces its Own Smart Pricing

Yahoo! today announced to its publishers and advertisers that it has introduced “Quality Based Pricing”. This seems like it is very similar to Google’s Smart Pricing.

From the Quality Based Pricing FAQ:

What is quality-based pricing?

As part of the evolution of the Yahoo Search Marketing advertising system, we now include an assessment of the quality of our publisher’s traffic when you are charged for a click from that source. Depending on the quality of the traffic from the partner or publisher where the click came from, the cost of your click can be automatically discounted by a certain percentage.

This means that many publishers will see the amount they earn on each click go down. The initial impact may be limited because Yahoo is introducing it to a limited set of keywords, but the number of keywords effected will increase over time.

There are constant complaints about smart pricing in AdSense forums, I have a feeling we will start seeing similar complaints on the YPN forums as well.

I have an Smart Pricing FAQ that tries to explain Smart pricing as much as possible.

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Top 5 Autopilot Moneymakers for Your Website or Blog

Autopilot Moneymakers are programs that make it very easy to earn money on your website. Sign up for the program – cut and paste some code, and your done. Sure, there are sometimes ways to make more money – direct sales and affiliate programs, for example – but they take significant effort to sell properly. Webmasters and bloggers love autopilot moneymakers because they don’t have to put a lot of effort into getting revenue, they can concentrate on making better websites.

The five programs listed below are among the favorites of bloggers and webmasters, they are the proven money makers. (Most of the links are affiliate links.)


This is the best known program of its type. It’s ubiquitous on the web and is often the first program considered for new sites. It works well on a large variety of sites. AdSense has options for CPM (payment per impression), PPC (Pay-Per-Click) and PPA (Pay-Per-Action).

Yahoo! Publisher Network

Yahoo! Publisher Network is Yahoo’s attempt to catch up to Google in advertising on third party websites. it is currently in beta and limited to US publishers. Many webmasters report targeting issues, but many also report earning that are far better than they got with AdSense. It is worth giving a try to see if it works in your niche. YPN uses PPC ads.

Check out Yahoo! Publisher Network


Chitika ads are interactive widgets that display keyword targeted merchandise for sale. They work very well for websites that are geared toward some specific consumer product. Chitika uses the PPC method for payouts.

Chitika Overview


AuctionAds is a relatively new network, but there have been a lot of good reports about them. They display EBay ads that are targeted to the content on your website. Like Chitika, they are good for websites focus on consumer goods. Auction ads uses CPA.

AuctionAds Homepage

Text Link Ads

Text Link Ads are a little different from the other programs on this list in that they don’t display full ads that pay per impression, click or action. You insert Javascript on your site and advertisers can purchase a simple text link on a monthly basis. This makes Text Link Ads a good compliment to other ad programs.

Go to Text Link Ads

This post is part of ProBlogger’s Top 5 Group Writing Project

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How Does Yahoo’s Reorganization Affect YPN Publishers?

In December Yahoo announced a major reorganization, and part of that reorganization was the creation of the Advertiser & Publisher Group(APG), which is where there Yahoo Publisher Network now belongs.

Susan Decker, Yahoo’s CFO recently sent an email to all Yahoo employees, which got leaked and published at TechCrunch. Here is the part of the memo that talks about YPN:

Yahoo! Publisher Network (Supply Channels). Our publishing customers are a critical component of the ad network ecosystem, and we are committed to driving and expanding monetization opportunities for this important customer segment. I have asked Hilary Schneider to lead the Yahoo! Publisher Network (YPN) organization. I also want to thank David Karnstedt, who stepped in to lead this group while also leading direct search sales, and enhancing the overall connection and strategy of this group to be more aligned with advertising customer objectives. This team will be instrumental in developing and executing our global strategy of becoming the leading search, display and listings-based ad network by securing ad inventory on off-Yahoo! publisher sites. This off-Yahoo! inventory will complement the Yahoo! network inventory and enable our demand channels to offer our advertising customers not only the broadest array of marketing products but also the most robust and high quality audiences as well. As part of his responsibilities for the online channel, Rich Riley will drive the strategy around customer acquisition and retention of small publishers, supporting Hilary in this capacity.

I’ll try to break this down a little to see what it means for YPN publishers.

