Yahoo Publisher Network's Trojan Horse

Comment

Google has a hefty lead in getting small publishers to put Google-powered ads on their websites. There is no negotiated deal – advertisers agree to take whatever Google decides to give them. Revenue share terms are not disclosed to these small publishers. The publisher simply places a piece of JavaScript code in the code of their website, the ads appear, and a check comes in the mail. For some, this is easy — for most, they don’t know the first thing about getting code into other code; so they likely hire someone to do this for them, then just leave it alone.

So there’s a large base of small (and some not so small) websites out there that now use Google AdSense to make some money. Plus, Google has a stranglehold on the pay-per-click (PPC) text ad market (just look at their earnings), which means increased advertiser competition, which drives cost-per-click (CPC) up on ads, which provides publishers with maximum revenue potential — well, assuming the rev-share % Google provides is the same as Yahoo!, Microsoft, or AdBrite. But no one really knows how much Google provides (99% of) the publishers using Google AdSense, which is really kind of a shocker — we’re all just trusting that Google is compensating us well, when really they could be taking 70% of the ad revenue and only giving publishers 30%. Google doesn’t disclose the rev-share to publishers.

Yahoo! was slow to the contextual ad game, but they are here now. They finally rolled out Yahoo Publisher Network (YPN), but it’s still in beta — you can’t actually get an account immediately, but rather only be considered for the program. Publishers have been using Google AdSense — why would they switch? Plus, publishers don’t want to mess with their code — removing Google and replacing with Yahoo code.

One way Yahoo can compete is on price and transparency. Simply giving publishers a higher percentage of the total pie, and actually disclosing what that percentage is, would convince many publishers to switch. But not all – the fact is that Google’s AdSense code is embedded on many websites and the switching costs are enough that they just won’t change to Yahoo.

Enter MyBlogLog

However, many publishers are finding the value in MyBlogLog — a distributed social networking platform that allows readers of blogs to learn more about each other and communicate with each other. Publishers — mostly bloggers — have been adding this code to their websites. Once you can get a publisher to add code to their website for your widget, they typically aren’t going to take it down.

I’m sure Yahoo! has plans for taking advantage of having this MyBlogLog widget code on many websites, to somehow edge their YPN code on to these websites — or simply integrate YPN into the MyBlogLog widget that already exists, so that publishers wouldn’t have to touch a thing. Coincidentally, MyBlogLog (Yahoo) is also tracking information on Google AdSense — how many clicks Google AdSense ads are receiving (on webpages that have both MyBlogLog and AdSense installed), the ad unit size, and what webpage those clicks occurred. Yahoo doesn’t know the CPC for each of Google’s ads, but they do know the click-through rate (CTR) — and can specifically target high CTR publishers first, with their YPN offering.

But even with the MyBlogLog widget access, publishers are looking for more money at the end of the day — the YPN offering would have to practically guarantee much more money to the publisher, in order to spur adoption and convert AdSense customers. Considering Yahoo doesn’t have as many advertisers as Google does, I imagine that 9 times out of 10, Google is able to compensate publishers more per click (once again, depending on the rev-share percentage back to the publisher).

Editor’s Note: Post by Steve Poland, whose blog Techquila Shots brainstorms web start-up ideas.

More TechCrunch

Tags

Welcome back to TechCrunch’s Week in Review. This week had two major events from OpenAI and Google. OpenAI’s spring update event saw the reveal of its new model, GPT-4o, which…

OpenAI and Google lay out their competing AI visions

Expedia says Rathi Murthy and Sreenivas Rachamadugu, respectively its CTO and senior vice president of core services product & engineering, are no longer employed at the travel booking company. In…

Expedia says two execs dismissed after ‘violation of company policy’

When Jeffrey Wang posted to X asking if anyone wanted to go in on an order of fancy-but-affordable office nap pods, he didn’t expect the post to go viral.

With AI startups booming, nap pods and Silicon Valley hustle culture are back

OpenAI’s Superalignment team, responsible for developing ways to govern and steer “superintelligent” AI systems, was promised 20% of the company’s compute resources, according to a person from that team. But…

OpenAI created a team to control ‘superintelligent’ AI — then let it wither, source says

A new crop of early-stage startups — along with some recent VC investments — illustrates a niche emerging in the autonomous vehicle technology sector. Unlike the companies bringing robotaxis to…

VCs and the military are fueling self-driving startups that don’t need roads

When the founders of Sagetap, Sahil Khanna and Kevin Hughes, started working at early-stage enterprise software startups, they were surprised to find that the companies they worked at were trying…

Deal Dive: Sagetap looks to bring enterprise software sales into the 21st century

Keeping up with an industry as fast-moving as AI is a tall order. So until an AI can do it for you, here’s a handy roundup of recent stories in the world…

This Week in AI: OpenAI moves away from safety

After Apple loosened its App Store guidelines to permit game emulators, the retro game emulator Delta — an app 10 years in the making — hit the top of the…

Adobe comes after indie game emulator Delta for copying its logo

Meta is once again taking on its competitors by developing a feature that borrows concepts from others — in this case, BeReal and Snapchat. The company is developing a feature…

Meta’s latest experiment borrows from BeReal’s and Snapchat’s core ideas

Welcome to Startups Weekly! We’ve been drowning in AI news this week, with Google’s I/O setting the pace. And Elon Musk rages against the machine.

