Is Panama coming earlier than expected?

Yahoo! looks to be gearing up for the release of its upcoming Y!SM Panama upgrade by sending emails to advertisers urging them to update their profile information in preparation for the “complete upgrade and redesign” of their accounts.

Is this just a preliminary step or can we expect to see signs of Panama before the delayed fourth quarter release date?

Y!SM advertiser Mark Barrera, known as Masterlink2 in the forums, was told by his rep that the switchover would begin in October and continue through the beginning of 2007.

He stated:

“I was told that the switch over will begin in October and continue into the beginning of next year. They sent out the emails because this is a month away and they want to prepare advertisers for the switch – nothing is coming any sooner than October. He also mentioned some “hand-holding” system that they will be talking about more in the near future to help advertisers transition into the new platform. He said the time that each account is rolled into the new system is random and you can choose not to transition at the time they request but you do eventually have to switch into the new system by some point – but he didn’t specify by what date.”

Of course, we don’t know if all advertisers will begin to see rumblings of the rollout in October or just a select few, as claimed in a WebmasterWorld thread a couple weeks ago.

The WMW thread stated that advertisers who were present and left cards with Y!SM reps during SES San Jose would be given early access to the new interface [Nick Guastella, our PPC expert, confirms this is true]. That doesn’t seem entirely fair, but if it means we’ll get to see leaked snapshots of Yahoo!’s new interface, so be it. I’m very anxious to see what the new platform will look like, and so are advertisers.

Demos of the new system have left experts very impressed. Known features include instant ad activation; ad testing; better wildcard targeting; geo-targeting maps that will show areas targeted as clicked on (or not); campaign budgeting, forecasting and scheduling; and a completely redesigned, easy-to-navigate control panel to help advertisers see what’s working and what’s not.

Advertisers will also notice the disappearance of the View Bids tool, which will be replaced by slides that advertisers can move back and forth to view different prices and estimated traffic.

You can read a copy of the email Yahoo! is sending out to advertisers over at Search Engine Roundtable.

Lisa Barone is a writer, content marketer & VP of strategy at Overit Media. She's also a very active Twitterer, much to the dismay of the rest of the world.

See Lisa's author page for links to connect on social media.

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