Yahoo! Buys Right Media (Big Surprise)

Posted by: Rob Hof on April 30, 2007

When Yahoo! bought 20% of Right Media last October, some folks wondered why it didn’t buy the whole shebang, and figured that would happen before long. So it did—Yahoo! announces today that it has acquired the other 80% of the online advertising exchange for a fairly hefty $680 million.

It’s another escalation of the war for online advertising, particularly between Yahoo! and Google, which recently announced plans to acquire online ad serving company DoubleClick. In fact, DoubleClick recently said it would create a similar ad exchange. Right Media gives Yahoo! a way to sell and broker ads outside its own sites. Not to mention, the acquisition is a chance for Yahoo! to take a shot at Google’s famously black-box advertising system. Yahoo! CEO Terry Semel said in a statement: “We believe that Yahoo!’s open approach is a clear differentiator from others in the industry.”

The rap on exchanges is that currently many are handling mostly remnant, or nonprime, inventory, and that larger advertisers and publishers may be loathe to give up control to an exchange. Pretty soon, we’ll find out.

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