Yahoo to shut down small-publisher ad network

The service never evolved past its invite-only stage

Yahoo plans to close a beta advertising service through which small online publishers, such as individual bloggers, signed up to carry ads sold and distributed by the company in exchange for a commission.

The service, called Yahoo Publisher Network Beta, provides pay-per-click text ads that are contextually relevant to the Web pages of participating publishers in which they appear.

Launched in 2005, the service never evolved beyond its initial stage as an invite-only beta program, said Yahoo spokeswoman Kristen Morquecho. She declined to say how many publishers participate in the program, which she nonetheless described as "small."

After a review, Yahoo decided that the resources required to take the program to a more advanced stage would be better used in other parts of its business, Morquecho said on Wednesday.

Yahoo Publisher Network Beta is not to be confused with a similar ad network that Yahoo runs for large publishers, which remains active, nor with Yahoo's various other services to sell and display ads, she said.

In an e-mail sent to participating publishers, the company said that Yahoo Publisher Network Beta will shutter its doors on April 30 of this year and that they will receive their final commission payments no later than May 31.

Since Carol Bartz took over as CEO in January 2009, Yahoo has been evaluating its products and services with an eye on closing or selling those that aren't meeting internal quality standards or that the company doesn't consider central to its business.

For example, Yahoo closed its GeoCities personal Web site-hosting service and sold its careers classifieds site HotJobs to Monster and its Zimbra enterprise communication and collaboration suite to VMware.

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