Over the past few years, Yahoo! seems to have been losing a constant tug-of-war with the online giant in its battle for dot-com dominance. Yahoo! has a successful free email service? Google launches a similar free product with greater capacity. Yahoo! acquires contextual advertising pioneer Overture? Google launches its own AdWords and then fires up its popular AdSense ad distribution system for small and medium content sites. Every evolutionary -- and revolutionary -- step of the way, it seems as if Google's been tugging harder while Yahoo! walks away with rope burns.
That's why it's such a big deal that Yahoo! has landed iVillage, the popular online destination for women. In one stroke, Yahoo! has established some publisher credibility while it beefs up attention to its new Yahoo! Publisher Network service.
The AdSense clone is still in beta. Yahoo! didn't even make the offering official until earlier this month. But if Yahoo!'s product delivers higher revenue to publishers, defections could follow that may prove hazardous to Google's health.
Google prides itself on its distribution network, which includes hotbeds of page views like AOL, InterActiveCorp's
Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz digs Google, but he does not own shares in any of the companies mentioned in this story. The Fool has a disclosure policy. Rick is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early.