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Yahoo!, AOL, Microsoft strike ad pact

Three tribes go to war - against Google, Facebook

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

Yahoo!, AOL and Microsoft are all struggling to get the most out of their display ad business up against the likes of Google and Facebook. Unsurprisingly then, the three companies have inked advertising deals together.

"The agreements will allow ad networks operated by Yahoo!, Microsoft and AOL to offer each other’s premium nonreserved online display inventory to their respective advertising customers," said Microsoft in a statement.

The software vendor said that the deals will mean that "premium display inventory" can be bought at scale.

"Simultaneously, the partnership should enhance the demand for and value of each party’s display advertising offerings as well as provide better yield for both participating publishers and advertisers," the company added.

The agreements apply only in the US, where Yahoo! – which these days fashions itself as a premium media player – has reported crappy display ad sales figures. AOL – a one-time dial-up outfit that is now buying its way into publishing – is similarly struggling to make big bucks out of display ads.

Then there's Microsoft – a pre-packaged software maker trying not to be drowned out entirely by Google and Facebook online.

“Enhancing choice and scale in today’s display advertising market is ‘a rising tide that lifts all boats’,” said Microsoft advertising veep Rik van der Kooi.

“This partnership will create an opportunity where advertisers and publishers alike can benefit from easier access to – and demand for – high-quality inventory.

"The fact that we’re joining together to offer this kind of access to quality – yet each with our own differentiated ad offerings – is something that will benefit the market as a whole.”

The three companies will meld together their real-time bidding technologies early next year.

MS said that its Advertising Exchange and Yahoo!’s Right Media Exchange would "initially serve as the two marketplaces from which the partners can procure this inventory for resale to advertisers and agencies".

It added that "AOL may, at its discretion, opt to use its own exchange technology solution subsequent to the launch of the partnership."

The agreements between the firms are non-exclusive. And they will continue to compete against each other for ad dollars and publisher partnerships. ®

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