Startups Weekly: It’s the dawning of the age of AI — plus,  Musk is raging against the machine

IndieBio’s Bay Area incubator is about to debut its 15th cohort of biotech startups. We took special note of a few, which were making some major, bordering on ludicrous, claims…

IndieBio’s SF incubator lineup is making some wild biotech promises

YouTube TV has announced that its multiview feature for watching four streams at once is now available on Android phones and tablets. The Android launch comes two months after YouTube…

YouTube TV’s ‘multiview’ feature is now available on Android phones and tablets

Featured Article

Two Santa Cruz students uncover security bug that could let millions do their laundry for free

CSC ServiceWorks provides laundry machines to thousands of residential homes and universities, but the company ignored requests to fix a security bug.

1 day ago
Two Santa Cruz students uncover security bug that could let millions do their laundry for free

TechCrunch Disrupt 2024 is just around the corner, and the buzz is palpable. But what if we told you there’s a chance for you to not just attend, but also…

Harness the TechCrunch Effect: Host a Side Event at Disrupt 2024

Decks are all about telling a compelling story and Goodcarbon does a good job on that front. But there’s important information missing too.

Pitch Deck Teardown: Goodcarbon’s $5.5M seed deck

Slack is making it difficult for its customers if they want the company to stop using its data for model training.

Slack under attack over sneaky AI training policy

A Texas-based company that provides health insurance and benefit plans disclosed a data breach affecting almost 2.5 million people, some of whom had their Social Security number stolen. WebTPA said…

Healthcare company WebTPA discloses breach affecting 2.5 million people

Featured Article

Microsoft dodges UK antitrust scrutiny over its Mistral AI stake

Microsoft won’t be facing antitrust scrutiny in the U.K. over its recent investment into French AI startup Mistral AI.

1 day ago
Microsoft dodges UK antitrust scrutiny over its Mistral AI stake

Ember has partnered with HSBC in the U.K. so that the bank’s business customers can access Ember’s services from their online accounts.

Embedded finance is still trendy as accounting automation startup Ember partners with HSBC UK

Kudos uses AI to figure out consumer spending habits so it can then provide more personalized financial advice, like maximizing rewards and utilizing credit effectively.

Kudos lands $10M for an AI smart wallet that picks the best credit card for purchases

The EU’s warning comes after Microsoft failed to respond to a legally binding request for information that focused on its generative AI tools.

EU warns Microsoft it could be fined billions over missing GenAI risk info

The prospects for troubled banking-as-a-service startup Synapse have gone from bad to worse this week after a United States Trustee filed an emergency motion on Wednesday.  The trustee is asking…

A US Trustee wants troubled fintech Synapse to be liquidated via Chapter 7 bankruptcy, cites ‘gross mismanagement’

U.K.-based Seraphim Space is spinning up its 13th accelerator program, with nine participating companies working on a range of tech from propulsion to in-space manufacturing and space situational awareness. The…

Seraphim’s latest space accelerator welcomes nine companies

OpenAI has reached a deal with Reddit to use the social news site’s data for training AI models. In a blog post on OpenAI’s press relations site, the company said…

OpenAI inks deal to train AI on Reddit data

X users will now be able to discover posts from new Communities that are trending directly from an Explore tab within the section.

X pushes more users to Communities

For Mark Zuckerberg’s 40th birthday, his wife got him a photoshoot. Zuckerberg gives the camera a sly smile as he sits amid a carefully crafted re-creation of his childhood bedroom.…

Mark Zuckerberg’s makeover: Midlife crisis or carefully crafted rebrand?

Strava announced a slew of features, including AI to weed out leaderboard cheats, a new ‘family’ subscription plan, dark mode and more.

Strava taps AI to weed out leaderboard cheats, unveils ‘family’ plan, dark mode and more

We all fall down sometimes. Astronauts are no exception. You need to be in peak physical condition for space travel, but bulky space suits and lower gravity levels can be…

Astronauts fall over. Robotic limbs can help them back up.

Microsoft will launch its custom Cobalt 100 chips to customers as a public preview at its Build conference next week, TechCrunch has learned. In an analyst briefing ahead of Build,…

Microsoft’s custom Cobalt chips will come to Azure next week

What a wild week for transportation news! It was a smorgasbord of news that seemed to touch every sector and theme in transportation.

Tesla keeps cutting jobs and the feds probe Waymo