SUNNYVALE, California: Troubled search titan Yahoo has announced the launch of a revamped online advertising platform – monickered APT – that will provide participating portals with the ability to sell targeted ads on their own websites.

The new system – which is currently based around display ads – has been in development for two years, and Yahoo claims that the ability to offer tailored ads to specific audiences has the potential to drive-up advertising revenues.

In time, APT will allow users to sell advertising space on Yahoo's own sites, as well as those of other members, in the hope that third parties may be able to generate higher prices through their contacts with relevant clients.

Another planned future innovation is to provide a “self-service” version of the system for advertisers and agencies, enabling them to buy advertising space across a large number of different websites.

Newspapers are the initial target for APT, with Yahoo aiming to have hundreds of titles signed-up by the end of this year, before rolling-out to publishers and advertising networks and agencies in 2009.

WPP Group and Havas have previously announced agreements with Yahoo to develop platforms that make buying digital ads easier, while Publicis launched its own VivaKi system earlier this year, linking available ad space from Google, Yahoo, Microsoft and AOL.

Curt Hecht, president of the VivaKi Nerve Center, said: "For us, we've already got something going with Yahoo, and I'm not sure this changes that strategy."

"The news is more a continued statement along the line that digital media is really hard to buy. We need to make it easier."

Data sourced from Wall Street Journal Online; additional content by WARC staff