We’ll I’m glad they want to “committed to driving and expanding monetization opportunities” for publishers, but that really sounds like a lot of corporate-speak that means absolutely nothing to anyone. The whole memo was full of generic business terms that really did not shed any light onto what is going on. I think someone needs to give a copy of Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die (aff link) to Yahoo executives if they want to have any chance of actually communicating something.

The next part that might say something interesting is the “global strategy of becoming the leading search, display and listings-based ad network by securing ad inventory on off-Yahoo! publisher sites.” Obviously Google’s AdSense is the current leader and Yahoo wants to try and make a dent in this. It’s good news for YPN publishers and those wanting to become publishers that Yahoo is serious about this and sees it as a real opportunity for growth. I would assume they want to grow by getting more publishers signed up, and getting existing publisher to display more ads. The best way to do that is to make sure the program pays well.

The next bit I found interesting was “offer our advertising customers … the most robust and high quality audiences as well“. Yahoo’s current strategy for getting the “highest quality audiences” is to restrict publishers to show the ads to mostly US based users. Obviously this restriction gets in their way of their global strategy of becoming the leading ad network. Their going to have to figure out how to monetize those international clicks somehow.

Overall it seems like good news, they seem dedicated to making the YPN program work. But I think the reorganization is probably bad news for people still waiting for YPN to come out of beta. Switching people around will only delay getting things into top shape over there.

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YPN Now Only Allows 3 Ads Per Page

Yahoo Publisher Network has updated their policies to allow only 3 ad units per page. I’m not really surprised by this, AdSense has had this same policy in place since I can remember. I’m sure this has to do with their recent change to eliminate duplicate ads in multiple ad units on the same page. If a publisher had 15 ads on their page, it would be difficult to fill all those spots with relevant ads.

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YPN Eliminates Duplicates in Multi-Ad Pages

Yahoo Publishing Network announced today that they have started to display unique ads across multiple ad units on a single page. Previously, if there were multiple ads units on a single page the same ads would be duplicated in each ad unit. Now the ads will be unique.

It surprises me that it took Yahoo this long to make the change. It’s something AdSense has done for as long as I can remember, and something a lot of publishers noticed right away as a deficiency in the system

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It’s Now OK To Use AdSense and Other Contextual Ads On Same Page

JenSense, again has the scoop on the new AdSense policy changes: It’s official! You can now run AdSense on the same page as other contextual ad programs

So it seems that Google tightened things a little by not allowing similar looking ads to appear on a site, but at the same time loosened things by allowing other contextual ads on the same page. Note however, the YPN’s terms do not allow YPN to be on the same page as other contextual ads, so you still can’t run AdSense and YPN on the same page.

Thanks to Jennifer for staying on top of this for us. Know we just need to figure out how different ads need to be in order to be considered different looking.

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Major Change in AdSense Policies: Other Ads Must Look Different

Google has updated their AdSense program policies. There are many small changes, but there is also one major change: If publishers use ad networks other than AdSense anywhere on their sites, they must now make sure the ads look different. JenSense has the details of all the changes and a special post on the competitive ad policy.

This is going to effect many publishers, myself included. It is currently standard practice to run A/B tests with Google and other ad networks. You randomly rotate Google ads with ads from another network using the same formats and color schemes, and see which one performs the best. This will no longer be possible. It is also common to display ads from other non-contextual ad networks in formats that are very similar to AdSense. Again this will no longer be possible.

This is going to cause a lot of confusion and questions for publishers. There has been a lot of debate on the forums about how acceptable it is to display an image close to an ad. I think trying to figure out what is acceptable for competitive ads is going to be even more difficult. The new policy states:

In order to prevent user confusion, we do not permit Google ads or search boxes to be published on websites that also contain other ads or services formatted to use the same layout and colors as the Google ads or search boxes on that site. Although you may sell ads directly on your site, it is your responsibility to ensure these ads cannot be confused with Google ads.

But what is considered the same color, if you have AdSense in dark green and Chitika ads in light green, is that different enough? If you always use leaderboards for AdSense and skyscrapers for Yahoo, is that different enough? Is adding a border enough?

There is going to be a lot of talk about this on the forums and in blogs. People are not going to like this.

Well, I’m going to be busy the next few days trying to figure this out and implement the changes on my website. AdSense has never performed very well for me on AdMoolah, so I think I’m going to switch to Miva MC to give it a try.

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