Yahoo is testing behavior-based SmartAds, which is a mix of brand and direct response advertising. It allows advertisers to target their message and would place ads on webpages based on the users past web browsing history, instead of basing the ads on the webpages content. This system would rival Google’s AdSense network which places ads on websites based on the content of their webpages. Yahoo will work with Revenue Science, a behavioral-targeting company on this test.
Omar Tawakol who is Revenue Science’s SVP of Marketing said that:
“There is a big portion of the Web that’s a contextual desert.” “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.”
He says this in favor of behavior based ads, citing the fact that many sites on the web that do not have textual context, which makes it hard for Ads to deliver true and effective ads if going by the content of the website.
I see some flaws in this system. What if there are multiple users of the same computer? Can this system tell them apart? How about privacy issues? Do all users want to show their browsing and behavior history on the web? It sounds like a cool concept, but there are some questions that needs to be worked out first.
You can read more about this subject by reading an article written by Brian Morrissey on AdWeek.
Yahoo is also expected to release its own AdSense-like advertising network. This unlike Yahoo’s recent tests, scans a websites page for its content and then matches that to advertising, much like Google’s AdSense.