Yahoo's Adsense Competitor is Behavioral, Not Contextual

Source Title:
Yahoo Tests Behavior-Based Content Ads
Story Text:

Adweek report that Yahoo! is testing Behavioral Ads, presumably for its long awaited Adsense rival. Yahoo! are working with Revenue Science to test the behioral ads.

The program, which can be seen on and, could represent a rival to Google's far-flung AdSense network, which displays ads on thousands of sites based on the content on the Web page. Revenue Science, in contrast, targets ads to consumer behavior.

Omar Tawakol, Revenue Science's svp of marketing, said prior site behavior often yields better results than page content. "There's a big portion of the Web that's a contextual desert," he said. "There's a ton of sites on the Web like entertainment, blogging and social networking sites—all those sites are better served by focusing on the user, not what's on the page.

From what you can read, i'd say this could be a major killer app for Yahoo! The main point being that blogs, and let's face it, Y! is milking it's good standing in the blogosphere for all it's worth, have a very hard time with Adsense. For the most part, all contextual ads SUCK on blogs, particular if you're not engadget or gizmodo etc, who deal with specific products with the majority of headlines being very, very specific.

It could be brilliant, though i wonder if they are entirely behavioural, or if this is to be used where normal contextual fails, or some other mish-mash of the two....?


aren't Google too?

didn't I read a month or so back that Google was testing letting sites set themes as well as/instead of content based?

Or perhaps that was a previous Yahoo report and I missed the minor detail of who they were talking about :)


I get ads for drug addiction treatment on both those pages.

Not enough information

on this...

I get ads for Alaska, but then i have been talking to mivox a bit recently i guess...

Im guessing that it montors what pages you're clicking on, what ads your clicking on, and will adjust in time. Good for repeat visit sites, shame i've just reallocated all the ad space heh!


>ads for drug addiction

Yeah, maybe I'm being cynical but this sounds like 'we're going to put expensive ads on a wider variety of sites' ?

Could be good...

They've a bit of work to do.

I get "Nursing Home Abuse Lawyers" on the dog site and "Online Business Degree" types of ads on the cat site ... neither of which I've *ever* pursued in the last nine years online.

I do have hopes that Y! will sort this out.


I get hosting and domain name ads..

Hmmm (me 2)

I don't think the world is ready for "behavioral" ads yet. Apparently they can only take a very wild stab at what we want to see. They can obviously (and luckily) only track a very little bit of our web surfing/searching behaviour. And then they have to interpret that. Furthermore, how can they know WHO is using the computer at the moment. Maybe the ads they show are actually directed at my family. (And ouch, maybe next time it will be the other way around).

At the risk of sounding like the non-prophets who said that normal people would never need computers and that the internet was a passing fad, I'd say that behavioral ads will never be as big a hit as contextural ones. Also because most webmasters like to have (some) control over the ads their pages show.

PS: they wanted to send me to Vegas for some reason.

You have a point, Wit

So ... one reads industry stuff all day long. Then turns to a bit of online shopping. Does one get only industry-related ads?


and that's only an innocent example ;]

Dog site ads = orthopedic

Dog site ads = orthopedic surgery (i suppose that is better than if they were for cosmetic surgery.)

Cat site ads = cruise ship vacations (I was thinking of leaving that site how did they know?)

I really don't see how this would work unless Yahoo was doing some heavy tracking across all Yahoo properties and even off property. Like Nick points out, the idea is good for blogs but I don't think they can pull it off on that huge of a scale.

I get different ads on

I get different ads on different pages of the dog site - some addiction, some hosting, some credit stuff.

Just looks like the most expensive types to me....

Yes, but read the thread

Yes, but read the thread about bundling the Yahoo toolbar with Macromedia Flash players ... and my post in that thread about Flash cookies installing on computers.

I can see it now: "90% of computers have Flash installed"; users are getting pretty hip about deleting cookies; Flash now can install Flash-based cookies that aren't visible in your normal cookie file and (so far as I know) can only be removed at the Macromedia site; the Flash player now comes bundled with the Yahoo toolbar. Anyone see a picture here? :)

Flash cookies

How to delete them

Bit more fiddly so most people will not bother but by no means tricky for the software tool creators to add to their automated methods

Me too

>At the risk of sounding like the non-prophets who said that normal people would never need computers and that the internet was a passing fad, I'd say that behavioral ads will never be as big a hit as contextural ones.

I'm kind of in that camp too.

To me the fundemental flaw, apart from all the obvious ones, is that current behavioral systems seem to be focused on finding what I was once interested in. I see little value in that. Predicting what I am intested in next is the holy grail, I can see big $ in that.

What you are interested in next

NFFC, see my post here.

Actually though, I think behavioural ads are going to be the "next big thing". I applaud Yahoo! for taking this step and can't believe Google didn't do it first.


> focused on finding what I was once interested in

Great point, NFFC.

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