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Amazon Enters Contextual Ad Market

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Amazon has started a beta test where it places contextual ads on third-party published sites, similar to those delivered by Yahoo or Google in their networks.

Amazon Enters Contextual Ad Market
Amazon Enters Contextual Ad Market

Editor’s Note: Can Amazon.com make gains in online advertising at Google’s expense? Could Amazon convince you to join its network, keeping in mind that you would have to dump AdSense to do so? Contextualize your thoughts at WebProWorld.

Everyone thought MSN would be the next major web power to deliver contextual ads and share revenue in a network of sites. How wrong we were. Amazon has joined the game well ahead of MSN’s forthcoming breakup with Overture in favor of its adCenter service.

The news about Amazon’s ad aspirations broke when Website Publisher founder Chris Beasley blogged about being chatted up by the massive online retailer to take part in their test:

They’ve been contacting select members of their associates programs, including myself, asking if we’d like to be beta testers. The way they want the beta test to work is to give you a special code for Amazon’s Keywords Recommends banners (the banners that you feed a keyword to and they show related products) and have this special code then show these new ads 50% of the time.

When I first heard about this I thought it’d be Amazon product listings displayed in an Adsense-like way and I figured it’d analyze your content for for products to serve, but they’d be Amazon products. Turns out I was wrong, they want their own contextual advertising network.


Beasley turned down Amazon’s proposal, because it would mean having to dispense with his existing Google AdSense ads, which he cited as being “just too profitable for me.”

The story quickly made the rounds online, and Amazon officially confirmed the existence of the program with the ClickZ news site:

“We believe that by working with a third-party to provide Associates with links to relevant Web sites, in addition to products on Amazon, that we can help them make more money from their sites,” Andrew Herdener, an Amazon spokesperson, told ClickZ in an e-mail exchange. “This will help us maintain long-term relationships with our Associates community that provides an important source of traffic to Amazon sites.”


Beasley’s example demonstrated the problem Amazon will encounter with established AdSense sites. However, with so many new blogs being added each day, Amazon could try promoting its contextual ad program to new bloggers instead of trying to get existing Associates to ditch AdSense.

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David Utter is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business.

Amazon Enters Contextual Ad Market
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