I am honestly surprised I have not seen more discussion around this topic in the forums recently. A couple days ago, I reported at Search Engine Land that Yahoo is shutting down Content Match in the UK, Germany and other locations outside of the US. The last day for advertisers outside of the US to bid on Content Match ads would be March 31st. That directly translates to less inventory for Yahoo to place in their Yahoo Publisher Network. Yes, the Google AdSense competitor.
Yahoo sent an email to their advertisers, saying:
As a valued client we are writing to give you advance notice of the closure of our Content Match product in Europe.
The decision to close Content Match underlines our commitment to focus on our Sponsored Search and Display business and to simplify our solutions to deliver a high ROI for our advertisers.
Content Match will close on 31 March 2009, after which the product will no longer be supported. All Advertisers should therefore opt out of the Content Match marketplace by this date. Your account manager will be happy to assist you.
So, Yahoo has decided to commit their focus to "sponsored search" and the "display business" and then do away with their contextual ads? Really? Is this just an international commitment or is it a company wide change?
Is Google going to be competitor free in the contextual space? I know, there are many small contextual ad networks, but the only ones that can really compete would be Yahoo and Microsoft. Microsoft's ContentAds are still in limited beta and currently have a long way to get up to par against Google. Many were not happy with Yahoo, but it was a great alternative.
Are these the signs of the end to Yahoo's Publisher Network?
Forum discussion at DigitalPoint Forums.
Update: Yahoo emailed me to say that Content Match is only closing in Europe.