First Look: Genome from Yahoo!

Yahoo! may have it’s hands full with Dan Loeb of Third Point, whose recent success has triggered Scott Thompson’s exit as CEO and removed three board members, but life rolls on with the release of Genome.  For more on the corporate governance story, keep reading.

At Internet Week New York (https://www.internetweekny.com/), Yahoo!, announced Genome (www.genomeplatform.com), an online advertising solution that combines Yahoo! data with interclick’s third party data and advertisers’ first party data along with a premium media footprint to provide marketers with a complete, custom audience solution. Due to be released in July 2012, Genome is the culmination of the display ad agreement between Microsoft and AOL as well as the acquisition of interclick (http://www.interclick.com/), which Yahoo! acquired in December 2011, to create a next generation audience buying solution with greater targeting and personalization capabilities.

Designed to leverage data to improve ROI to advertisers, Genome provides marketers with a holistic view of consumers. Genome delivers the largest set of aggregated data and empowers marketers by showing which data is the most valuable to use and where to use it. By providing a 3D view of consumers and the media needed to enable marketers to capitalize on the best possible outcomes.

Genome combines the best of the technology, data, analytics and media from Yahoo! and interclick; from Yahoo! — premium media and unmatched user data with proven targeting capabilities– and interclick — unified technology stack, third-party data partnerships and expertise in analytics and audiences. Genome’s proprietary data valuation platform can ingest and combine Yahoo! user data, marketer’s CRM data, and third-party data sources to create the most optimal audience combinations at scale. Genome delivers outstanding insight by implementing “always on” integrations with over 25 third-party data partners and combining that with Yahoo!’s proprietary search, registrations, and behavioral user data. In addition, Genome can integrate custom CRM databases and combine it with Genome’s data to create the most optimal audience combinations at scale. Genome delivers far more than access to data; recommending, managing, exploring, and creating targeted audiences to meet every marketing need, with the utmost efficiency.

“Marketers have asked us for a solution that capitalizes on our vast data and our answer to that is Genome,” said Rich Riley, EVP, Americas Region, Yahoo!. “With Genome, we can help marketers transform consumer information and insights into actionable online media executions that enable them to attain the right context and audiences.”

By leveraging this wide lens into audiences, Genome knows more about who customers are, what they are into the most, and builds a custom program that fits any marketing need with maximum performance.

As a recognized leader in developing privacy-enhancing tools for consumers and a member of the NAI and DAA, Yahoo! understands the importance of consumer trust and privacy. Yahoo! provides transparency about their data collection and use practices and extends several tools to empower consumers to manage their experience, such as a global opt-out, Ad Interest Manager for visibility and control over specific interest categories, and is among the first in the world to support ‘Do Not Track’ (http://donottrack.us/).

While Genome certainly sounds like a clear winner in delivering new marketing driven web analytics, time will tell and we look forward to taking it for a test drive when it comes out in July.  There are however a few notable hoops to jump through.

As described in their terms of service (TOS), there are minimum traffic requirements for marketers to maintain eligibility. “Interclick.com reserves the right to terminate Publisher’s relationship with interclick.com immediately should either (a) the number of Impressions delivered by Publisher total less than 4,000 per month, or (b) the unique Click Through rate equals .25% or less for any fourteen (14) consecutive calendar day period, or (c) Publisher’s traffic falls below the threshold established by interclick.com from time to time.”

You should also be aware that, according to the TOS, there are placement limitations. “Creative may NOT be placed on any root URL not specifically approved for membership within the Network. No member will place ads on blank pages, on pages with no content, on top of one another, on non-approved Websites, or in such a fashion that may be deceptive to the visitor. Creative cannot be placed in email messages. Creatives may not be placed on forums, chat rooms, and other entities that the site owner does not have complete control of. In addition, all creative must be placed in such a manner that a majority of visitors will notice the creative.”

If you’re already using Genome, give us your impressions and when we get access, we’ll be sure to let you know ours.

To sum up the aforementioned Yahoo! governance issues, Loeb led a proxy battle to oust board directors Roy Bostock, Patti Hart, Gary Wilson, Arthur Kern and Vyomesh Joshi.  Loeb will become a director along with Third Point nomimees Harry J. Wilson, and Michael J. Wolf.  Thompson’s exit from the company stemmed from Loeb’s discovery that a computer science degree listed among his credentials was in fact false.  Further, Chairman of the Search committee which hired Thompson, was director Hart whose published bios said she held a bachelor’s degree in marketing and economics. Yahoo later clarified that Hart received a bachelor’s degree in business administration, with specialties in marketing and economics, from Illinois State University.

Ross Levinsohn has been named the interim CEO.  Levinsohn is a veteran of the ad world, having forged strong alliances with executives at Madison Avenue agencies that represent the biggest ad spenders.  In a memo to Yahoo’s staff on Sunday, Mr. Levinsohn said “today’s announcements lay to rest the unfortunate and serious distractions surrounding our senior leadership and the composition of our Board going forward.” He added: “In spite of the very bumpy road we’ve traveled, we are achieving genuine and meaningful successes in the marketplace every day and heading in the right direction.”

It remains to be seen whether or not Loeb and the new directors can point Yahoo! in a stronger direction, but at least it appears that the corporate board room and top executive position have been fortified, for now.

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