Has Yahoo! Search Marketing Lost Their Minds?

Imagine selling web traffic as a commodity in a blind auction, while touting its value based on the traffic being targeted, relevant, precise, and trackable. Then imagine taking away the default keyword tool on the internet that has been written about in thousands of marketing books, ebooks, and web pages - and replacing it with nothing. Then imagine signing up some seedy publishing partners that run clickbots against your highest value keywords, and giving them the lion's share of the click "value" on those keywords. Then imagine not making it easy for advertisers to opt out of that "traffic." Then imagine editing your advertisers accounts without their permission to alter ad text and keywords, and only informing some of them about the changes sometime after they take place...with 1 in 5 rejecting the changes!

So inefficient and sloppy. They can call that account optimization, but only in an Orwellian sense. Why not give advertisers the tools to do optimization themselves?

Google offers about a half-dozen public keyword tools, makes it easy to filter out bad traffic, has way more volume, offers enterprise level analytics for free, and does not edit your keywords and ad copy against your permission. Is it any wonder Yahoo! managed to lose hundreds of millions of dollars last quarter, while Google keeps exceeding market expectations - even during a recession?

I just hope that when Yahoo! gets bought out by Microsoft that they keep Site Explorer around for us SEOs, and don't do us as poorly as they did their advertisers. ;)

[update: Danny Sullivan also covered this issue.]

Published: January 29, 2009 by Aaron Wall in yahoo pay per click search engines


January 29, 2009 - 11:11pm

Aaron - I always thought they just did that for my clients ;)

It really pi$$es me off - Google built their empire on less costly clicks.

Yahoo! effed up GoTo which was fantastic back in the day....


January 29, 2009 - 11:48pm

Google's clicks are not less costly...they get more per click (on the real traffic) by not selling you as many shifty clicks as Yahoo! forces you into with their shady business practices.

Andrew Johnson
January 30, 2009 - 4:01am

One of my friends found it very suspicious that a campaign of his from over a year ago suddenly started up again. It ran for about a month before he caught it..

January 30, 2009 - 7:51am

I could understand such behavior if they were not one of the leading websites with a huge traffic stream...I would expect such behavior from some third and fourth tier PPC players, but not from a company with about a 20% search marketshare in the United States...it makes no sense.

January 30, 2009 - 4:41am

Yahoo! Site Explorer - Mother of all Good Times, lets' pray that it survives the course of time.

January 30, 2009 - 1:14pm

If they can do JUST 1 THING – giving advertisers an option of "Yahoo Only" traffic – I think in due course Yahoo will become as good an advertising platform as Google.

But alas! I think I must be a millionth man saying this in forums, blogs, etc... but it seems guys at Yahoo just don’t listen.

Aaron... You must know some guys at Yahoo, why don’t you suggest them? It’s good for them in the long run.

Dilip Shaw

January 30, 2009 - 7:48am

I have mentioned some stuff to some people high up and nothing ever came of it.

January 30, 2009 - 2:54pm

A few weeks ago I called Yahoo!Customer Service because Yahoo! Shopping was bidding on our trademark for Google Adwords. After spending half day trying to contact someone responsible for this, they stop the adwords. After checking our trademark divided by words I see another Yahoo!Shopping ad on Google.

I am going to cancel my Yahoo!Shopping account for good.
I do not even received one email explaining this situation.

January 30, 2009 - 6:28pm


Sorry, I know this is not topical, but I couldn't find another good place to post this.

Google just changed their URL output breaking SEO for FF - I updated the code.

Warning: I did not do a lot of error checking

It works for what I use it for, hopefully this helps get the public fix done faster.


var i;
var innerLinks;
var url;
var result;
var startSpot;
var endSpot;

for (i in results) {
result = results[i];
if (result.className == 'g' || result.className == 'g w0' || result.className == 'g w1') {
innerLinks = result.getElementsByTagName('a');
url = innerLinks[0].href;
startSpot = url.indexOf("http",15);
endSpot = url.indexOf("&",startSpot);
url = url.substring(startSpot,endSpot);
url = url.replace('http://','');
url = url.replace('https://','');

January 30, 2009 - 9:44pm

Well thank you for that Brandon :)

The roll out is still not widely spread (if it were, we would have more people complaining about it being broken already)...but if it becomes widely spread & is a permanent change, we will update it right away!

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