One of the unique contextual ad programs, Ads for Adobe PDF has been discontinued and will cease serving ads on March 31, 2009. Ads for Adobe PDF was unique in that it served contextually targeted ads in Adobe PDF files, with the ads being served by Yahoo.
Thank you for your early adopter support and participation in the Ads for Adobe PDF Beta program. Unfortunately, due to a reassessment of priorities in the current economic environment, Adobe is discontinuing the program effective March 31, 2009.
I had heard rumors that the program was ceasing, which I found disappointing because it did have a lot of potential if it was approached the right way. I have spoken on many panels with Cynthia Tillo of Adobe Systems, and she was always quite excited about the potential of advertising in PDFs.
For publishers running the advertising on PDFs, if you chose to only display your PDF when the ads were also displayed, viewers will no longer be able to view the content within the PDF after March 31, 2009. If you chose to allow the PDF to display whether ads were displayed or not, the PDFs will continue to view correctly, but there will no longer be ads displayed. Hans A. Koch published the letter he received from Adobe on the discontinuing of the program.
I think one of the problems with this program was the fact it was attracting larger publishers, while if they had targeted many smaller scale publishers who were publishing eBooks (either paid or free) that the program could have been much more successful, not to mention viral. However, it is likely that targeting issues on a larger scale could have prevented this program from being feasible. After all, do you really want to read a free SEO ebook with a bunch of payday loans and mesothelioma ads 😉 Because yes, you know people would push that!
It will be interesting to see if maybe Google picks up on this program. It hasn’t been a secret that YPN has targeting issues (not to mention all the other issues plaguing Yahoo over the last year), so perhaps Google could up the ante with better targeting as well as being scalable to work for smaller publishers who publish their own ebooks.
Hat tip to Digital Inspiration