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Yahoo Search Marketing Pay Per Click Advertising Forum

Bids lowered following plunging conversion rates.

 4:02 pm on Mar 20, 2006 (gmt 0)

I don't know if its the economy, a change in the quality of yahoo search marketing traffic, interest in the products I sell or something else that is driving my conversion rates compared to March 2005 and February 2006 down by more than 50%. Finally had no choice but too making sweeping reductions in bids across the account today. Depressing.

Since I expect my traffic to fall off the edge of the cliff I am not sure if I will notice if things turn up. If others see a noticible pickup in conversion rates, I would appreciate it much if you drop a note in this forum. Thanks in advance for your help.



 4:43 pm on Mar 20, 2006 (gmt 0)

Friday March 17th 2006 was the worst day I've ever seen. <snip>

[edited by: Brett_Tabke at 6:02 pm (utc) on April 29, 2006]
[edit reason] sorry - but check the tos #26 [/edit]


 4:44 pm on Mar 20, 2006 (gmt 0)


we have noticed a downward spiral with our conversion rates and have moved most of our budget away from yahoo.
Can't see it geting any better soon either, so are looking elsewhere to get quality traffic.


we have had our reply from yahoo about invalid clicks etc, they say it is all ok, cough, bu****it..

can't wait till msn launches in the UK.



 5:16 pm on Mar 20, 2006 (gmt 0)

We are a Platinum advertiser with Yahoo so I tend to get pretty good response from our rep. She is very nice and we have a friendly relationship. She recently was very helpful in getting up on terms for billing.

I've recently brought these traffic issues to her. I can show lists of "bad referers" from our analytics package. I can tell Yahoo who we do not want showing our ads because they simply do not convert.

She tells me that their is no way to ban partners from showing our ads. I've told her that I must spend less money now because they bad partners are ruining the relationship. It's realy that simple. Yahoo is ramping traffic up from bad parters to compensate for losing good converting MSN traffic. This could destroy this revenue stream for Yahoo.

Beware. Your conversion rates will be half of what they were last year this time.


 5:17 pm on Mar 20, 2006 (gmt 0)


I agree that they have really cut back on click credits. Luckily my Diamond Level account manager realizes that keeping our business requires applying credits - but I will say it's a tougher battle each time I ask for them.


 12:04 am on Mar 21, 2006 (gmt 0)

<<<Diamond Level account>>>>

That's the one title I would not care to have at this point with their quality of traffic


 1:33 am on Mar 21, 2006 (gmt 0)

I'm checking with some folks here now on the topic, but at first glance we're by no means seeing anything near a 50% degredation in ROI value of YSM traffic (we manage $5M+/mo in ppc $$ spent there, and we manage to tight ROI constraints). Certainly there is *some* degredation, but not to that extent. Are you sure you all are not exaggerating a bit to make a point? Is it 50%+ declines in conversions, or something less than that?



 2:07 am on Mar 21, 2006 (gmt 0)


I've seen both of my clients see at least 50% decline in conversion since mid January. It's not everyday that the decline is that significant, but we're averaging 50% less conversion rate conservatively.


 4:57 pm on Mar 21, 2006 (gmt 0)

In our niche, I manage to many of the top spots. But I've found the amount of bad referrers to be so high right now that it's killing our CNV rate. Thus, I'm lowering my bid rankings for Yahoo and seeing the CNV rates recover a tad.

It's pretty much fraud. I hate to say this, but Yahoo is negiligently allowing fraudsters to get out of the content garbage and get into the actual Yahoo search ads.

Looking at my numbers we're definately at 35 to 50% decline given which weeks you want to compare against. AdWords nor AdCenter show any such decline. It's all about Yahoo and bad referrers that they are refusing to dump.


 6:03 pm on Mar 22, 2006 (gmt 0)

I am not a PPC expert so I aplogogize if the answer to this question seems obvious.

When all of you are complaining about Yahoo's search partners, do you mean the "content match" search partners or do they use partners even when "content match" is turned off?


