Google has had a near lock on keyword advertising with its successful AdSense program. This website uses AdSense and so do thousands of other small blogs. It’s a fast and easy way to add revenue to your website with no programming know-how required. Today Yahoo announced that it was starting a similar program, which will hopefully turn up the dial on this category and get some well-needed competition going.

I found an interesting bit of commentary at TechCentral Station on what Yahoo could do to compete with Google. Some of the ideas are not only interesting but spell some financial relief to advertisers and blog owners. Here are some highlights:

What Yahoo can do to compete with Google?

* Offer Paypal and other overnight funds transfer along with regular cheques. This is, after all, the internet age.

* Make the publisher shareout transparent.

* Recognize that despite the groovy technology involved in placing context sensitive advertising on webpages, the actual role of an ad strip provider analogous to a very well automated advertising agency. Typically an advertising agency charges 15-20% of the ad buy. This compares rather unfavorably with the current 60-80% spread it appears Google is charging.

* By narrowing the spread between what advertisers are paying and what publishers are getting Yahoo would attract high quality publishers who are chafing under Google’s restrictions and relatively low payout rates.

* Reward quality publishers. While there will be an army of sales people out trying to get Adsense advertisers to switch to Yahoo, the real struggle will likely be for the tens of thousands of small to very small publishers who actually make the Adsense model work.

* Publish the bids for particular key words in an easy access format. Yahoo’s company, Overture, already does this by allowing people to lookup prices and traffic statistics for particular keywords. The more price and traffic information web publishers have the more keenly they will compete to build sites which attract valuable traffic.

* Offer advertisers at least one alternative to the pure “keyword bid” model. A flat fee for a set number of clicks might be more attractive to some advertisers. As well, while selling “page views” or “impressions” has fallen out of fashion, these are reasonable metrics for certain sorts of ad campaigns.
Source: TechCentral Station