Yahoo! Acquires Bread, a URL Shortener and Ad Service

Yahoo! has acquired Bread, a two-year-old URL shortening company that allowed users to incorporate interstitial ads [or ads that would pop up in a separate window on top of the linked content] into the links they had shortened. The start-up had raised $3.5 million but began searching for prospective buyers when it became low on cash earlier this year, according to TechCrunch.

Bread posted the news on its Web site on Friday, revealing that although the service and its products, namely Bread Social and Bread Oven, have been shut down, the shortened URLs Bread had generated will remain live until November 11 of this year. Bread CEO Alan Chan also recommended that publishers replace Bread links with ones from Bitly.

Bread's basic functionality allowed users to create customizable ads called "Toasts," which could be attached to any link that a user believed would generate clicks. After selecting the link and running it through the bread URL shortener, the user could then share the link through social media. Each person who clicked on the link, however unrelated to the advertised content, would see the interstitial ad for five seconds before being redirected to the link's actual content. Basic Toasts with few images were free to use, but in 2012 the service began testing a premium product, Bread Pro, that let users build media-rich billboards.

The company had 10 employees, but Yahoo! confirms that six engineers and product managers will join its advertising technology team once the acquisition is complete.

"We have acquired Bread, a company that created a simple way for social media influencers and publishers to monetize their content. The team's focus on delivering creative and targeted advertising across social media, desktop and mobile devices aligns perfectly with our mission to delight and inspire users," according to a company statement.

Chan shares the sentiment. "In Yahoo!, we found a company that shares our vision. We are thrilled to join Yahoo!'s advertising team in Sunnyvale, where we will be working on developing next-generation solutions for social and mobile publishers and advertisers," he says.

The Bread acquisition is just the latest in a series of moves by Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer. Earlier this year, Yahoo acquired Tumblr for more than $1 billion. No financial details on Yahoo's Bread purchase are available.

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