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Yahoo JP banning travel related sites

New criterial for Overture JP advertisers

6:34 am on Aug 31, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Yahoo Japan has released new "guidelines" for advertisers with travel related sites using the Overture PPC advertising system.

Now any web site deemed by Yahoo JP to be travel related must be a member of the Japan Association of Travel Agents or All Nippon Travel Agents Association and have a business in Japan. This applies even if the business and the focus of the site is outside of Japan.

These new "guidelines" are stopping sites that are destination focused sites and work as affiliates with travel agents.

The criterial for these new "guidelines" for the Overture advertising on Yahoo are different to the Yahoo directory listings. A site may be listed in the Yahoo directory, but excluded from Yahoo via Overture.

Overture clients are being dropped from Yahoo JP Overture ads without the clients being informed. It is only when clients discover the issue themselves that the true situation is discovered.

There are inconsistancies with the Yahoo JP policy as sites such as those run by the Australian Government are allow to advertise similar sites even though they are not travel agents.

Overture JP says the criteria is determined by Yahoo JP, but they cannot give you a contact at Yahoo JP to request a review.

6:59 am on Aug 31, 2004 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator bill is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

Do you have a link to these new guidelines on Yahoo Japan?
8:05 am on Aug 31, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Just to clarify, are you saying if you have a site about travel to Australia (for example) and want to advertise it on Yahoo Japan via Overture, you have to have a business there and be a member of the JATA - even if you're not doing reservations - ie what about if you're content only?

I took a look at the Yahoo Japan site but it was all in Japanese (surprise surprise!) do you have a link to this document in English?

A very worrying development IMO.

8:08 am on Aug 31, 2004 (gmt 0)

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I don't think there are any written publically availiable "guidelines". They certainly did not indicate there were any in the emails and phone calls we have had with Overture JP.

I suspect their "guidelines" could be in contravention of international trade agreements.

Does anyone know who Overture Japan is owned by?
Is it part of Yahoo Japan or Yahoo (USA)?

We have requested to speak to one of the English speaking managers at Overture Japan (waiting for call back).

We are also attempting to progress this issue through the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs as a trade issue.

8:24 am on Aug 31, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Just to clarify these "guidelines" impact on web sites that have accommodation and/or tour listings on their web sites and they are:
(i) working in the capacity as an affiliate with a travel agent.


(ii) a travel agent (and I assume a tour operator) outside of Japan.

We are not a travel agent, but work as an affiliate with an Australian based travel agent and have advertising from tour operators in Australia. Our site on Australia <snip> is a comprehensive guide to Australia in Japanese. On another site we are simply an affiliate of an Australian based travel agent.

I have seen at least one Australian travel agent (who runs a Japanese language site) who was advertising on Yahoo JP via Overture have their ads pulled as well.

Many web sites will not be aware of this yet as neither Yahoo JP or Overture JP are telling people about this change. People will just find their sales have dropped.

[edited by: bill at 9:22 am (utc) on Aug. 31, 2004]
[edit reason] sorry, no specifics [/edit]

8:36 am on Aug 31, 2004 (gmt 0)

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It strikes me as a pretty ridiculous restriction on trade - typical dodgy behaviour on overture's behalf
9:39 am on Aug 31, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Overture JP have confirmed the "guidelines" are confidential.

The plot just thickens!

9:48 am on Aug 31, 2004 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator bill is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

Does anyone know who Overture Japan is owned by?
Is it part of Yahoo Japan or Yahoo (USA)?

Overture Japan was originally part of Overture and even operated out of their offices in California. I have not read that that they ever split off from the Overture group. All of the jobs offered on their site seem to require English resumes, and have close dealings with the parent (USA). However, they are incorporated in Japan so they may have quite a bit of autonomy from the parent. I didn't have time to skim through the legal links on their site...have you looked there?
10:15 am on Aug 31, 2004 (gmt 0)

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We have looked in detail in the contract advertisers have with them, but it does not state anything.

The team leader we have dealt with at Overture JP did not even know who they are owned by.

All I have been able to find from Overture.com (USA) is the following:
"Overture, which now operates as a wholly owned subsidiary of Yahoo!"

I tried to look at the company information in Japanese on Overture, but the page is returing an error!

As most of you would know Yahoo JP is only partly owned by Yahoo (USA), thus the details of who owns Overture JP are not really clear.

We finally found it! Overture Japan is wholely owned by Yahoo (USA).

4:04 am on Sep 2, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Just went and did some searches in Japanese on YahooJP for <country specific travel terms - Woz>. Nothing in the sponsored listings other than Japanese travel agents EXCEPT for a European hotel booking site, half in Japanese and half in English, under <snip> and a company that states its head office is in the USA under <snip>.

Anyone got any Japanese keywords they know a non Japanese company with a Japanese site should be listed under in the sponsored section?

[edited by: Woz at 4:23 am (utc) on Sep. 2, 2004]
[edit reason] No specifics please, see TOS#13 [/edit]

4:21 am on Sep 2, 2004 (gmt 0)

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We have a couple of sites that have been blocked and there are a heap of keyphrases it applies to, over 100!

[edited by: Woz at 4:25 am (utc) on Sep. 2, 2004]
[edit reason] No specifics please. [/edit]


4:28 am on Sep 2, 2004 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member woz is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

Mod Note - Lets leave specific keywords and search phrases alone please. This is an important issue in a very competitive field, the ramifications of posting search terms and results could be somewhat extensive. Lets keep the discussion going about the general issue rather than specifics.

Thanks all.


11:45 pm on Sep 2, 2004 (gmt 0)

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If anyone else has been impacted by this would they please send me a sticky mail with some details.

I am particularly interested in finding any other Australian businesses as I am now working with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade along with Australian Tourism Commission and other bodies.

