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New Ad Venue: PTA Newsletters

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NEW YORK Increasingly, no content is too mundane to include advertising alongside it. Yahoo! is moving to let publishers of all sizes, even organizations like local PTAs and youth sports leagues, make money by running ads next to Internet-based white papers and newsletters.

Through a deal with Adobe Systems, Yahoo! has begun allowing publishers using Adobe Acrobat to create ad-supported content via the Portable Document Format. The ads will appear in a banner-like space located on the right-hand side of the PDF files. This is an option—regular PDF docs won't include ads unless publishers opt in.

The program will open up new real estate for its advertisers, according to Todd Teresi, svp of Yahoo!'s publisher network, especially among small-time customers that don't even have Web sites. Example: Local youth soccer leagues that create weekly e-mail newsletters could generate funds through contextual placements for soccer equipment and jerseys—and even minivans, he said.

"The primary users long term are going to be down the tail," Teresi said.

Yahoo! scans the documents to determine the most relevant ads to place. The ads will only appear if the PDF document is read while a user is online. Initially, Yahoo! is limiting the ads to text placements, but Teresi said graphical units could come next.

Yahoo! is not alone in experimenting with mixing ads into Internet documents. Google and Microsoft are both rolling out ad-supported versions of word-processing and presentation applications.

A handful of publishers are testing the PDF ads, Yahoo! said, although it declined to identify them. It will test the option with 100 publishers over the next six months before rolling out the initiative to all users of Adobe Acrobat.

The ads will run on a cost-per-click basis with publishers getting paid an undisclosed cut from revenue generated after Yahoo! and Adobe take their respective percentages.

"It enables the expansion of publishers who can bring their content online in a way that enables them to support that activity," Teresi said.

Yahoo! and Adobe are longtime partners. They struck a deal in 2004 to include a Yahoo! search toolbar in Adobe products.