For a long time, Yahoo was the king of display ads, i.e. every ad except text ads that Google used to rely on the most. In the last few years, it's been overtaken by both Facebook and Google. Yahoo still has a lot of users and is able to generate a decent revenue from them.
It may not last, one rather informal study showed that Yahoo is displaying less and less ads on one of its most visited page, the login page.
A couple of years ago, some people at Yahoo made the brilliant realization that what people really want when they reach the login page is not to get through it as soon as possible, but to sit around for a while and enjoy the huge banner ads and videos that they found there.
Annoying or not, the login page got some 26 million visitors each day and probably sees a similar number today. A year ago, the page, which is rented by the day, had an ad on it 86 percent of the time.
This year, in the first half of the fourth quarter, the fill rate has gone down to 44 percent.
This doesn't necessarily mean Yahoo is making half as much money from it, since the ad rates could have gone up. Even so, it's unlikely that Yahoo is not feeling the drop.
On the other hand, maybe it's time to drop the ad altogether, with Marissa Mayer in charge, Yahoo will start seeing some changes.
At Google, she was in charge of the user experience for many years and she's one of the big reasons why Google obsessed over minute design details.
A huge ad that slows people down when they try to login may be great for short-term revenue, but it could lead to plenty of users not logging in at all.