YSM, You Are the Liar!

Yahoo Search Marketing caused a stir recently when they updated their Terms and Conditions to include “auto-optimization” of YSM accounts. They decided to update one of our client’s accounts shortly thereafter, and it was anything but “optimized.” I’m quoted in the Search Engine Roundtable post, so I won’t reiterate Yahoo’s idiocy here.

Now, Yahoo has decided to speak out on the issue on their blog. They sing the praises of this “service” and claim that it “helps small advertisers improve performance issues on their accounts.” While that may be true for some advertisers, it was anything but for my client. Then Yahoo has the audacity to say that “not everyone in the blogosphere understands this new program, which we believe is the result of misinformation more than anything else.” What?!?!? Misinformation???

Bullcrap. My story is 100% true, and it offends me that they would call it “misinformation.” Furthermore, it appears that they went against their own intentions when they took it upon themselves to optimize our client’s account: Yahoo claims in their blog post, in bold font no less, that auto-optimization “is not designed for larger advertisers who actively manage their accounts.” I manage hundreds of thousands in advertiser spend and have been doing SEM since 2002 (before Yahoo even HAD a PPC program – it was still Overture then). I do actively manage all of my clients accounts. Yet Yahoo felt the need to add a new campaign with ad copy that could have been written by one of my 11-year old twins (wait, I take it back- it wasn’t even that good). And they were bidding on keywords that aren’t even relevant to my client’s offering. It was as far from optimization as it could be.

Yahoo goes on to say that “Advertisers are notified of any changes within 24 hours (usually, fewer than eight hours).” Double bullcrap. I never received any notification that this had been done – I found it by accident when I logged in to “actively manage” my client’s account.

Yahoo, you screwed up once by launching this “feature” in the first place. You screwed up a second time when you violated your own principles by doing this to an account that is being actively managed by a professional SEM. You screwed up a third time by calling all of us SEM pros – A-list bloggers and long-time SEMs – liars.

Three strikes and you’re out. I shut off Yahoo for this client and many others as a result. It’s just too risky and their attitude sucks.

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Comments

  1. My experience was very similar to yours, and I’ve advised my clients to drop YSM in favor of maximizing their Google and other traffic first.

    Frankly, I think that an industry-wide boycott would be a good option for dealing with this – they obviously are not interested in “getting it”.

    I’ve already started by stopping all of my YSM campaigns. I’m even seriously thinking about looking as MS Live for additional cheap traffic instead.

  2. Thanks for your comment, Ian. We always max out Google before starting Yahoo – even more so in light of these recent developments.

  3. I also dropped this service that was slammed on my account, bringing my Yahoo bill from $200 per month to over $2,500. What is worse, Yahoo would NOT detail the charges (I’d like to see my auto mechanic try that). They told me to keep running the campaign and log the URLs that were charging my account for a few more months! (I have the emails for all of this).

    Here is one email to Yahoo:
    My bids are at $5 causing a lot of money to be spent. Who is changing my bids?
    Can I get a refund? Is this fraudulent activity?

    I think a refund is in order for all who ask for one.

  4. Yikes, Frank – that is super, super scary. Total fraud IMHO. I hope they give you a refund.

  5. OMG Yahoo is on my shitlist today. I tried to convert a client’s Adwords campaigns to Yahoo’s format and their uploader is broken. It gives me back the same exact file i put in.

    WTF? How is that possible?

    And to top it off, I saw that they “optimized” a client’s account for me this month. How nice of them to set an unlimited budget on their new campaign.

    OK rant over, great post! I’ve been looking for someone as upset at Yahoo as I am.

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