Review: Yahoo! Publisher Network

Yahoo! Publisher Network, more commonly known as YPN, was Yahoo’s version of Google AdSense. It was a contextual ad program where webmasters could earn revenue from Yahoo! in return for placing ads on their websites and acquiring leads or paid customers. Unfortunately, the program was fraught with problem after problem and is now basically defunct. The sad part about YPN was it was a program with good features, it was just never developed fully. In fact, it never made it out of the Beta stage and because of this, it was only offered to webmasters with US tax numbers.

In the early days, publishers were able to make quite a bit of money from the program. Because it was new, the pay per click revenue was much higher than Google for instance. Webmasters who were able to test both programs indicated that they were getting sometimes at least four and five times the click dollar rate. But, they also indicated that the click-thru percentage was very poor because the ads were not consistently targeted to their content. Also, in the beginning, there were not as many restrictions with the ads as in later days.

One area that was hugely appealing to many members of the program was the fact that YPN made payment available through Paypal, in addition to check and EFT. The company even allowed transferring money directly to the Yahoo! Search Marketing program if webmasters used ppc for advertising their sites or products. Plus, for lower volume webmasters, the program was motivating because the threshold was lower for Paypal at fifty US dollars per month.

Many webmasters really wanted the program to succeed for various reasons including the fact that they were doing well with it; it was in direct competition to Google so anyone who did not like Google or could not get approved might get approved for YPN; and it had a lot of neat features for displaying ads. For example, YPN had two programs, one called Ads in RSS, and the other called Ads for Adobe PDF, but both were closed in 2009.

If you search for information about Yahoo! Publisher Network, you will find plenty of people talking in 2006, discussing both the positive and negative issues of the program. Conversely, by about 2007, discussion pretty well became a mute point when Yahoo! Purchased Right Media, basically an adware type contextual advertising agency. But that also went down the drain with the program being closed in early 2010 for self-serve small publishers.

Like Google, YPN added its own smart pricing criteria. Called “Quality-based pricing”, the new method of paying per click was to eliminate poor traffic and unproductive leads. As a result of the new criteria, many webmasters’ incomes decreased substantially. Many felt that the criteria were not fair given the fact that they believed Yahoo! did not serve relevant ads. So the point of contention was not just lost earnings (as Google does the same thing), but also that they were being penalized for something over which they had no control. That is to say, if the ads did not match their content, how could they send qualified visitors?

Although the official YPN blog is still updated, it has not talked about YPN in a very long time. And, as a final update, webmasters received a notice saying that as of April 30, 2010, YPN will no longer exist. In fact, YPN recommended that their publishers apply for an account with Chitika, “a leading advertising network that syndicates Yahoo! Content Match and Sponsored Search ads”.

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