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Yahoo, Adobe unveil hosted system that can integrate ads into online PDFs

Beta software-as-a-service program pulls dynamically generated ads of Yahoo partners

By Brian Fonseca
November 29, 2007 12:00 PM ET

Computerworld - Yahoo Inc. and Adobe Systems Inc. today launched a beta-test version of a jointly developed hosted system that enables online publishers to insert dynamically generated advertisements from Yahoo's ad brokering service into PDF-based Web content.

The beta version of the Ads for Adobe PDF Powered by Yahoo on-demand software-as-a-service (SaaS) offering is currently available to most U.S.-based publishers, according to Adobe officials. Publishers can apply online to take part in the beta service, which supports Adobe Acrobat 8 and earlier versions.

Kurt Garbe, entrepreneur in residence for advertising at San Jose-based Adobe, said that the joint plan calls for the service to remain free of charge after the test period ends. The payment plan for publishers is similar to common Web models -- when users click on ads, the publisher is paid by Yahoo.

Garbe said that he expects users of the beta service to face a "learning curve" because the new software is immature. "Over time we'll keep evolving the service. Clearly, there are going to be a lot of updates along the way," said Garbe.

Upon registering to use the service, publishers can upload their Adobe PDF content to be reformatted and ad-enabled by Adobe. As long as an Internet connection is used, each time the PDF is opened, a new ad should appear, Garbe said.

Garbe noted that bloggers have shown a great deal of interest in the new service. "You would never think a blogger would be interested in this, but some of the bloggers want to figure out, 'Is there I way can publish some of my blog posts, with some editorial content and wrappers around it?' "

Melissa Webster, program vice president of content and digital media technologies at Framingham, Mass.-based IDC, said the new service should prove to be a "risk-free" way for publishers to tap into Yahoo's extensive ad inventory and partner network. She said the value of dynamic ads and content on the Web is key, since users tend to tune out the data when it is displayed a second time.  

Webster noted that dynamic advertising requires that readers maintain an Internet connection and that publishers will likely want significant control over which advertisements are displayed on their sites. "They may not want competitor ads. The current beta release doesn't do that," said Webster.

 "I think it's going to take folks some time to figure out what works for their brand and their audience," she said. "But it's a risk-free way to try it out. You can experiment with this, and you really have nothing to lose."

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