As more and more people are hosting their own webpage or pages, advertisers have learned how to make contact with the audiences who visit the pages. And not just randomly either; there are now advertising programs that target ads specifically to the site that the person is viewing. They are called contextual advertising programs because they search through the context and content of a page and identify keywords. They return ads to that page that the program believes would be relevant and interesting to the viewer. For example, if you are visiting a website on low fat recipes, you might find ads about low fat products or weight loss products.
Website owners aren’t the only ones using this form of advertising to generate revenue. You’ll see these ads on search engine pages themselves. For example, on Google, the ads appear in a column on the right hand side of the results page. The keywords you enter in the search box are used to target ads to you. Advertisers are hoping that the short ad they supply will lure you to their site, where hopefully you’ll either order their product or use their service.
Website owners can now earn money by allowing contextual advertisers to place ads on their webpages. The more people visit and click the ads, the more money the advertisers will pay to the website owner. Many website owners make a considerable stream of income from these programs. But the ads have to be well targeted in order to get people to click. Which is why right now there is so much excitement about a new contextual advertising program being tested and prepared for the market. Everyone out there making money on contextual advertising is waiting to see if the Yahoo Publisher Network (YPN) product will return better results than the leading Google Adsense product.
At the moment, YPN is still in beta testing. A group of users were invited to trial the product and the reviews on blogs and postings all over the web are somewhat consistent on one aspect. As of now, it seems that YPN is not returning ads that are as relevant as the ones that Adsense users are finding. For example, one blogger reported that on a website on PHP programming, YPN returned ads for a florist and for a phone service provider. The blogger couldn’t understand what words the YPN program picked up for the florist. But it was the word ‘hello’ that apparently signaled the ads regarding the phone service.
Additionally, some users have complained that YPN doesn’t seem to update earnings and visitor information as often as Adsense. So website owners have to wait to learn if changes they have made have actually impacted the visitors that they get. However, although neither program will release payment schemes until you register as a user, it seems that YPN is paying more per click than Adsense. But the feeling is that payments will be made more appealing long enough to get website owners to switch from Adsense to YPN, but then prices will even out. Some argue that in the long run it won’t matter if YPN pays more if they can’t improve their ad relevancy because they won’t get the number of clicks from visitors to see a real difference in their earnings.
As YPN is being tested, they are getting opinions and feedback from the participants. So in time, the service may be improved. However, competition for Adsense is a healthy thing. It will force both companies to continually strive to improve their service and offerings so that webmasters can continue to benefit from a healthy stream of income in the future.
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