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Yahoo’s Q4 Better Than Expected – Panama Fully Deploying Feb 5



Yahoo just released their Q4 numbers, and their profit is better than expected. Revenue was up 13% to $1.7 billion and profit was $268.7 million for the 3 month period.

If not for certain tax benefits, Yahoo said it would have earned 16 cents per share, exceeding the average analyst estimate by 3 cents per share, according to Thomson Financial.

I still think that a successful launch of the new paid search platform and algorithm will be a huge boost for Yahoo and help them close the gap on Google in 2007.

Now all eyes turn to Google to see what their numbers will be.

UPDATE: Rob Hof must be listening to the conference call as he has further news that Yahoo will fully deploy the new ad platform on Feb 5th.

UPDATE 2: Official word from Yahoo…

Yahoo! Inc. (Nasdaq: YHOO), a leading global Internet brand and one of the most trafficked Internet destinations worldwide, today announced that it will launch its new search marketing ranking model in the U.S. on Monday, February 5. With the new ranking model, all Yahoo! search marketing ads in the U.S. will be ranked by quality in addition to keyword bid price. As a result, Yahoo! will be able to provide a more relevant search experience to users, more valuable customer leads to advertisers, and additional opportunities to its distribution partners.

“Yahoo! is very excited to introduce our new, more quality-focused ranking model because it has the power to significantly enhance the experience we deliver to our users and unlock the full potential of Yahoo!’s search marketing network,” said Terry Semel, chief executive officer, Yahoo! Inc. “With this important piece in place our new search marketing system will allow Yahoo! to more effectively connect people with the businesses, products, services and information they are passionate about.”

To date, search ads on Yahoo! and its distribution partner sites have been ranked solely by bid price – the higher the bid, the higher an ad appears within the search results. When the new ranking model goes into effect, both bid and the ad’s quality together will determine where an ad appears in the search results. The quality of an ad will be determined by its historical performance in the new system and its expected performance relative to other ads displayed at the same time. Ads of higher quality will generally receive better placement on the results page.

“By encouraging advertisers to focus on the quality of their ads, we can deliver a better search experience for all of our customers. Everybody wins.” said Tim Cadogan, Yahoo!’s vice president, search marketing. “We firmly believe that delivering more relevant ads to users will result in more quality leads to advertisers, invite even more participation in our network and ultimately create a more valuable marketplace for users, advertisers, publishers and Yahoo!.”

With this change, Yahoo! is providing advertisers with industry-leading marketplace visibility and features that allow them to better understand their performance and make informed marketing decisions. Advertisers who have upgraded to the new system (code named “Panama”) can gauge the quality of their ads by viewing the prominently displayed quality index within the Panama application. Yahoo! also provides advertisers with an estimated average position and estimated forecast of clicks for their ad campaigns, based on budget allocation and ad quality.

As a result of its customer-focused approach, Yahoo! continues to receive positive feedback about its new system and the upgrade experience.

“Internet search marketing is one of the most important ways in which our automotive customers connect with vehicle buyers, and Yahoo!’s Panama system makes it even easier for us to deliver that connection,” said John Holt, CEO of The Cobalt Group, a leading provider of marketing services to the automotive industry. “The transition to Yahoo!’s new system has been seamless for us, our clients are responding very positively to the new features, and we’re fully prepared to help our customers maximize the quality of their ads when Yahoo! switches over to its new relevancy-based ranking model.”

Yahoo! will continue to send upgrade invitations to advertisers in the U.S. throughout Q1 2007 and anticipates that all active U.S. advertisers will be upgraded to the new system by the end of the quarter. Advertisers that wish to schedule their upgrade as early as possible can make a request through the upgrade reservation page: http://advision.webevents.yahoo.com/newsponsoredsearch/invite/.

Yahoo! plans to begin the roll out of the new platform in non-US markets in Q2 2007. International rollout will be conducted on a market-by-market basis and will follow a similar process as in the U.S. by introducing the system interface first, followed by the new ranking model.