Yahoo! Acquires Bluelithium

It never ceases to amaze me how important metrics are to a company. Is Facebook important because people are on it, or more likely, because of the wealth of data that Facebook has collected about each and every user and because of the super-easy way you can target ads directly to that user, theoretically? Well, I suppose it’s a bit of both… You want a network to be full of hyper-interested persons, but you also want to catch them at their most vulnerable (while decompressing with friends) and you want to be able to tightly target ads to them at the same time.

With that intro, I would like to let you know that Jerry Yang, our Chief Yahoo, sent us an email this eve with the announcement that Yahoo! was buying Bluelithium. I can’t say I’m surprised, considering what they do:

With more than 100 employees, including computer scientists and researchers, BlueLithium is known for providing powerful data analytics to help customers get the most out of their campaigns as well as impressive behavioral targeting capabilities. They provide the dashboards and insights our performance customers have been asking for — capabilities that have been a bit of an Achilles heel for us.

Bluelithium is the fifth largest advertising network in the US and the second largest in the UK, according to PaidContent. The purchase price, again says PaidContent, was in the neighborhood of $300M. It appears that Bluelithium, if it is truly what it is hyped to be, can help Y! deliver much more relevant ads, and can more specifically allow advertisers to target specific segments of users to make their advertising dollars more meaningful.

I’ve said this before, if most web-savvy users do not click ads, and more and more users are being classified as ‘savvy’ then we have to turn the current model on it’s ear. We have to deliver better ads; more targeted; more useful; more succinct. Advertising shouldn’t be about removing borders and adding images to TRICK people to click ads. Ads should be so damn useful, that they are a HELP to the user and not something we have to fool them into using. When ads become user-focused, and not advertiser focused, we all see increased clicks and increased sales. Customers are happy because they found what they were looking to buy and advertisers are happy because their sales have gone through the roof. Let’s stop looking at what used to work and look at what SHOULD work.

Now, though advertising is a passion of mine, that’s definitely NOT what I am involved in at Yahoo! I’m a customer-facing, community nerd with advertising only entering my radar in knowing that it makes my paycheck possible. However, I can’t help but think, especially after the RightMedia acquisition, that Yahoo! is making a concerted effort at challenging the big G at their own game of dominating advertising online.

Of course, depending on the guys/gals at the top, that remains to be seen, but I do think that today is a good day for Y!

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