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Yahoo! Europe! upgrades! ad! platform!

No! really? Yes! really!

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Yahoo! Europe is starting a staged upgrade of its sponsored search advertising platform - the project previously known as Panama.

From today, advertisers will start to receive emails explaining features and offering the chance to upgrade. But the system is rolling out in waves over several months and advertisers will get two weeks' notice of changes.

The dashboard, which gives an overview of an ad's performance, gets more features and graphs of top-performing adverts. You will be able to test ads by running them along with other adverts and seeing which performs best. Geographic targeting will also be improved.

Content review has been sped up so campaigns can get up and running faster. The dashboard can also forecast clicks - telling you how much you are likely to need to spend to get a set number of clicks. It will even automatically find the cheapest way to reach a target - either set by cost, acquisition, or return on ad spending.

Advertisers are advised to review their categories before upgrading - categories become campaigns under the new system.

There's more from Yahoo! here.

In! other! news! Yahoo!'s chief technology officer Zod Nazem is quitting next week after 26 years in the industry. Nazem leaves on 8 June.

In the inevitable blog entry, Nazem said he was keen to get the Panama sponsored search platform out the door before he retired. Yahoo! co-founder Jerry Yang will take over his CTO duties until a replacement is found.

Nazem said: "I know I'm leaving a strong, dedicated, and focused organisation that is ready to define the next wave of the internet revolution. I'm confident that our tech leadership, together with the help of Jerry Yang...and David Filo, will continue to push the bar on innovation and create services that hundreds of millions of people will use around the world every day."

One of the harsher comments added to the blog was: "Yahoo! has been resting for too long on technology laurels of the last decade. While Yahoo! launched several applications this decade, none screams significant technology advances (that other technology companies envy/fear). Mr Nazem, your departure is good news for Yahoo!...and its users."

More blogness here. ®

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