Yahoo! Links With Bebo for Ads

NEW YORK Bebo has inked a deal for Yahoo! to sell its inventory in the United Kingdom and Ireland.

The agreement gives Yahoo! the right to sell most of Bebo’s display ad impressions in its top two markets, where it reaches an estimated 11 million users and is more popular than MySpace and Facebook. The agreement, which goes into effect in the fourth quarter, does not cover Bebo in the U.S., where it is a much smaller player.

While banner ad sales will go through Yahoo!, Bebo will continue to work with advertisers on what it calls “engagement marketing campaigns.” Bebo has struck several product placement deals for advertisers in KateModern, a Web serial drama from the creators of Lonelygirl15. It plans to do the same for a new Web series it will run, Sofia’s Diary.

Bebo struck a deal with Yahoo! in May to provide search results to the site. That agreement has been extended, the companies said. Around that time, several blogs and U.K. news sources reported that Yahoo! was in talks to buy Bebo for $1 billion.

Bebo is the latest social network to outsource display ad duties to Internet giants. Microsoft has deals to sell display ads on Facebook and Digg, while Google and Fox Interactive Media struck a $900 million search-and-display ad deal for MySpace.

In addition to ad sales, the pact will bring to Yahoo! Answers, the popular Q&A platform, to Bebo, allowing users to ask each other questions or the larger Answers community. The companies will also develop a co-branded toolbar to let Bebo-ers monitor their network. The toolbar will include Web search from Yahoo!.