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Can Yahoo! Hang On in the Ad Market?

Despite executive turmoil, it still sells billions in display ads
Very old school display advertising
Very old school display advertisingPhotograph by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

It’s all the rage to predict the demise of online display ads and Yahoo!, the company that pioneered the business. Display advertising is the old man of online marketing—website banners are much less fashionable than, say, a personalized coupon delivered to your smartphone. Yahoo has had years of stagnation and leadership crises, the latest being Chief Executive Officer Scott Thompson’s résumé inflation.

And yet display advertising is still chugging along, even at Yahoo. The company’s sales force sells truckloads of display ads to an array of major brands—Tide, Target, Visa, to name a few—that would be the envy of every online publisher. Last year, Yahoo brought in an estimated $1.3 billion in display advertising in the U.S., according to EMarketer, up slightly from $1.2 billion in 2009. “Yahoo has tremendous traffic and user engagement globally,” writes Forrester Research’s Shar VanBoskirk in a recent report.