Yahoo Search Vets Launch Perform Media

Perform Media officially launched with more than a dozen Yahoo industry vets supporting the technology and business model that connects search with native and display advertising for publishers.

Leo Polanowski, CEO and founder of Perform Media, spent more than 15 years at Yahoo in various positions, from search to advertising. When Verizon acquired Yahoo for $4.5 billion earlier this year, he left Yahoo with about 15 fellow employees to build Perform Media. 

While at Yahoo, when tracking some of the trends in search during the past four to five years, he noticed the decline of explicit searches and rise of implicit searches. "It's still search because it's a keyword-based query targeted ad buy," he said.

Here's how this performance media buy works. Someone might go to a search box and type in "cold weather gear" while on a publisher's site while reading an article about Deer Valley, Utah. "From that contextual signal the technology we're partnering with will figure out that when people are reading this article they also are interested in cold weather gear," Polanowski said.

Pointing to the two-click media-buying model, which verifies consumer intent, Polanowski said, the advertiser only pays for the advertisement when the site visitor clicks twice. The two clicks qualifies the site traffic.

Advertisers pay Perform Media for the opportunity to run advertisements and generate site traffic, leads and conversions. Polanowski declined to name brands, but said the fledgling company already has a lineup of advertisers in telecommunications, devices, wireless communications, finance, banking, and automotive.

The search query becomes "implicit" because Perform Media generates and suggests it, and the person searching for information sees and confirms it by clicking on the link. That triggers a more traditional search as if the person typed in and queried the phrase.

That page serves up ads and organic results with search ads and results powered by, which was acquired by a Chinese consortium in 2016 and works to serve content on publisher sites such as Forbes, WebMD, Cosmopolitan, and Woman's Day. In other cases the search links to a white-labeled site hosted by

The search always begins on a publisher's site. The platform allows advertisers to provide search query-based ads on the publisher's site.

"I love Yahoo," Polanowski said. "It's the best thing that ever happened to me. Great company and I wish them in Oath nothing but success, but for the next 18 to 24 months the two will go through a lot of integration. It's just the nature of putting two very large companies together."

Polanowski did that at Yahoo through the BrightRoll acquisition and others, and did not want to do it again. What he enjoyed most was taking Yahoo Gemini to market and growing the platform to support advertisers. 

Polanowski believes the company will fill a void in the affiliate network for contextual search. Google and Bing have "bigger fish to fry -- no disrespect," he said, but "they have not made this type of advertising a priority."

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