Yahoo aims to squelch advertiser angst over Google deal

Creates Digital Advisory Council of advertisers to defend proposed Yahoo-Google deal

Yahoo Tuesday announced that it is forming a Digital Advisory Council to help answer questions about its proposed search advertising deal with Google and other online ad issues. The council will include executives from firms that advertise on Google's Web pages.

The council help Yahoo solicit feedback and will supplement the Internet firm's ongoing conversations with advertisers, the company said. The council's first meeting will be held in the fourth quarter of this year.

"Opening up Yahoo is a key part of our strategy, and we want to help advertisers understand how they can benefit from this approach," said Hilary Schneider, executive vice president of Yahoo US, in a statement. "At the same time, there has been confusion and misinformation surrounding Yahoo's agreement with Google, which represents another key milestone in opening up our network. As questions emerge about how Yahoo will implement this agreement, the advisory council will provide a forum for us to engage in a dialogue with key customers on those issues."

Specifically, Yahoo said that the group will discuss and identify ways the company's new Advertising Management Platform (AMP), which will be rolled out over the next few months, can help improve advertisers' performance. AMP was created to help companies buy search, display, mobile and video ads from a single integrated interface. The platform will also let them target customers based on geographic or demographic data.

The creation of the council marks one of Yahoo's first formal efforts to deflect some of the criticism being lobbed at the proposed deal that would have Yahoo running advertising from Google alongside Yahoo search results. Google in recent days stepped up its defense of the partnership as criticism mounts that it will result in Google having a monopolistic hold on online advertising.

The deal has come under fire from major advertiser groups and prompted the US Department of Justice to hire a high-profile litigator to look into a possible anti-trust investigation.

Google maintains that the deal would not result in huge advertising cost increases or lead to a monopolistic hold on the online search advertising market.

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Heather Havenstein

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