Posted January 28, 2009 8:30 am by with 14 comments

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I’m not normally one to keep stirring the pot–I usually say my peace and be done with it–but someone over at Yahoo is smoking crack.

After I, and many other bloggers, outed a new Yahoo policy that allows the company to make changes to an advertisers account–including the addition of keywords–the company is claiming that us “blogger friends” are misinformed.

Oh really, Yahoo?

Misinformed? I emailed you back in early December and you confirmed exactly what we’ve reported–YAHOO IS CHANGING ADVERTISERS ACCOUNTS WITHOUT THEIR PERMISSION!

You can dress it up anyway you want to–“lipstick on a pig” comes to mind–but you’ve still launched a program that is opt-out only, and one that many advertisers are complaining about.

You say:

The acceptance rate of changes we have made is roughly 80%, which we believe indicates the changes have been helpful.

I’ve worked in the search space for many years and let me tell you something, you already know: 80% of your advertisers have NOT contacted you to say how happy they are. Nope, 80% of advertisers have simply either not noticed or not complained. Nice try on the spin.

Look, I don’t even use Yahoo Search Marketing daily, so I have no personal axe to grind here. However, Yahoo’s new policies are not “transparent” and if they really–I mean really!–believed that this change was for the good of their advertisers and not an ugly attempt to fatten the bottom line of a struggling company, then they would make the service opt-in.

You can dress it up anyway you want Yahoo, but this is wrong. If it weren’t, you wouldn’t need to write such a lengthy post trying to convince advertisers otherwise.

  • According to the Yahoo! blog:

    It is limited in scope. We may make changes in these three areas:
    1) Creating new ads for existing ad groups and enabling ad testing
    2) Writing multiple versions of ads for any new ad groups we create, then enabling ad testing
    3) Searching our database for keywords that can drive more targeted traffic to an advertiser’s site

    The ad text issue is something that scares me the most. I have seen some of the ad text they create and it does not necessarily blend with the marketing message of a site.

    Dan London’s last blog post..Google Print Signals End for Printed Newspapers

  • Andy,

    You are correct. It is pretty much impossible for a Yahoo account rep to make proper “performance” changes without knowing items previously discussed in your other posts, nevermind the other manufacturing and partner agreement issues they are going to run into (wording of ads).

    Yahoo writes, “It is intended to help raise the performance of accounts.” What performance? What is their definition of “performance?”

    1. Not knowing conversion data so they do not know which terms are actually generating income and which are not. Higher click thru rates do not mean higher conversions or revenue!
    2. Not knowing the products, margins, or inventory of the products you are selling. What are your ROI goals?
    3. Not knowing the promotions available and the timing of each promotion.

    Al Scillitani’s last blog post..Yahoo Is Stealing Your Money

  • Al is spot on. Not only are Yahoo’s “optimizations” anything but optimized, they don’t append any tracking URLs to the new campaigns. So unless you’re using Yahoo’s YSM conversion tracking, you’ll never know whether their “optimized” campaign even worked. Andy is right – Yahoo, you are WRONG and putting lipstick on it doesn’t help.

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  • I had a little used Yahoo PPC account that was doing about $25 a month in costs. December 24th it started doing $300 a DAY!

    After logging in I found that the account had been automatically enabled for the “Content Matching” (which I NEVER do).

    I’m not sure how long the account had been going with this setting before the blast of bogus content matches started occurring, but it was clearly way out of the norm.

    I turned off the content matching option where ALL of the click-spamming was occurring but not before my credit card was hit 7 times for $100 a pop over the course of about 36 hours.

    I alerted Yahoo of this problem and they admitted that it was highly unusual and suspect.

    About a week later they “graciously” offered to refund me just $140 of the $700 claiming the rest was deemed legitimate clicks – BS!

    I’ve never used these “content matching” systems because they are prone to click-spam. Yahoo (or Google) wont admit it but I see no other explanation for going from 5 content matches per day to over 200,000!

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  • Greg Moore

    Y! doesn’t need to do this.

    They need OneClick. Point at any AdWords Ad Group, click, and it’s up on Y!

    Much better way to bring in business.

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  • Kathleen

    This is the only article I’ve read on this complete Yahoo debacle that indicates that you can opt-out of their new “service”. Can you really opt-out? Is there a trick to it, or do you just have to ask nicely?
    Thanks for the article. Love the picture.

  • Amazing Yahoo is not at least giving an effort to visit this types of blogs to at least try to fan the flames or at least place reasoning behind these issues.

    Jaan Kanellis’s last blog post..Great Interview with Google Search Quality Team Member: Kaspar Szymanski

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  • Yahoo has been messing with my ad campaign as well. Pig is truly a pig. It stinks in here!

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