Take that Microsoft and Google.In the midst of shareholder Carl Icahn's continued push to unseat the board and ongoing speculation about the fate of the Web giant and its senior leadership, Yahoo continues to push forward in areas where its rivals have no traction. Case in point, Yahoo has inked a set of casual game ad deals with in-game ad sales and tech providers Double Fusion and NeoEdge.
ComScore ranks Yahoo Games as the top site in the games category in terms of unique monthly visitors, ahead of EA Online, Disney Games, the WildTangent Network, and MSN Games. And the three-year revenue sharing deals are aimed at helping Yahoo (and the casual game publishers represented on Yahoo Games) better monetize the property's more than 18 million unique monthly visitors.
Starting today, gamers will be able to download full-length, ad-supported versions of titles from publishers like Big Fish Games, Gogii Games and PopCap. Available inventory includes CPM-based pre-, mid- and post-roll video. The ads will be served and tracked by either Double Fusion or NeoEdge, and advertisers can go through either company or Yahoo directly to find pricing, demographic and custom package creation info.
"If someone wants to buy casual in-game, we can give them resources at both Double Fusion and NeoEdge," said Kyle Laughlin, head of games at Yahoo. "This way, they're free to work with more than one ad serving technology, much like with Atlas, PointRoll and DoubleClick for display. If they also want search or display across properties in Yahoo as part of the deal, we can facilitate that, too. It's all in line with one of our core goals of becoming a 'must-buy' for advertisers."
Both NeoEdge and DoubleFusion will represent games across genres and demographics to ensure that they each can offer advertisers optimal reach. Laughlin said that the roster of available games is set to expand to 400 by the end of the year, due in part to the scalability of Double Fusion and NeoEdge's ad-insertion platforms.
"One of the reasons Yahoo worked with us is that we can process ads in casual games quickly and efficiently," said Alex Terry, CEO of Mountain View, Calif.-based NeoEdge. "There's no work required on the publisher or advertiser side and no source code or software development integration issues."
Laughlin added that Yahoo would be retooling the games portal to give users more customized access to the gaming catalog. "One thing we do well is distribute content," he said. "So in the next six months, you'll see Yahoo Games move toward offering a more relevant starting point for users. We'll be able to take information about what games they're playing and other things they're doing on- and off-network to create a highly customized gaming experience."