2:18 am on Sep 3, 2004 (gmt 0)

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I am curious to see whether this is being geographically targeted to Australia and NZ in particular. There still seem to be plenty of USA companies with their ads displaying.

[edited by: Woz at 8:30 am (utc) on Sep. 7, 2004]
[edit reason] Tidying up [/edit]

11:00 am on Sep 4, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Does the left hand know what the right hand is doing?

We just managed to pay for and receive a listing in the Yahoo directory for our site that we cannot advertise on Yahoo Japan via Overture!

This still is not a good solution as we cannot control the ads position or wording, nor could we afford to paid for directory listings that would cover 100 key words.

Even with a directory listing you are still normally at least four positions from the top of the page.

7:55 am on Sep 7, 2004 (gmt 0)

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a2ztranslate you are correct, there are some from the USA. We also found some for Korea and Hong Kong.

We have sent a list of these off to Overture with a bit of please explain.

9:15 am on Sep 8, 2004 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator bill is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

I wonder if Yahoo's involvement with the FareChase Travel Search Service has anything to do with this 'policy change'.

article [story.news.yahoo.com]

Yahoo Inc. (Nasdaq:YHOO - news) is launching its first public beta of a travel search engine based on its recent acquisition of online travel company FareChase Inc.
10:24 pm on Sep 14, 2004 (gmt 0)

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We investigated the non-Japanese web sites and found about eight who were not based in Japan and were therefore not Japanese travel agents.

We raised this issue with Overture, who after they talked to Yahoo Japan, stated that sites advertising prior to some unspecified date were exempt from the new "guidelines".

We had been advertising since January 2004, but are still impacted by this change.

The eight sites includes one from Australia. This has now made it very difficult to mount a case for international trade restrictions.

We are now investigating the option of working together with a Japanese travel agent, however even this does not ensure that we will be able to advertise again.

We have now had a chance to see the impact of the our new Yahoo Japan directory listing for a key Australian city. There has been a very small increase in traffic as a result, but as I suspected the directory listings are now too far down the page to have any real impact. The bottom line is; you really need the Overture ads in Yahoo Japan.

We have also bought a directory listing for major European destination. It will be interesting to see how this one goes.

4:44 am on Oct 7, 2004 (gmt 0)

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whatsupskip, do u have an update on this? i would be interested to know what happenned with your european listing.


4:56 am on Oct 7, 2004 (gmt 0)

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The situation has not changed. :(

What has changed is our losses have increased. It would appear that Yahoo Japan visitors are much more valuable clients than the Google ones.

I am still waiting on news from the Australian Embassy in Tokyo, but this will be a slow process.

Someone is also helping us with working through Overture Australia (they are a very big Overture customer so they may have some impact). Again this may take some time. It seems that Overture offices outside of Japan are a bit surprised by the activities of Yahoo Japan.

We are still working on this issue, looking for other options and trying to find income else where.

10:35 am on Oct 14, 2004 (gmt 0)

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whats up skip,
Open a business center in Tokyo and contact Jata (pay them 100 USD) and you are a member of the Japan Association of Travel Agents.
8:24 am on Oct 21, 2004 (gmt 0)

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I have sent off the application, it will be interesting to see if it is accepted and then what Yahoo Japan thinks of it.
11:26 am on Oct 25, 2004 (gmt 0)

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I am amember of it and have a business centre in Tokyo that handles all the workload for me inside Japan.

Works very well. (Just make sure u stay in the background and let the japanese business centre handle your dealings within Japan)

Good luck

8:01 am on Nov 3, 2004 (gmt 0)

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We are appling as an overseas affiliate member.

I have been thinking about this issue a bit more. Yahoo has a registered company in Australia. Overture is wholely owned by the same entity that owns the Australian arm.

I wonder if we could bring action against Yahoo in Australia under the Trade Practices Act - unconscionable conduct.

"Factors the court will consider
Section 51AC sets out several factors the court can consider in deciding whether conduct was unconscionable. They include, but are not limited to:

the relative bargaining strength of the parties
whether the stronger party imposed conditions that were not necessary to protect their legitimate business interest
the use of undue influence, pressure or unfair tactics
whether the weaker party could obtain supply on better terms elsewhere
whether the stronger party made adequate disclosure to the weaker party
the willingness of the stronger party to negotiate
the extent to which each party acted in good faith
the requirements of any relevant industry code."

It is a long shot, but it may make some people in Yahoo Overture sit up and take notice. Then they may go back to Yahoo Japan and put pressure on them.

2:59 am on Nov 25, 2004 (gmt 0)

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We have now been approved as a JATA member.

Now we will see what Yahoo Japan has to say!

4:04 am on Nov 25, 2004 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator bill is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

Please do keep us posted about what Yahoo Japan has to say about this. Also, it might be interesting to hear what you had to do to attain JATA membership. That could be helpful for others in your situation.
5:59 am on Dec 1, 2004 (gmt 0)

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WE WON - well at least our ads are running on Yahoo! Japan again.

Thanks to all of you who have provided feedback and ideas on this major issue.

Key points we needed to achieve.
JATA membership
Contact address and phone number in Japan.

I am not sure how hard it will be for others to obtain the JATA membership. We are already members of similar groups in Australia, but I am not sure if this makes all the difference.

We still really had to hassle Overture to get Yahoo! Japan to review our sites again. It is by no means an automatic thing.

3:32 am on Dec 16, 2004 (gmt 0)

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I knew it was never going to be this simple.

Overture seems to be finding any reason to reject any new or amended listings we have running with them.

Their lastest issue is to complain that we have a link on one of our sites to another site that is generally about Australia. Within this site they have found something that does not adhere to their "pharmaceutical affairs law".


So if we link to Google will they reject it because they can find something in one of the sites in there that does not adhere to their policy?


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