Adobe introduced a free “Ads for PDF” program that allows content publishers to monetize PDF documents that are distributed online via email or websites.

Like Google AdSense, Adobe will show contextual ads when the PDF file is viewed inside Adobe Reader or Acrobat Writer – publishers make money from the PDF file when readers click on those ads. Surprisingly, there’s no talk about Adobe Digital Editions, the original advertising-supported PDF viewer.

adobe pdf advertising

To enable ads in your eBooks and other PDF files, publishers will just have upload their document to Adobe website. When people download and open that ad-enabled PDF file in Acrobat or Adobe Writer, they’ll see contextual ads inside the PDF.

And unlike the current model where publishers make money only when you download the digital book or magazine, this will be a transaction based model – publishers can generate revenue each time their document is viewed in the PDF viewer.

For a demo and other details, visit Adobe Labs, PR and FAQ [pdf].

There are still a few pieces in the “Ads for PDF” puzzle that are yet to be solved:

1. What happens when you download an advertising enabled Adobe PDF document from the web and then go offline. Will the PDF still load in Acrobat or Adobe Reader without ads ?

2. Adobe is using Yahoo! Publisher network for contextual ads that is offered only in US – Will users from other countries like UK or India get to download these ad enabled PDFs ?

3. Will Adobe accept small publishers (like bloggers) in the program many of whom provide their blog posts in PDF formats (including this blog).

Overall, Adobe Ads for PDF is a great step forward as we will soon get access to tons of new digital content for free (ad supported) and publishers will still be able to monetize their content.