Yahoo! & Microsoft Still do Not Understand Marketing

Jan 13th

Microsoft heavily invested to create useful tools for advertisers. On their tools page contextual ads are listed on the right for subjects related to "all the data mining", no doubt from a thin arbitrage site.

If Microsoft would just let me know what that ad placement cost is, I bet I would pay more for the ad placement than the thin arbitrage site. Although the value of keeping their tool pages free of ads, so that they can increase market penetration would be worth even more.

One of the ads on Microsoft's ad tools page offers to repair Microsoft products (which hints that Microsoft's stuff is broken), while another ad is marginally relevant and leads to a no value arbitrage domain (IndustrialProducts.com) which redirects to another site syndicating Yahoo ads.

Then when the user appears on the thin arbitrage site Microsoft is buying the click back to market their own products.

Let us appreciate this brilliance:

  1. paying advertisers to cheapen their brand and pollute their core product pages in important verticals with irrelevant spammy low (or no) value offers
  2. sending away more traffic than they get back
  3. losing money on the transaction

I have ranted about Yahoo! killing their keyword tool and doing nothing to rebrand or repair it, simply wasting thousands or millions of dollars worth of leads and marketshare each day. Disclaimer: my keyword tool just broke too, but I am trying to get it fixed ASAP. Yahoo! has other areas where they can offer you useful recommendations, but chose not to.

If you ever submit a site to the global Yahoo! Directory on the thank you page they recommend submitting your site to regional directories if your site is in multiple languages.

  • That upsell offer is irrelevant for most people submitting their websites, and
  • Yahoo! killed express inclusion for many of their regional directories years ago. The landing pages for the regional Yahoo! Directory submissions are broke. They do not even allow me to spend money if I want to.
Published: January 13, 2008

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Comments

January 13, 2008 - 9:24am

Aaron,

Sounds like a misalignment between vision and strategy. Hopefully, they will consider their actions in light of their brands. In the meanwhile, Google can enjoy another bright and beautiful day (year?) in the sun along with its fellow googlers sporting the latest Google style: Blue(G) Red(o) Yellow(o) Blue(g) Green(l) Red(e). Seems to work.

January 13, 2008 - 10:41pm

I wrote something about how MSN could increase market share of search. Emailed two MSN Live people with the link, and they couldn't even be bothered to write me back a one line 'thanks, we'll have a look' email. Kind of annoying when you're trying to help a company out and they ignore you.

As to Yahoo, they're so broken that they don't even realize it. Jerry Yang says yeah, we're going to increase market share of search - then promptly loses more in the next published market share reports. And their technology is doing nothing to make them more relevant than Google. They've got a good search, but nothing particularly impressive that beats Google out-n-out. Ditto MSN: Ballmer can set whatever goals he likes ... stupid ad issues like what you showed are going to keep killing them.

January 14, 2008 - 12:50am

Nor do they get the concept of great customer service. I have played email and telephone ping pong with them on many an occasion - right now I'm voting with my wallet....

Right now for cs I highly rate Google and Go Daddy for giving great service.

Also the service from Google Store and the fulfilment company they use is second to none.

I'm pretty cool, lighthearted and easy going but get me wasting hours on a telephone will just alienate these companies from myself and the masses - billions or not...

Whoever is the most approachable will win the "wars" and "wallets" in the long run.

Oh yeah! Yahoo! Please tell the folks in Melbourne or wherever I ended up what a 301 is - i couldn't get it to sink in despite my pleasant manner. Training.

David

January 14, 2008 - 4:14pm

It looks like Microsoft and Yahoo have stopped trying to compete with Google. Does Google have patent protect for Adsense/Adwords, because Yahoo and Microsoft can't even come close to emulating it. The Yahoo version of adwords is confusing and they bill you upfront. I guess they figure we'll tell our shareholders we're trying to compete with Google, while in reality, they've given up and are focusing on other aspects of their business.

January 14, 2008 - 10:37pm

I don't think patent protection is the issue here - Yahoo and Microsoft have failed to open the innovative minds and just let the juice flow.

Google analyzes the data, sees where the trends are moving in the market place, and offers open-source platforms to fill the voids. Yahoo and MS - well, they just... hmmm.... not quite sure what they do! One thing's for sure, they sure do put out a lot of software that runs ramped with viruses!

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