The New, More Open Yahoo?

While speculative reports fly around the Internet about who might buy
Yahoo — Microsoft, Google or News Corp. — new CEO Jerry Yang and
President Susan Decker have a business to run. Their plan is to turn
Yahoo from the media company former CEO Terry Semel used to run into a technology company with a platform.

In the next few weeks, Yahoo will launch a new
advertising product for advertisers and publishers that shares the
lessons Yahoo has learned about user behavior from the roughly 500
million monthly visits to its network of sites, has learned.

According to a Yahoo spokesperson, the new product will, among other
things, enable advertisers to create “non-premium,” direct response
advertising campaigns through “highly targeted” display advertising.
The targeting, the spokesperson said, will be based on trends in
user behavior that Yahoo has learned to measure by closely watching how
its users interact with its network of sites.

Yahoo plans to make this behavioral targeting product available to
advertisers that wish to market over Yahoo’s network and its
publishing partners, including Comcast, eBay and a
growing group of newspapers.

There is also thought within Yahoo that it will be able to share its
behavioral targeting tools with advertisers and publishers who join
its recently acquired Right Media Exchange, though the Federal Trade
Commission’s ongoing review of the deal limits how much the
company can plan for a post-merger future, the Yahoo spokesperson said.

The new behavioral targeting product and the likely decision to offer
it to advertisers and publishers who join Yahoo’s advertising
exchange reflects Yahoo President Susan Decker’s vision of the new
Yahoo as “the industry’s most open, accessible, and vibrant
advertising marketplace,” as she articulated on a conference call
held Monday to announce Yahoo’s new executive team.

That vision of Yahoo as open platform is a departure from the
company’s actual business to this point, when under Semel and his predecessors, Yahoo operated like an online version of its now defunct off-line magazine, with its glossy display advertising targeted at content verticals such as Travel, Consumer Tech and Finance.

For the time being, Yahoo remains a media company, but judging by
Decker’s rhetoric, the goal is to turn Yahoo back into a technology
company one that can profit by helping others profit.

“We are confident that by aligning our interest with the interests of
the vast majority of the online advertising market, we will be
very well positioned for future success.”

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