 6:32 pm on Mar 22, 2006 (gmt 0)

They use content partners even when 'content match' is turned off. Even with with 'standard versus advanced' match if you bid on a keyword you are forced to pay for clicks resulting from websites you have never heard of. There is NO way to just get clicks from searches done on Yahoo.com (however you do have this option on Google).


 5:19 pm on Mar 24, 2006 (gmt 0)

BOSTONSEO is right. If you are able to check the referrers you're getting from Yahoo, you'll get angry, really quick when you realize 10-20% of your budget goes to crap MFA sites that are draining your budget and not providing conversions or leads.

Yahoo, of course, has refused my requests for banning sites from our account. So I spend less.


 9:52 pm on Apr 27, 2006 (gmt 0)

It's oh' so easy for ANYBODY to be able to make money by displaying the Yahoo Sponsored Search Results. I recently pretended that I wanted to show the Sponsored Results on some of my websites to see how easy it would be and this is the answer I received from Yahoo:


[edited by: werty at 6:20 am (utc) on April 28, 2006]
[edit reason] Removed Email Quote - Please see TOS #9 [/edit]


 11:38 pm on Apr 27, 2006 (gmt 0)

That's simply outrageous, UnitedRigo. Please keep timestamped copies of that communication ... it's class action evidence. They actually encouraged you to set up a parked domain and generate unqualified clicks from it! What the heck are they thinking?!?

From Yahoo's "come on and sign up" pages (emphasis mine):

Receive the highest return on investment when you advertise with Sponsored Search.

- Advertise only to customers who are already interested in your products or services
- more stuff ...

What do you think? Are they living up to this promise?

We started seeing crappy .info domains showing up in our Google tracking and asked them not to go down the same path as Yahoo is headed. At first, they suggested that we restrict our campaigns to Google-only, but a day later they came back and said that they had "manually restricted [our] advertising from appearing on those sites" as they investigated the programs that allowed those types of sites to get onboard.

Now THAT's responsiveness. Something to learn from, Yahoo: Advertisers actually expect you to live up to your promises.


 2:12 am on Apr 28, 2006 (gmt 0)


I have the email that I received from Yahoo with that communication saved. In their defense, I never stated nor did they, that I would be sending unqualified clicks. I just told them how much traffic I have on my websites and that I wanted to display the Sponsored Search results on my sites in order to have a new revenue stream for my business.

My point is that with these syndication partners any unscrupulous person can sign-up with them and start showing Sponsored Results on any website. How good do you think the quality control is at these syndication partners? Judging by the conversions lately and by the garbage in my logs my guess is that anything goes nowadays. It is really derpressing lookig at my logs lately and the kind of money I'm paying to these low quality sites..


 4:41 pm on Apr 28, 2006 (gmt 0)

UnitedRigo, any clicks from a parked domain are unqualified clicks. IMHO. Nobody seeks out parked domains in order to use them as a resource. They start on a trusted resource, follow a link, land on a parked domain and click to get off of it. Purely unqualified.


 7:19 pm on Apr 28, 2006 (gmt 0)

BOSTONSEO is right. If you are able to check the referrers you're getting from Yahoo, you'll get angry, really quick when you realize 10-20% of your budget goes to crap MFA sites that are draining your budget and not providing conversions or leads.

10-20%? Our rate is 80%! We are receiving less then 20% traffic from Yahoo.com and its legitimate traffic sources.

It has gotten SO BAD we simply turned off our account, conversions have disappeared from the map starting around first week of March.


 9:19 pm on Apr 28, 2006 (gmt 0)

It has gotten SO BAD we simply turned off our account, conversions have disappeared from the map starting around first week of March.

We just turned off all Overture for the reasons listed above.

Some energetic person should start a boycott Overture site. It would nice to see at least a protest where many would turn their ads off at the same time even if it was for a few days or hours. A few press releases and an interview on CNN with Eliot Spitzer. I may be delusional. :)

wired in asia

 6:23 am on Apr 30, 2006 (gmt 0)

Never thought it comes to that, but we also paused all our US overture/yahoo ads. Ads for overture/yahoo in the UK etc.. are still ok.

