ESPN Punts Yahoo, Pings AdSonar Instead

    September 7, 2006
    WebProNews Staff

The ESPN website will stop using Yahoo for its text ads, choosing instead to go with Quigo and its AdSonar product to deliver those advertisements instead.

Quigo picked up a high-profile win for its AdSonar auction-based pay-per-click advertising platform when it scored a deal with the World Wide Leader in Sports, ESPN. AdSonar is used by sites like the online home for Dilbert and other properties.

In announcing the deal today, Quigo chief revenue officer Henry Vogel said, “AdSonar will enable ESPN to capture the full value from its incredible brand equity and provide its advertisers with a new degree of transparency and success.”

The remark about transparency likely refers to how Yahoo and other big search advertising providers keep their proprietary algorithms and most other ad data a secret, even from their clients. ESPN’s motivation for the switch probably comes from a better share of the ad revenue than it received from Yahoo.

ESPN’s parent firm is The Walt Disney Company. The House of Mouse has a pretty healthy reputation at extracting the most money from its investments. An AdAge report on the deal noted some of the history Quigo and Disney share:

Quigo was founded in 2000 with the help of Highland Capital and Steamboat Ventures, the venture capital arm of the Walt Disney Co., which helps build relationships between Disney, ESPN and ABC and the companies in which it invests. The ESPN spokesman said Steamboat’s investment in Quigo did not influence its partnership with “That was not the reason for the deal,” he said.

The explanation makes sense, mostly because Quigo puts the control of the auction, and thus the profits, in ESPN’s hands. Nearly 100 percent of revenue is better than 70 to 80 percent, depending on the previous deal Yahoo had with ESPN.

Now all we need to see is Deadspin bidding for the keyphrase “Chris Berman” in and ad auction and linking to this post on the Deadspin site.

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