Yahoo wins Bebo ad deal

Yahoo! is to handle advertising for the UK and Ireland sites of Bebo, one of the largest social networks in the world. This is the the first such deal for the portal giant which until now had failed to get an advertising foothold in the rapidly expanding social networking arena. Yahoo was previously rumored to be in talks to acquire Bebo for $1 billion in May, so they clearly came to a different arrangement.

Yahoo will sell the majority of display and video advertising to an audience of over 11.6 million members. The deal also involved Yahoo integrating Yahoo Answers into the Bebo site and providing a new Bebo toolbar that allows users to monitor their social network when they are not on the site.

Toby Coppel, managing director of Yahoo Europe, is describing the win as “a big deal” but financial terms were not disclosed. The length of the agreement is described as multi-year.

Last year Google won $1bn deal to sell advertising on Myspace, while Facebook opted for Microsoft. The older Friendster network inked a deal with Google earlier this year.

Right now Bebo is the UK and Ireland’s most popular social networking site with 11.6 million users and 38 million users worldwide. Bebo’s average audience ranges from 13 to 24 years old.

Yahoo has made two other advertising-driven acquisitions this year: Right Media and BlueLithium.