Well google, you have it all to yourself now. The overture (US) episode is textbook mis-management. Ignoring customers for years (case in point the stupid ad approval process) and finally getting overly eager on the affiliation/sales side, leading to click through fraud allegations.

It also shows the challenge for intermediaries. Once MSN pulled the plug it is all down hill.


 12:44 pm on Apr 30, 2006 (gmt 0)

This thread makes it sound like Yahoo does not work for anyone. That is not true. Our experience with Yahoo is still very good. Our ROI has actually improved in the last few weeks.


 12:53 pm on May 1, 2006 (gmt 0)

I have noted that starting average March 20 bids has lowered


 10:24 am on May 2, 2006 (gmt 0)

You are talking mostly about Overture US. Any experience with other countries? I am particularly interested in DE. I could see a big increase in number of impressions, seems very odd...

wired in asia

 3:11 pm on May 2, 2006 (gmt 0)

de and uk are fine. Still showing ads. Mind you, we saw no drop in traffic once we paused overture US ads.

I do understand about the need to advertise, not only for the sake of clickthroughs, but also simply to show presence. But when traffic does not change, that gives some indication about the quality of click throughs received in the past.

Guess it depends on the industry your in though.


 4:34 pm on May 2, 2006 (gmt 0)

I agree with conversion opinions here, ours have suffered nearly the same rate mentioned here and on other threads.

That said, numbers always seem to drive a point:

I represent a platinum member of YSM and am now probably going to cancel their Overture YSM account and funnel the funds to more Google and MSN ads.

Our Impressions have qua-zillion-uppled in April versus January, February and March.

Here they are:
April 2006 (Notice only 12 days):
Term= leadership training" 4/04/2006 - 4/12/2006 impressions=981,773 high clicks zero conversions spend ~$800.00
Term: managmenet training 4/04/2006 - 4/12/2006
impressions=943,035 high clicks zero conversions
spend ~$1,500.00

January 2006 (notice full month):
Term= leadership training" 01/06/2006 - 01/31/2006 impressions=2 (yes 2)zero clicks zero conversions spend ~$0.00
Term: managmenet training 01/06/2006 - 01/31/2006
impressions=8 (yes only 8) zero clicks zero conversions
spend ~$0.00

There you have it, enough said since numbers don't lie. Overture has opened the flood gates to low quality, non-converting unscrupluous partner sites.


 5:14 pm on May 2, 2006 (gmt 0)

Elixir I am sorry to see that you too have become a victim of their BS. File a complaint with them and demand that they refund you those clicks, in all likelyhood they are not legitimate.

Be ready to wait however, I submitted my last request to them on April 4th, I was told the process would take 10 days. I received a response from them on April 21st saying that they were sorry but they havent looked at my case yet and that they would have an answer to me by April 26th at the latest. It is now May 2nd and I still have received no response from their "Loss Prevention" department.

Just when I thought their service couldnt get any worse they HAD to go and prove me wrong. go figure.


 6:37 pm on May 2, 2006 (gmt 0)

I agree with conversion opinions here, ours have suffered nearly the same rate mentioned here and on other threads.

At the very least send them a link to your post here. I have done that in the past and it seems to get their interest.


 7:12 pm on May 2, 2006 (gmt 0)


Yahoo has been horrible for a while now, but my question for you is why did you continue to let the keywords remain active and receive clicks for so many days? If you
saw more than 3 days of irregular activity, you should have paused the ads then...not let things go as long as you did.

Best of luck getting any credits - you do know that even credits are pretty much worthless. The credits will just be used for future suspicious clicks (unfortunately).

wired in asia

 3:01 am on May 3, 2006 (gmt 0)


Point is that many of us THINK we need to advertise in overture US, yahoo etc... where ultimately buying decisions (according to our stats) are made via google ads.

If msn can't deliver a valid alternative, and I don't think they can in the short run, google will have the market place to themselves. Not sure if this is a good thing.

All of us are likely to fall for misconceptions, i.e. falling for the packaging. Overture US simply lost it completely. Unless they can sign up some major portal, they revenues will drop dramatically.

Just wonder how long it will take for overture DE/UK to follow.

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