Microsoft, Yahoo! and AOL have set up an advertising partnership meant to take on the growing dominance of Google and Facebook in the online ad sector.
The agreements will allow ad networks operated by Yahoo!, Microsoft and AOL to offer each other's nonreserved online display inventory to their respective advertising customers.
Agencies and advertisers can continue to choose to partner across Yahoo! Network Plus, AOL's Advertising.com and the Microsoft Media Network, the companies said in a statement.
"We're thrilled to partner with Microsoft and AOL and bring to market what we believe will be a more efficient, effective and more effortless way to access true premium inventory and formats," said Ross Levinsohn, Yahoo! executive vice president Americas. "There has a been a significant shift in how inventory is bought and sold, and we?re now 100 percent focused on controlling our own destiny, working directly with marketers and agencies and driving better returns for our advertising partners."
"Enhancing choice and scale in today's display advertising market is 'a rising tide that lifts all boats'," said Rik van der Kooi, corporate vice president of the Microsoft Advertising Business Group. "This partnership will create an opportunity where advertisers and publishers alike can benefit from easier access to - and demand for - high-quality inventory. The fact that we?re joining together to offer this kind of access to quality - yet each with our own differentiated ad offerings - is something that will benefit the market as a whole."
By integrating one another's real-time bidding (RTB) technologies to facilitate the availability of nonreserved inventory by early 2012, Yahoo!, Microsoft and AOL expect to have the opportunity to access each other's nonreserved inventory to achieve the benefits of scale and efficiency. The Microsoft Advertising Exchange and Yahoo's! Right Media Exchange will initially serve as the two marketplaces from which the partners can procure this inventory for resale to advertisers and agencies. AOL may, at its discretion, opt to use its own exchange technology solution subsequent to the launch of the partnership.
Under the terms of the nonexclusive agreements, the companies will continue to make their own decisions, differentiate their offerings and set their own controls for how they operate any exchanges, ad networks or other aspects of their display businesses. In addition, they will "compete" with each other for both advertiser spend and publisher partners based on their own product differentiators.
Effective in the United States, the partnership is based on the premise of audience-based selling across a large number of sites and is not expected to affect direct sales made by each partner's respective internal teams. In addition to the United States, Yahoo! and AOL will have an agreement that extends to Canada. Microsoft's Canada business is not participating directly in the agreement.