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5/21/2006
  Why Yahoo is so late with the new ad system
Greg Sterling excerpts Yahoo's press release enumerating the set of features in their "Panama" ad revamp (est. for early 2007).

Basically Yahoo is building what Google had about a year ago. What Danny Sullivan has called a "generation 2" ad system.

But later in the press release after the tarted-up feature dump, there's a very telling quote from Yahoo's SVP of ad platforms, Steve Mitgang:

"While the enhancements to our platform are dramatic and will provide immediate benefits to our advertisers, we ultimately rebuilt our system with the future in mind," said Mitgang. "Once the first version of the core platform is in place, we will be able to move quickly to build in capabilities that ultimately..."

Ah, the classic: "we needed to rewrite everything from scratch" rationalization. (Cf. Spolsky's opinion on massive rewrites) Usually sold to an organization by the engineering team with the promise that it'll be so much more flexible in the future.

So what you get in early 2007 is a basic ad system with the promise of more flexibility in the future. Maybe Yahoo did need to rewrite the code they bought from Overture. It just didn't need to take 3 years and cost them a billion in revenue while they did it.

 


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