Targets Yahoo!

Undeterred by Yahoo!’s 78 million users, nascent portal launched an ad campaign Monday that declares the portal giant “toast.”

Irvington, N.Y.-based, which launched as a banner- and pop-up-free alternative to Yahoo! just two weeks ago, began a two-week run of print, radio and online advertising with the tagline “Yahoo! is toast.”

“It’s a bit fun, a little whimsical, a classic case of puffery,” admitted Bill Daugherty,’s chief executive. “There is an element of seriousness behind it, because the users have spoken.”

What they’ve said, according to Daugherty, is that Yahoo! has too many intrusive ads and too much direct marketing. Daugherty, who also founded sweepstakes portal in 1999, launched in October as a Yahoo! clone, with a customizable interface, news, information and search. However, the site does not carry any banner, pop-up or pop-under ads, instead relying on paid search for revenue

The print campaign will feature the tagline alongside a picture of a toaster with a piece of burnt toast. Daugherty said the ads will run in the San Jose Mercury News and other targeted markets, in addition to ads in a variety of community and college papers. Thirty-second radio spots will run in 38 markets, and the company plans an extensive online campaign that will run banners and other ad units on 200 sites, according to Daugherty.

“The irony of the ad-free search engine advertising on the Internet is not lost on us,” he said. “We said we do have to tell people about it. We’ll build a base and the word of mouth will take over.” plans to run the campaign, which is developed in-house, through Nov. 27, then take the Christmas season off, before beginning another phase of the anti-Yahoo! campaign in January.

With internal research showing 21 percent of Yahoo! users said they would switch to as their primary portal, Daugherty is confident the site can gain some traction.

“MyWay is the result from listening to Internet users, particularly Yahoo! users, who have seen a somewhat dramatic change in their Yahoo! experience over the last couple years,” he said.

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