ESPN.com to Drop Yahoo Text Ads | Adweek
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ESPN.com to Drop Yahoo Text Ads

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NEW YORK ESPN.com said it is ending its deal with Yahoo to show text ads on its Web pages, choosing instead to sell the placements itself.

ESPN plans to roll out its own Google-like auction system for placing text-link ads on its site, letting advertisers target placements based on keyword or section. The ad system, which uses New York firm Quigo's AdSonar platform, will be up and running this fall, the company said.

The Disney Internet property is one of a handful of high-traffic sites to defect from the large ad networks run by Google and Yahoo in favor of operating their own programs. Sites like The Motley Fool and BusinessWeek sell their own text-link ads, using a technology platform provided by Marchex's IndustryBrains unit. Quigo provides similar white-labeled ad platforms to Cox Newspapers and McClatchy.

By selling their own text ads, sites are able to keep all of the revenue and maintain relationships with advertisers. Typically, Google and Yahoo give publishers about 80 percent of revenue generated from clicks on the ads on their sites.

For now, Yahoo will remain the provider of search results, both advertising and editorial, on ESPN.com. Overture Services, the search ad provider Yahoo bought in July 2003, and ESPN.com began working together in 2003. The next year it added contextual advertising to the agreement.

Yahoo still shows contextual ad links on hundreds of sites, including CNN.com, iVillage and several Viacom Web properties.