Yahoo must have been sweating a little. Microsoft had teamed up with Facebook tosell ads, and Google had a similar deal with MySpace. It must have been feeling like the wallflower that wasn’t askedto dance.
But now Yahoo can breathe easier. It’s signed an agreement with social networking site Bebo to sell most of the site’s display ads in the UK and Ireland. As part of the deal, Bebo will also offer Yahoo Answers, and the pair are working on a toolbar that will allow users to monitor their network when not on the site. Bebo claims to have over 11 million users in the UK and Ireland.
“Bebo is the No. 1 social network in the United Kingdom and Ireland, and has become the online destination for the elusive 13-24 year-old demographic," said Joanna Shields, international president at Bebo. "The partnership with Yahoo enables us to focus on custom sponsorship campaigns and groundbreaking original productions with the knowledge that our display advertising is handled by a partner that guarantees the highest quality ad for each user interaction. Yahoo’s scale, experienced sales force, advertiser relationships and industry leading online advertising capabilities will allow us to do just that."
Yahoo already provides search for Bebo, and the new offerings will appear in the next quarter.
The UK leads the world for its share of ad spending online, with around $4 billion in 2006. In fact the Internet’s share of ad revenues in the UK is more than double the global average at 11.4%.
The news arrives less than a week after Yahoo acquired the BlueLithium ad network (there were rumors that Yahoo would make a bid for Bebo). It looks likea win-win situation, as Bebo will benefit from Yahoo’s behavioral targeting and Smart Ads service.
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