Chances are that you don’t remember that Yahoo used to have a display ad network. If you happen to, I’m willing to bet that you’re in a very small minority of Internet users who do. The experiment, as it were, got killed back in March of 2010. But Yahoo believes that there’s still work to be done here, so today it has partnered with Media.net to launch Yahoo! Bing Network Contextual Ads.

Yeah, that’s a mouthful of a name.

But the naming convention in use here tells us more about the partnership as well. The Yahoo and Microsoft Search Alliance dates back to 2009. Unfortunately for both sides of the deal, the revenues have been soft, leading some to question whether Yahoo could head back to Google to power its search.

The Media.net partnership throws a wrench into that well-oiled rumor machine, and Yahoo believes that there’s still room in the display ad market for another major player outside of Google. Though I’d argue the PR statement of “No one is the dominant player,” it’s absolutely true that the market is huge and there’s wiggle room remaining.

The up shot for Yahoo in this deal is that it doesn’t have to do any of the heavy lifting. Media.net has been a long-time runner in the display ad space, and the Yahoo partnership simply allows it to reach more customers with its existing tools. According to Media.net CEO Divyank Turakhia, “Teaming up with Yahoo! allows us to offer web publishers with a solution that generates additional revenue for them and provides customization, control and flexibility that they would like.”

Yes, you read that correctly – “web publishers”. That means the little guys. The partnership is aimed squarely at Google’s AdSense product, and it’s even more interesting when you consider former Googler Marissa Mayer’s new position as Yahoo’s CEO.

Yahoo Bing Network Contextual Ads

Image: Justin Sullivan / Getty Images