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Yahoo Brings Banner Ads To Mobile

Yahoo thinks you are ready for banner ads on your cell phone. Now that a beta test for graphical advertising on its mobile Web service is in bloom in the United States, the portal king will soon whether the idea has legs.

So now you know who to thank.

The beta platform will support graphical advertisements across Yahoo!'s Mobile Web service.

Yahoo said users will be able to click on the ads to learn more about the advertisers offer or directly call them.

The first beta ads will go live later this week. Yahoo's mobile search advertising beta test has been live since October.

A spokesperson for European mobile marketing company Veiti, which competes with Yahoo in this new segment, told internetnews.com that its immediate goal for the United States market was to lay the groundwork for future growth and profit. That's because mobile Web use in the states hasn't reached the adoption levels in Europe or Asia.

But Yahoo spokesperson Nicole Leverich told internetnews.com that Yahoo's plans for these tests are to test the product and its technology, not the market.

"Total numbers of consumers using mobile Internet or data services have really just taken off over the past year," Leverich said.

She pointed to increased user-awareness of the services available, better mobile devices, and faster mobile networks.

Signs suggest that Yahoo’s competitors at least feel motivated enough by the increased adoption to get products onto the mobile web.

Last week, Google launched a Java-based version of its Gmail application for J2ME-enabled smartpphones that support rich multimedia, messaging, and Web services.

Google is also currently conducting a pilot to test mobile ads in the U.S., U.K. and Germany similar to one the company conducted in Japan late last year.

IAC/InterActiveCorp's search company, Ask.com, debuted its own mobile Web search product in October. The Ask service is not monetized, at least not yet.

That's because, unlike Yahoo, Ask doesn't think there's enough widespread use of the mobile web to monetize it through advertising yet, Senior User Experience Analyst Michael Ferguson told internetnews.com.

He said his company is focused on improving its search product and its adoption.

"It's like 1997 with the Web," Fegurson said.