Yahoo! Gets Ad Sense

Just how long have blogs been the flavor of the month, anyway? Six months? Two years? The hype over this online phenomenon has become so huge that all corners of the Web have been inundated with a circus carnival of ridiculous musings.

Take this page of vacant hype proffered by omnipresent pin-up Pamela Anderson, for example. Or how about this masterpiece, supposedly created by a Boston terrier named after the philosopher Plato? Preposterous, you say?

Maybe, but blogging is a serious endeavor for many -- such as the footnoted.org blog kept by Fool friend Michelle Leder, author of Financial Fine Print. This one also carries the potential to generate big business.

Indeed, researcher Technorati says there were more than 14.2 million blogs operating in July 2005, and that the blogosphere doubles in size about every five-and-a-half months. That translates into a new blog created practically every second, or 80,000 per day.

Such growth puts Moore's Law (the power and complexity of microprocessors doubles about once every 18 months) to shame.

So it came as no surprise to this Fool when Yahoo! (Nasdaq: YHOO  ) announced this morning that it would offer smaller Web publishers, especially bloggers, the tools to bring ad content to their sites. The program will center around Yahoo!'s Content Match technology, which ensures that ads run alongside relevant site content.

Yahoo! doesn't say so, of course, but the pitch appears strikingly similar to rival Google's (Nasdaq: GOOG  ) AdSense program. Which would make sense. In its most recent quarter, Google said revenue from partner sites increased 82% year over year to $630 million. In fact, the blogosphere is expanding so quickly that such growth should continue, at least over the short term. Yahoo! undoubtedly hopes to get in on the action.

And that's really what underlies today's news. Yahoo! didn't announce an expansion of its search strategy so much as declare its intent to get fully engaged in the global Internet land grab that Google started with AdSense. But you wouldn't know that from many of the mainstream media reports. It seems the media still think it's all about search.

Well, I say, let it stay that way. Investing opportunities -- especially the Rule Breaking kind offered by Yahoo!, Google, and other Internet pioneers -- often live in the long, dark shadow of ignorance.

Get up-to-date with the latest in Foolish blogging news with these tidbits:

For more companies poised to create new markets or reinvent old ones, join David Gardner and his merry band of Fools each month forMotley Fool Rule Breakers. Take a free 30-day trial today, no strings attached.

Fool contributor Tim Beyers thinks Internet ads are way cooler and more useful than TV ads, with the notable exception of Bud Light's "Real Men of Genius," of course. Tim didn't own shares in any of the companies mentioned in this story at the time of publication. You can find out what's in his portfolio by checking Tim's Fool profile here. The Motley Fool has an ironclad disclosure policy.


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