Yahoo brings Panama to the Philippines
In a press conference this morning at the Hotel Intercon, Yahoo! Philippines General Manager Jojo Anonuevo formally announced Yahoo’s Sponsored Search marketing product (codename: Panama).
In May 2006, Yahoo announced it’s project codenamed Panama which aimed to compete with Google AdWords. It was first rolled out in the US last December 2007 and the introduction to the Philippine market brings some minor feature additions.
- Geo-targeting to specific countries.
- Option to choose between Yahoo’s content network or search network.
- Introduction of Philippine-based partner Publishers. These are yet to be announced but I reckon it could be the bigger players (re: news and media sites).
- Lower minimum bid of $0.01 (it used to be $0.10). Google AdWords’ minimum bid is $0.05.
Note though that these feature are already staple for AdWords. The only benefit advertisers get is the dirt cheap minimum bid price. Theoretically, you can buy 5 times more traffic on Panama than on AdWords — an advantage that could convince many advertisers to switch.
Some of my more technical question were not clearly answered but here’s what I see is lacking or still in the works:
- Localized support. Yahoo reps admit that phone support will still come from Singapore, where their regional office is located. Anonuevo confirms plan to put up Philippine office but does not provide any tentative date.
- Denomination. Payments are still in US dollars. I was actually expecting that ad budgeting to be in Philippine peso. The erratic peso-dollar conversion rates could turn-off local advertisers.
- Certification. The team wasn’t familiar with Yahoo Search Marketing Ambassador (a certification equivalent to Google AdWords Professional, GAP).
Anonuevo’s presentation revealed some intriguing stats about usage of Yahoo services in the Philippines. One example is their claim that Yahoo dominates in local search — 83% uses Yahoo search, 54% Google and 7% MSN (there are overlaps of course but they didn’t indicate how much). There are other stats on instant messaging, email usage, etc. but I wasn’t able to write down everything from the PowerPoint presentation (will just update this post once I receive a copy of the PPT).
My focus was actually on the content network which will include local publishers. They said they have a list which will be released later on. With this development, I hope that the Yahoo Publishers Network (YPN) will follow suit and they’d allow bloggers to finally get into their ad network. It’s been more than 2 years since I first applied for it.