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Yahoo teams up with overture

 1:06 am on Nov 14, 2001 (gmt 0)

Just got this in my inbox from Overture:

Overture has signed an agreement to become the Pay-For-Performance™ search
to Yahoo!'s millions of users. As a result of this deal and the holiday
Overture's Premium Listings™ advertisers can anticipate a significant
in high quality traffic. To get the benefit of additional targeted leads for
your business, you must be listed in Premium Listings™ (the top three
and you should increase the charge amount for your payment plan.



 10:43 am on Nov 14, 2001 (gmt 0)

By displaying only the top three or those who can afford to pay the most for positioning ... all these SE's and *so called* directories are creating an environment which will spon thousands of cartels or mini-directories designed to force the little guys into paying to be in the cartel or specialized directories.

Several such cartels already exist in many industries including mine. The problem is that those who own the cartel sites do not use any algos to fairly display results of top ranking sites but rather they promote their own sites first and certainly most prominently. The little guy gets buried or (gasp) listed alphabetically. Then they will start *pay to be listed near the top* programmes of their own.

So the top paid results in Yahoo and others will be these cartels who use our money from paid listings to put them there. Who do you think wins? It sure isn't going to be the little guy!

Oh sure, we may get some sloppy seconds, but more and more, the number of inquiries will dwindle as the cartels take over the top positions.

The whole scheme is designed to put the little guy out of business and to h**l with search relevance. Those with the big marketing bucks win. Shame on Yahoo and all the others. They are shooting themselves (and the whole WWW) in the foot and the little guy in the heart. It will take longer for them to bleed to death ... but it will happen just the same. Once the little guy has been forced out of business ... what is the future of the web?

Here's what the web looks like now:

Yahoo, Alta Vista, Aol, MSN, Hot Bot ... etc.
Pay Per Click Provider
SE Results Provider
Cartel - Mini Directory
Little Guy

Soon enough, the landscape of the web will look like this:

Yahoo, Alta Vista, Aol, MSN, Hot Bot ... etc.
Pay Per Click Provider
Cartel - Mini Directory
SE Results Provider (those that survive)
MUCH fewer Little Guys

I liked it just fine when the list looked like this:

Directory / Search Engine

Disillusioned, disgruntled, disgusted .... need to find another job ... (grumble, grumble, sniffle, sniffle, heavy sigh)


 11:27 am on Nov 14, 2001 (gmt 0)

>The deal with Overture, which expires in April, can serve as a short-term solution for Yahoo! until it can develop the sales force and technical capability to offer the paid search listings itself, said Greg Coleman, who heads Yahoo's North American operations.

Greg is missing an important element here.
They would have to add a large editorial staff to address the issue of relevancy.
I DO NOT see them hiring additional staff.
Overture is. [overture.com]


 1:28 pm on Nov 14, 2001 (gmt 0)

You hit the nail on the head Liane... dead right. Every "success" that GoTo/PPC has, is a nail in the heart of the web as a medium of equals.

The nature of the web is being changed slowly but surely by these people, into budget wins, everything else loses – just the same as every other part of the media. It is VERY sad, because the web is/was much more than just another commercial channel.

Funny thing is that those engines/directories that turn to PPC are usually the ones who are on the downward spiral…. they destroy/damage their product (credible SERPS based on relevance) for a short term cash grab. Just look at AV as an example. I’ll bet that there is a hell of a correlation between the introduction of GoTo/PPC results and rapidly declining search numbers.

Unfortunately, although those like Yahoo who dabble with corrupting their returns for quick cash will undoubtedly suffer because of it, so will the web…. and so will small business…. and therefore, ultimately, so will everyone.

Not a great day really.


 2:37 pm on Nov 14, 2001 (gmt 0)

Seems to me, if you cannot bid to be in the top three, your results may never be seen.
Everyone at position four and below should seriously consider their bids (bid higher or get out) as supplementing the rates the top three pay does not seem a satisfactory situation.


 2:56 pm on Nov 14, 2001 (gmt 0)

>>...all these SE's and *so called* directories are creating an environment which will spon thousands of cartels or mini-directories designed to force the little guys into paying to be in the cartel or specialized directories...>

Bingo. You are right on Liane. I think I started promoting this as a SEO feature nearly two years ago now. Build a portal around your topic, promote your topic and then allow others the opportunity to help you pay to get the listings you need. We're all going to have to team up on projects (the little guys) to continue to see those high positions because the costs keep getting higher. I certainly believe this promotes the idea of niche portals.

How successful or positive an experience it is will depend on where you find yourself on the chain of development.


 3:01 pm on Nov 14, 2001 (gmt 0)

so where are the overture listings going to be shown? on the same page as the directory lisitngs og yahoogle listings?


 3:18 pm on Nov 14, 2001 (gmt 0)

Those who understand the www know that a SE driven by Relevance is best. Those who don't really understand the www (most of the general public) will go for the big name e.g. as advertised on TV or on their ISP.

