Yahoo to sell Bebo's display advertising

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Yahoo has announced that it will sell most of the display advertising for Britain's online social network, Bebo.

While this agreement may simply be the latest move in an ongoing acquisition battle to dominate the Internet advertising market, Yahoo's move gives US advertisers a doorway to the British market.

The agreement covers the sale and serving of display advertising, integration of Yahoo Answers and a toolbar for users to manage their Bebo activities.

Bebo has an estimated 11.6 million users. The company did not respond to press inquiries.

Yahoo media relations representative Grant Thomas said US advertisers can target British Bebo users as a result of this partnership.

"Bebo is the No.1 social network in the UK and Ireland and has become the online destination for the elusive 13-to-24 year-old demographic," said Joanna Shields, president, international at Bebo, in a statement. "The partnership with Yahoo enables us to focus on custom sponsorship campaigns and groundbreaking original productions, with the knowledge that our display advertising is handled by a partner that guarantees the highest quality ad for each user interaction. Yahoo's scale, experienced sales force, advertiser relationships and industry-leading online advertising capabilities will allow us to do just that."

Yahoo Answers will be integrated into Bebo's site, allowing users to ask and answer questions posed by other users within the Bebo community and beyond. Yahoo and Bebo have also announced the development of a new Bebo Toolbar enabling users to monitor their social network even when they are not on the Bebo site.

The site, launched in 2005, has been the source of many acquisition rumors - most notably with Viacom. Back in May there was a rumor that Yahoo was looking to buy the social site for $1 billion.

This announcement comes on the heals of last week's news that the Web giant struck a deal to buy BlueLithium, the fifth-largest US online advertising network, for $300 million in cash - a deal that expands Yahoo's share of the display and advertising market to include an additional 145 million unique visitors per month.

Toby Coppel, managing director of Yahoo Europe, said this partnership is the next step in Yahoo's ongoing strategy to build the largest and most effective online advertising network.

With this announcement, Yahoo joins rivals Google, which has an ad agreement with MySpace, and Microsoft, which has a similar agreement with Facebook.

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