Yahoo to Test Google Ads – Take That, Mr. Ballmer!

Yahoo announced today that it "will begin a limited test of Google Inc.'s AdSense for Search service, which will deliver relevant Google ads alongside Yahoo's own search results."

The test will affect about 3 percent of Yahoo search queries, and will only apply to search traffic from yahoo.com in the U.S. and will not include Yahoo's publisher network or other partners. The test is expected to last up to two weeks.

This can be seen as Yahoo thumbing its nose at Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, who basically implied in his ultimatum letter last weekend that Yahoo had no other options than to take Microsoft's offer. But this test is not really an indication of anything concrete, as Yahoo specifically says, "the testing does not necessarily mean that Yahoo will join the AdSense for Search program or that any further commercial relationship with Google will result."

According to the Wall Street Journal, the test is "designed for the two sides to evaluate the revenue potential of a broader search ad outsourcing arrangement. They have been discussing such an arrangement as part of Yahoo's pursuit of alternatives to Microsoft Corp.'s unsolicited acquisition offer, according to people familiar with the matter."

Stay tuned to the ongoing saga of Microhoo. In our next episode, Yahoo will announce that it's teaming up with Apple to put Yahoo ads on the iPhone. At least that's what "people familiar with the matter" have told me.

About the author

Kevin Newcomb joined ClickZ in August 2004, covering search marketing and other online marketing topics. He has been reporting on web-based businesses since 2000.

Before the bubble burst, Kevin was a marketing manager for an online computer reseller, handling copywriting, e-mail marketing, search marketing and running the affiliate program.

With a combination of real-world marketing experience and years of business journalism, Kevin brings to ClickZ a unique ability to deliver news and training materials that help online marketers do their jobs better.