Yahoo announced Monday that its Panama search advertising platform is now open to third parties.
Under Panama, which was launched in February, sponsored search results are based on items such as relevancy and not just on the advertiser's bid price.
Through its new Yahoo Search Marketing Commercial API Program, both businesses and individual developers have access to a series of application program interfaces (APIs) so that they can tweak the Panama platform to suit their individual needs.
The company is offering three levels of partnership, ranging from a free "basic" deal for small advertising agencies and technology companies, to "advanced" and "elite" levels with varying subscription rates.
All participants in the Panama APIs, regardless of partnership level, have access to the software platform and any related technical support. Advanced partners also have account management support and a listing in Yahoo's partner directory.
Elite partners, according to Yahoo, can "leverage the Panama platform, resources and brand via regular business review, product council, road map coordination and joint marketing activities." The inaugural Elite partners in the API program include SearchIgnite, Efficient Frontier, Omniture and The Search Agency.
Yahoo launched Panama earlier this year as a direct competitor to Google's successful advertising programs. So far, Panama's biggest success has been a deal with media giant Viacom to provide sponsored search and contextual ads to 33 of its entertainment sites. Viacom, meanwhile, is famously at odds with Google over a billion-dollar copyright infringement lawsuit over YouTube video clips.
In another strategic move to bolster its place in the online advertising market, Yahoo purchased ad exchange Right Media in late April.