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Coming soon to a PDF near you -- live advertisements

Many internet users, particularly those in research related fields, spend large amounts of time perusing PDFs that make up much of the internet's vast online resources.  Now these helpful documents may have a new friend, in the form of live internet ads, thanks to a partnership between Yahoo and Adobe.

Yahoo, which has been aggressively looking to expand its advertising resources to compete with rival Google, can count this one as a real victory.  Before today only static ads were possible in PDF.

The new service is being pushed by the Ads for Adobe PDF powered by Yahoo campaign, announced today.

While the ads may bring a bothersome annoyance to some previously ad-free documents, which had previously been free of advertisements, they may have beneficial effects as well.  Scientific journals may elect to put their content online for free, subsidized by advertisement revenue.  The benefits or merits of this are debatable, but many will feel that the more available information, the better.

The service is entering its beta phase.  Adobe has announced Yahoo is its exclusive ad provider at least for the beta phase, but has not announced when the beta phase will end or if it will open up to other advertisers, such as Google.

All PDF content providers will have to do to participate is upload their documents to an Adobe/Yahoo portal and the documents will be retrofitted with embed ads and returned to the publisher.  Adobe is designing APIs to simplify this process and make it extremely easy and convenient for content publishers.

Ads will appear on an adjacent panel, so won't interfere with the document itself.  The ads will not interfere with document printing, either.  When a user clicks one it will launch a new browser window.  The service currently only supports pay-per-click text ads, but it is planning on expanding to graphical and rich media ads. 

Usage is free for publishers, who can click here to sign up for the beta program.  Publishers can block up to 200 urls they don't want advertising in their PDF.

Yahoo and Adobe's movie is another business deal which will leave some thrilled at the prospect of new content and new revenue, but others fearful of abuse and inconvenience.



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By Chris Peredun on 11/29/2007 4:03:54 PM , Rating: 5
I also wonder how long it will take before a third-party PDF reader comes out that just blatantly ignores the ad panel.




By Devenish on 11/29/2007 4:26:59 PM , Rating: 3
I bet Microsoft/Google are rushing out a search toolbar to do just that.


RE: I wonder if AdBlock and FlashBlock will still work
By RyanM on 11/29/2007 5:03:28 PM , Rating: 4
I guarantee you Foxit Reader and other 3rd party apps are all over this like white on rice.


By Hoser McMoose on 11/29/2007 6:09:18 PM , Rating: 3
Just to follow-up on this, anyone who hasn't tried Foxit Reader yet, I'd HIGHLY recommend it!

It reads probably 99%+ of all PDF files perfectly and does so WITHOUT all the PITA problems that Acrobat Reader has. It's much smaller, lighter and faster than Acrobat but still has basically all the same features for displaying and reading documents.


By GeorgeOrwell on 11/29/2007 6:35:38 PM , Rating: 5
Foxit is great for occasional reading of PDF documents, especially on a system that you don't want to install Adobe Acrobat on, but Foxit's rendering engine is far inferior to Adobe's.

In practice, PDF files look much more appealing when rendered by Adobe Acrobat. Fonts are smoother, text flows better, etc.

Maybe in the future Foxit will offer quality visual rendering. But that day is not today. Unfortunately as Acrobat (Adobe's spyware beachhead) is one thing I would love to uninstall forever.


By fleshconsumed on 11/30/2007 7:43:12 AM , Rating: 2
I see zero difference in FoxIt and Adobe rendering of PDF documents.

The only reason to keep Adobe installed is for compatibility. Unfortunately FoxIt still suffers in this regard and won't render certain PDF documents properly, additionally, some PDFs, such as from INS/IRS are better handled by Adobe. However, if you don't need extended functionality FoxIt is identical in rendering to Adobe and is magnitudes quicker.


By Anonymous Freak on 11/29/2007 10:09:57 PM , Rating: 2
What's up with "white on rice"? I like brown rice, thank you very much.

:-p


By Oregonian2 on 11/29/2007 5:15:58 PM , Rating: 2
Just what I was thinking. Alternatively, I think one might be able to use one's firewall (ZoneAlarm, etc) to not allow Adobe Reader to access the internet (assuming PDFs were downloaded first even if just to a temp-file by a browser). If that doesn't work, maybe a third party program that watches and is a specialized adblocker of sorts.


By Polynikes on 11/29/2007 5:50:33 PM , Rating: 3
Luckily, there's the open source community. I'm sure they'll be all over this.


By Talcite on 11/30/2007 12:43:52 AM , Rating: 2
My thoughts EXACTLY.

I'm so glad that Evince would never allow the use of ads in the documents.


By slashbinslashbash on 11/29/2007 6:56:26 PM , Rating: 2
I wonder if Apple will play along with Preview. I haven't used Acrobat to view PDF's in years, although I've got the full version to edit the occasional PDF for my work.


By mmntech on 11/29/2007 9:45:24 PM , Rating: 3
According to Wikipedia, .PDF is an open standard. It's one of the reasons it can be included in programs like OpenOffice without them being sued for patent infringement. I doubt Apple would put Yahoo ads in Preview. Apple seems to prefer Google.

I use Acrobat Reader on my PC but it's definitely a bloated program. It loads slowly and runs slowly and locks up Firefox while it drags its but trying to load PDF files in browser. I'm not surprised by this move. This seems to be the trend for closed source freeware programs. Well, we can't ignore that advertising is being sneaked into some payware software as well. *cough* EA.


By Anonymous Freak on 11/29/2007 10:11:04 PM , Rating: 2
While Apple seems to prefer Google (well, the CEO of Google is on Apple's board of directors...) they are happy to work with Yahoo, as well. (See: iPhone.)


By GeorgeOrwell on 11/29/2007 10:54:24 PM , Rating: 2
PDF has begun the process this year, 2007, of becoming a bona fide open standard vs. an Adobe owned published specification.

It is not, however, the reason it can be included in Open Office. That is merely because Adobe supports competitors of Microsoft. When Microsoft was going to add PDF support into Microsoft Office, Adobe threatened to sue them and bring anti-trust charges against them.

There is a very real chance that PDF and Microsoft's "OpenXML" will be synonymous in that they are proprietary formats that are being pushed into standards groups just to get the "open standard" rubber stamp.

Likely there will always be "Adobe PDF" and "Open PDF", the latter being a impoverished low functionality format that does not provide much utility and doesn't work properly with "Adobe PDF".

Remember, even if PDF were an open standard, it does not preclude encrypted documents with encrypted ad containers and unlock codes that you need to download from Adobe in order to open documents. Nor does it mean that such a system could not be hacked.


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