Earlier today I was on a "Search APIs" panel at the SES San Jose conference. I spotted Jason Calcanis in the second or third row. After the session we chatted for a few minutes about flying. He's apparently been up for a few demo flights and wants to get his license when life is a bit less busy. Until then he gets to read about flying on my blog. :-)

What he did not do was ask me for an invite to the YPN Beta. Apparently he should have, since he was just writing and talking about it earlier: Why publishers should (yes *should*) support the launch of Yahoo’s Publisher Network.

In that post he mentions two reasons why some folks might be concerned about using YPN instead of AdSense:

  1. Loyalty to Google
  2. Competition from Yahoo’s content

I'm a little surprised by both of those. In the past year, I've talked to a lot of people who use AdSense. In that time one thing has become abundantly clear to me: money talks. If (and I have no idea if this will happen) word gets out that folks who switch to YPN make noticeably more money, there will be a large exodus from Google's AdSense unless they up the ante and match what YPN pays.

It's as simple as that. There is very little "loyalty" at play here. Until now, Google has had a virtual monopoly on this market and YPN may change that.

Mark Jen put it this way:

I think right now there is an inefficient market out there for contextual advertising and Google is the only game in town so they are taking advantage of it and skimming a ton off the top while they can. As soon as other offerings get into the market, the inefficiencies will get worked out and everyone will win.

As far as Yahoo being Jason's (or anyone else's) competitor... I find that amusing. First of all, a paragraph or two later he talks about how "competition is good--very good--for publishers." Even if you are the paranoid type (he's not), you have to admit that the web is a pretty damned big place these days. There's a lot of room for good content-driven sites out there. Just ask anyone using an RSS aggregator.

My take is that anyone who doesn't at least give YPN a try could really be missing out.

Jason: If you'd like an invite, I'll see what I can do. And let me know if you'd like to add an aviation blog to your growing network. :-)

Posted by jzawodn at August 08, 2005 09:23 PM

Reader Comments
# Brian Duffy said:

Google is skimming the cream, and takes a very conservative approach to things like preventing click fraud. New, agressive competition could only make the advertising model stronger.

on August 9, 2005 06:24 AM
# Mark Jen said:

Or I should've said everyone will win, except Google ;)

Or maybe the growth in the online advertising space will make enough room for 3 or more contextual advertising services and maybe Google will still be able to justify their $80B market cap...

on August 9, 2005 08:44 AM
# Dave said:

Why should Jason try YPN if you don't?

Or are the Google Ads in the middle of this page served from YPN?

on August 9, 2005 02:05 PM
# Jeremy Zawodny said:

I am running YPN ads on my blog. You just haven't done anything that might trigger them.

on August 9, 2005 03:02 PM
# steveG said:

Calcanis is such a poser. He'll never solo.

on August 9, 2005 05:25 PM
# Jason said:

couple of things

1. When are we going flying?

2. Yes yes yes... get me an invite to YPN!!! I want to start running it ASAP.

3. If Yahoo gives a better deal--and I hope they will--Google we instantly respond with a better deal... at least I think so. I really hope YPN performs better because and we have a great marketplace where the balance of power shifts *back* to the publishers.

4. If you're a major content company... say the NYT or CNET or IGN I think you will look at YPN and clearly think about the competitive landscape. If you're IGN or CNET with a major gaming site and you're fighting it out with Yahoo's GamesDomain site why on earth would you cut Yahoo in on your profits!??! You would clearly be better off working with Google and not supporting the company that is partnering with you in one building and competing with you in another building on the same campus.

For smaller publishers who can't take on Yahoo--like us (right?!?!) it might not be an issue. However, I can tell you publishers ARE talking about this. Yahoo is hiring a ton of major content executives (like really talented folks) and they are clearly going into the content business. If you're making a living with content you have to look at Yahoo and get worried that at some point they might decided to pump all their traffic to their content and leave all these other content companies in the dust.

You can talk about all this "there's a lot of market out there" but that is just "nice nice" dotcom talk. There is a *limited* amount of advertising out there and it's a dog fight for who gets it. That's how publishers think.. at least the good ones.

on August 9, 2005 05:44 PM
# Jason said:

Some more background on the competition issue from Paidcontent.org below. I'm really not making this stuff up. Yahoo's stockpiling content talent and no one buys that it's to send people to other content sites. Yahoo is clearly a content company, and they are going to be a very serious content company creating a ton of original content--at least that is my guess. :-)

From Paidcontent.org:

Yahoo's Increasing Competition With Media Companies: A detailed story on Yahoo's power as a media giant sucking away ad dollars from traditional media. Some good details from advertisers, and how happy they are with Yahoo etc.
But some old old worries are becoming new again: Yahoo's essentially an aggregator vulnerable to being cut off if old media become angry enough, the story contends. Yahoo's success "has become a red-meat issue," says Tom Curley, CEO and president of the Associated Press. "If there were an enemies list, [Yahoo] would be front and center." (Also some good stuff on Lloyd Braun and how he is helping the company in its Hollywood efforts, despite the internal changes at the company: "Braun is fusing the fiefdoms into a single unit in the Colorado Center in Santa Monica and requiring everyone to relocate.")
On this, Braun contends: "The problem isn't that they hate Yahoo...it's that everybody now is feeling this out. There are a lot that we're talking to about working together. They far outnumber the ones that are saying, 'We want to go it alone.'"

on August 9, 2005 05:50 PM
# Jason said:

oh yeah... one more thing it's


best j

on August 9, 2005 05:54 PM
# Jeremy Zawodny said:

Typo fixed. Sorry 'bout that!

on August 9, 2005 06:12 PM
# George said:

You say you are running YPN ads but the other commentor just hadn't done anything to trigger them.. what does that mean? I too only see adsense ads.

on August 11, 2005 12:25 AM
# TDavid said:

argh - left this comment in the wrong post (sorry). I signed up for YPN the day it launched and haven't heard a word back from anybody. No email, call, nothing.

Don't they at least contact people who sign up and say: "we're filled up, but we will get back to you when there's an opening" or something?

on August 11, 2005 07:53 PM
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