However, I think we at WMW havn't caught onto our collective educational potential. Its been discussed in other threads (cant' remember where). Here's an example: I meet all kinds of people. I've converted a small bunch of people to Google because of relevance. But, I manage 20 client websites. What if many of my client sites had a link to a page about how to search the web? ie (Try Google its better - currently).

And, what if everyone at WMW did the same? Just how many websites are members of WMW responsible for?

How about a page on WMW promoting our favourite SE?


 3:23 pm on Nov 14, 2001 (gmt 0)

Educating those entrapped by their portal.
Would need an INTERVENTION.

There are a lot of them out there.
Top 25 Web Properties [pm.netratings.com]


 3:36 pm on Nov 14, 2001 (gmt 0)

I am going to go out on a limb and disagree with a lot of things said here. This does not spell the end of SEO work. The fact that the landscape keeps changing on daily basis means we will have jobs for quite a while. The "average" business man doesn't have a clue on how search engines rank site or what a PPC is. Most that I talk to would rather pay a consulting fee and have you handle these things for them. GoTo is not a solution for every term. I have a client who pays $1.00+ for a term. Utilizing Inktomi's pay for play service I have moved a site within the top 5 on AOL, MSN etc for that same term. My listing out pulls his paid listing on a regular basis. People do know the difference between a paid result and a ranked result. The GoTo result took 5 days, my ranking took 4 weeks. While the internet has increased it's commercialization (which was inevitable) it is still one of the few medias that have an openness and sharing (this forum is a prime example, as we are in a highly competitive industry yet data and "trade secrets" are commonly shared by all here).


 4:15 pm on Nov 14, 2001 (gmt 0)

Those who understand the www know that a SE driven by Relevance is best. Those who don't really understand the www (most of the general public) will go for the big name e.g. as advertised on TV or on their ISP.

And where's the largest level of growth in this industry? - new recruits, that's where.

Dumbing-down is an appaling trend in all media, and I think making yourself accessible to the lowest common denominator is the worst possible action you can take.

This is all the "swings-and-roundabouts" discussion of "quality over quantity" all over again, only larger companies appear to be adamant that this isn't the way to sucessful, stable business.

Reminds me of another axiom:
"Throw enough sh*t at a wall, and some's bound to stick..."


 6:40 pm on Nov 14, 2001 (gmt 0)

This doesn't single-handedly indicate the demise of SEO.

A bigger threat to SEO is collaborative filtering (AKA reputation management). I'll be glad to see that though.


 11:04 pm on Nov 14, 2001 (gmt 0)


Anyone see a correlation between this announcement and Yahoo's change to their SERP a few months ago?

Also, it appears to me that there are two distinct classes affected by this pay-to-play change:

1) SEO's who SEO client's sites

2) SEO's who SEO THEIR OWN sites.

SEO1 will not be effected so much because their clients will either have to pay to play or not play at all.

SEO2 just took a major direct hit because they will now have to absorb the cost directly to be listed well. No $$$, no top listing.

IOW, if you are SEOing Hilton's hotel res site, who cares about Yahoo's change --your life just got easier.

However, if you are SEOing your own "Joe Blow's Super Ultra Hotel Discounts" site, you (we) just got nailed in the keister.


 1:34 am on Nov 15, 2001 (gmt 0)

jk3210, I think SEO consultants will find this difficult to deal with. They will be asking their clients for more money. Clients don't like it when they have to shell out more cash.

Also, the SEO specialists job which once was understood by very few people (and therefore kept them in business) is becoming an account manager job, one SE at a time. Site owners will begin to think it is easy to manage PPC accounts, and do it for themselves (although most will do it poorly). Definately not a positive thing for any SEO pro.


 2:08 am on Nov 15, 2001 (gmt 0)

Just another twist that will weed out the weaker SEO business models.

The harder it becomes to make money on the web only the best survive and the price of the services rendered goes up.

Whine or step up to bat, I say.



 2:13 am on Nov 15, 2001 (gmt 0)

< refreshing > Whine or step up to bat, I say. < / refreshing >


 2:24 am on Nov 15, 2001 (gmt 0)

1) >jk3210, I think SEO consultants will find this difficult to deal with. ... Site owners will begin to think it is easy to manage PPC accounts...

AND 2)> ...if you are SEOing your own "Joe Blow's Super Ultra Hotel Discounts" site, you (we) just got nailed in the keister.

Amen. Definitely this is not a good thing for any of us whether you are 1 or 2 above.

It's not surprising this would happen given the destruction of dot.coms and dot.com advertising this past year and a half. We could all see it coming, though I suspect most of us were in denial it would. Next is Google & etc.?

The web was once a place where one could be succeed as an entreprenuer and a small business owner without having major bucks for backing. Now it is becoming a place where only Coca Cola, GE, GM, Ford, IBM and maybe most of the medium -- and some of the lesser lights --- will be able to play.

So ... now what the h... to do now? Other than wail and moan.

I don't have an answer. Anyone else have a more positive outlook? Mine is pretty negative now, with this sell-out by Yahoo! -- the last of the major portals and search functions which previously did not sell its searh results.

