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Yahoo serving up search ads on mobile phones

Company launches beta of sponsored search listings on cell phones in the United States and United Kingdom.

Yahoo on Wednesday launched a beta version of sponsored search results on mobile phones in the United States and United Kingdom.

Like Yahoo's sponsored search results on the Web, advertisers will bid in an auction on keywords that will display their ads on the search results page. The service will work on most mobile phones and handhelds that have Web browsing capabilities.

Clicking on the link will take a user to the advertiser's mobile Web site or a landing page that offers more information, including the ability to call the advertiser, Yahoo said.

The test will be open to a "select group" of advertisers, Yahoo said.

The major search engines are eyeballing the mobile advertising market, which promises to be lucrative. Experts say consumers using their mobile phones to search the Web are likely to wind up making a transaction ultimately by visiting a retail store, restaurant or other merchant.

Yahoo has previously run tests of mobile ads in Japan and the United Kingdom and Google also has conducted tests of mobile ads in Europe and Japan. AOL also offers sponsored links on AOL Mobile Search for some results, an AOL representative said.

Also on Wednesday, Reuters reported that NTT DoCoMo will add Yahoo Japan search services for its mobile customers. It previously said it will include search technologies from 10 search engines, including Google, the report said.