Google Chrome changes how Yahoo Publisher Network ads are displayed

When Google Chrome was released earlier this week, I spent some time checking out how my various websites displayed in Google Chrome, which it seemed to pass with flying colors… that is until I noticed Google Chrome is somehow changing how Yahoo Publisher Network (YPN) ads are displayed.  Instead of the usual format, it is underlining all the text in the entire YPN ad unit, including the title, description and URL.

 First, here is how YPN on one of my websites look when viewed with IE7 & Firefox.


Pretty normal looking.

And here is how it looks when viewed with Google Chrome…

Not too attractive, and definitely not something many surfers would click on when seeing it on a page!  And it made this particular ad unit style very difficult to read with the grey text and blue underlining.

And on another ad unit style, first the normal version:

And the Google Chrome version:

This one is easier to read with the underlining than the first example, but still not an ideal way to display YPN ad units and hope for any kind of decent CTR. 

This was seen on an out-of-the-box non-customized Google Chrome install, it just happened that I rotate YPN on one of my sites so I noticed it right away. But for whatever reason, Google is underlining the ad unit links in blue. But when I first thought maybe it was just automatically underlining links in blue for usability, there are a couple things to consider. First, the ad units are being treated differently, even though YPN and AdSense javascripts have a lot of similarities. Second, the “Ads by Yahoo!” on the ad units are not underlined. Third, I thought perhaps it might be a coding issue on Yahoo’s end, but it seems odd that it renders properly in both IE & Firefox (and as far as I know, all other browsers too) but differently in the Google Chrome browser.

Google Chrome does have some browser options, albiet very limited when compared to IE’s options, but nothing there seemed to have anything that could possibly affect the display of YPN ads.  And I checked it on two different computers, just incase my desktop was being tempermental, but the YPN ads still displayed the underlines on both computers.

 It seems all ad unit sizes were affected, as I checked some other sizes as well, and they all have the underlining in them.

I also checked some Microsoft ContentAds and they are appearing normally, without the added underlining.

Now, just to be clear, I am not jumping on an anti-Google or anti-Chrome conspiracy theory bandwagon.  And I realize Google Chrome is still very much in beta, and like any beta, there are going to be some bugs to fix and tweaks to make.  But I would have thought that someone on the Chrome team would have surely checked to see how YPN looked when doing usability browser testing, as I am fairly certain they would have checked to see how AdSense looked.  Microsoft ContentAds appear to display normally on content sites I have seen. 

 Want to know more about Google Chrome as a browser?  Google’s Matt Cutts has been a blogging binge this week and has done a ton of Chrome related posts, including answers to common Google Chrome objections that is worth a read.

If I hear an update on a fix or if I notice the ads displaying normally, I will post an update and also tweet it on Twitter, if you follow me there.

Update: The problem appears to be Chrome’s use of the Apple Webkit engine, as the issue is apparent when viewing YPN with Safari (for the Mac).  Here is what it looks like, and thank you Netmeg for the screenshot.


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