Yahoo and Adobe Team Up to Put Online Ads in PDFs

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How It Works

This is how it will work: Publishers will upload to an Adobe/Yahoo portal the PDF files on which they want to display dynamic ads. The vendors will send the files back after reconditioning them to display dynamically generated Yahoo text ads whenever a Web site visitor calls them up.

Adobe and Yahoo envision simplifying the process in the future, Garbe said. For example, APIs are planned to automate the uploading of PDF files to the Adobe/Yahoo portal, and it's likely that Adobe will build in functions in the PDF creation software so that publishers can generate documents with the advertising capabilities.

The ads will appear on a panel adjacent to the document's text so that they don't disrupt the reading experience. When readers click on an ad, a separate browser window will open with the advertiser's Web page.

Josh Jacobs, Yahoo's vice president of publisher solutions, said that while the program is now limited to text, pay-per-click ads, it might be expanded to include other formats, such as graphical and rich media.

The service is free for publishers, who don't need to buy or install any software for it. At this time, only U.S.-based publishers whose sites are in English can participate in the program. To apply for inclusion in the beta, publishers can sign up at this site.

Benefits for Yahoo

For Yahoo, whose pay-per-click ad business lags behind Google's and hasn't fulfilled expectations, gaining access to PDF documents for its ads inventory could be a major boost.

Publishers will get some control over the ads appearing on their documents. For example, publishers will be able to block ads from up to 200 URLs at the domain and subdomain level.

The more control Yahoo can give publishers, the better, InfoTrends' Swain said. The PDF format, ideal for clean and elegant layouts, is often used for formal documents, such as scholarly articles, so it follows that publishers would be sensitive about having appropriate ads in them, he said.

PDF documents that already have static ads on them can be tweaked to display the interactive ads and display both types at the same time, the vendors said.

Situations in which the ads will not be displayed include if the user is offline when opening the document or the user prints out the document. Users can also close the ad panel if they wish.

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