Guess they all gotta make a living and someone is going to pay for that. If you (we)don't have the bucks, you (we)won't be in their game.


 2:37 am on Nov 15, 2001 (gmt 0)

You can prosper from any change in the market if the majority of your competition does not capitalize on the change and you do.


 3:22 am on Nov 15, 2001 (gmt 0)

I think there needs to be a distinction between SEO and bid management. Bid management is not SEO. If you are in the business of bid management you will be fine.

However, bid management does not take much brains, so there are a lot more people doing it and therefor lower profit margins.


 3:32 am on Nov 15, 2001 (gmt 0)

My, my...very alarmist.

SEO hasn't disappeared, it just got different - once again.

So long as users use search engines, then clients will want us to market them effectively using search engines. It doesn't really matter if this means adding pages or managing PPC campaigns.

The objective remains the same. The business model may need to change to achieve the objective. Happens all the time in the real world.

It seems there are some who still believe that the internet is somehow immune to human realities ;)


 4:28 am on Nov 15, 2001 (gmt 0)

They are showing up early. Just checked a few terms and they are on some and not on others. Three prominent placings at the top above the web matches.

Then Overture spots 4&5 seem to place on the bottom of the page after Yahoo's number 20 and above the "Next 20" link.


 4:41 am on Nov 15, 2001 (gmt 0)

Okay this is how Overture seems to working so far on Yahoo.

Page 1 of a search shows Overture's 1,2,3 at the top and 4,5 at the bottom.

Page 2 of a search show's Overtures 6,7,8 at the top and 9, 10 at the bottom.

Page 3 has Overtures 11, 12, 13 at the top and 14, 15 at the bottom.

Page 4 has no sponsors (and not many viewers that deep anyway). So any bid in the top 10 gets you into the first two pages of Yahoo and that's not too bad for many keywords. It would certainly bump up my own $200 listings that are buried in the wrong categories and don't show up in searches anyway.

Overall, (besides being a dark day in searches) I think it's better than I expected. Who knows how long it will stay that way. Yahoo's description of the sponsors clearly says they will implement their own service next year.


 4:58 am on Nov 15, 2001 (gmt 0)

Cant see any overture listings logged in from Bangkok to US yahoo. 12 noon thailand time thursday.

Tried our own terms (specific) but also "search Engine optimization" and "viagra" to see whether it was for only popular terms.

Just an observation, the yahoo listings for these (popular) terms are probably not any better in terms of returning the great majority of commercial sites rather than information sites, than I would expect from Overture.

..Top listing for "viagra" on yahoo has the title "viagra viagra viagra!" :)


 5:12 am on Nov 15, 2001 (gmt 0)

More searching reveals it's still variable and coming online (in southeast USA). Some searches are only using Overture's top 15 like I mentioned earlier and others are using top 5 or 10 and I found a couple that went to top 20 being placed. Not consistent at all yet. I was going to say that it's the popular searches but I also found some on odd searches that would probably be less than a few hundred times in a month, and still cheap bids.


 6:06 am on Nov 15, 2001 (gmt 0)

Just did a search for loans and got them. It looks like they are clearly marked as "Sponsor Matches," which is a good thing like you say adamxcl.


 6:26 am on Nov 15, 2001 (gmt 0)

Could it be that this may be the result:

Sooner or later, surfers will make the connection (as with banner ads) that "Sponsored Listing" means "another guy trying to sell me something" and stop clicking on them?



 6:29 am on Nov 15, 2001 (gmt 0)

Yes, in time.


 1:19 pm on Nov 15, 2001 (gmt 0)

I definately agree with littleman on that one.

Personally, I don't deal with PPC at present, so it's not an issue for my role in company web development. Wierdly enough, I actually stopped by yesterday to find out what was happening to these schemes, only to read this thread.

Makes you think about the long term - especially with that banner ad comparison. I'll just "keep on keepin' on" with content and navigability I think, and leave cash management to the big-boys upstairs...

(edited by: NetGrease at 1:29 pm (gmt) on Nov. 15, 2001)


 1:19 pm on Nov 15, 2001 (gmt 0)

lame. yahoo and overture.... lame. ppc lame. This just flat out sucks... why don't they just hook their search box up so that when you type in a term, it just redirects through the first overture position ....and put me out of my misery?


 1:52 pm on Nov 15, 2001 (gmt 0)

Still no sign of the corruptive change from here... maybe they are filtering and only presenting the GoTo returns to US based servers? Not that I WANT to see it, but it would be nice to see where they have presented this garbage on the page (eg: before or after the directories, etc).


 5:36 pm on Nov 15, 2001 (gmt 0)

Actually the sponsored links are more prominent on yahoo than on any other search engine. They also appear on yahoo.google . Regular SE results are now much less prominent than they used to be. This will have a significant negative impact on anyone who used to have good yahoo and google rankings.


 5:56 pm on Nov 15, 2001 (gmt 0)

Overture is "loading" today and pushing to be 100% loaded by the end of the day on Friday.

What was originally sheduled for a 2 week load MAY be done in 2 days.

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