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Yahoo's definition of a problem site



6:53 pm on Apr 25, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

After repeated, unanswered emails, we finally heard back from Yahoo about why our site was abruptly dropped from its index.

Without citing specifics, Yahoo says we have failed to comply with "content policy guidelines," which include:
-- Cloaking (showing crawlers deceptive content about a site)
-- Massive domain interlinking
-- Use of affiliate programs without the addition of substantial unique content Use of reciprocal link programs (aka link farms)
-- Hidden text
-- Excessive keyword repetition

The email also referred us to the following URL:

We engage in none of the practices banned by Yahoo. So what's our recourse? Apparently, there is none.

Yahoo's response ended in a generic Q&A with Yahoo! saying they are currently developing a re-review option that will be launched soon.

In other words, there currently is no option. If Yahoo is simply wrong, too bad for you. Or, if you have violated one of their rules and you correct the problem, you currently have no way (without paying) to be restored to the index.

Paraphrased email quote

[edited by: DaveAtIFG at 1:36 am (utc) on May 26, 2004]
[edit reason] No direct email quotes per TOS 9 [/edit]


9:13 pm on Apr 25, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I got one the same but I also had a personal note added which helped a lot, in the end I decided to leave the site as it was becuase it was ranking ok on other search engines.

Some thing s that are ok with most other SE's may not be ok with Y and thats a fact of life that we have to live with, in your case they have spotted something they don't like and put a penalty on your site, the list looks easy enough to check and if you are doing any one of them them you are out for now.


10:42 pm on Apr 27, 2004 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

One of our client's sites was banned by Yahoo! and we could not get it back in. A request for review did nothing and we were told the site was in violation of their TOS, but no specifics were offered. Okay, fine. So we submitted a Trusted Feed. The review came back fine and the site was approved and the site was back in Yahoo! generating nice traffic. Only problem now is it is 30 cents a click, whereas before it was free.

I smell a rat.



10:51 pm on Apr 27, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

No rat I'm sure if Y does not like what you are doing they warn you by banning you, most probably the paid inclusion team look for certain things and may miss something whilst the the banning team act on spam reports.

My site got banned as they thought it was a possible link farm, hint I had a commonly used link exchange programme (not one of those automated jobs), looks like the days of recip linking from a directory of non related sites may be numbered.

The odd thing is that the sites I built 3 years ago and have written off using the now outlawed methods of hidden text and doorways are doing very well on Y but I'm sure it won't last.


2:24 am on Apr 28, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

" Okay, fine. So we submitted a Trusted Feed. The review came back fine and the site was approved and the site was back in Yahoo! generating nice traffic."

This is not surprising and actually makes sense.

If you did a Trusted Feed, then the FEED (and not the actual page) went through a quality review, to ensure it wasn't violating the Terms of Service. I do believe their is checking of the actual site to ensure that the feed reflects the content of the site but not of the optimization (or over optimization) because that is done in the feed. And the feed is what is going to provide the index with information on the ranking.

So no need to get the rat traps out!


11:55 pm on May 20, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Yahoo! is currently developing a re-review option that will be launched soon.

Any news on this yet? I have just cleaned up a site to fit with the Yahoo! guidelines and is ready for a re-review.


12:46 am on May 21, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Keeper, I'm looking into this. More to come.


5:06 am on May 21, 2004 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Yahoo Mike - I have a theory about what could be causing my site to be penalized - can you verify if this would cause a problem?:

The site has some private label affiliate content ... it also has hundreds of pages of unique custom content however, mind you...so it does not meet the spam criteria, its a deep site. At any rate, when you go to the products pages on the private label affiliate site, the pages are returned with my site's template surrounding the content. Is it possible that having this template served from another server is causing a duplicate content issue?

Also, I have some content in a seperate subdomain - is it possible the links back and forth between www.xyz.com and go.xyz.com are cuasing a "massive domain interlinking" problem?

Any guidance you can provide would be much appreciated.

Also - will fixing whatever the problem is result in the penalty being lifted or does it require manual intervention?


6:54 pm on May 21, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I am going to chime in and say "me too". We have vanished from Yahoo's search results. Our pages are indexed, because I can see them when I search for a specific URL. We just don't appear in the key word results. I have wracked my brain going over Yahoo's guidelines, and we abide by their (rather vague) rules.

Our content is relevant, we don't spam, we don't do any of the things their online guide says not to do. We are a reputable company that has been in business (electronics test equipment) for 20 years. Prior to disappearing from Yahoo's search results, we always appeared in the top 5. We're at or near the top in Google for all of our major key word search terms.

Meanwhile on Yahoo, many actual spammers DO appear in the Yahoo top search results for. Currently, for our most important search term, spammers occupy positions 7,8,9 and 10.

If I pay Yahoo now, should I trust them? Was that their goal all along? It certainly appears that way.


8:43 pm on May 21, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Lou, Yahoo does seem to have this private agenda to "force" people into paying sitematch, despite their public stance that one has nothing to do with the other.

There's a few things I haven't mentioned that certainly lead me to suspect they have less than the best of intentions with all of this.

I am currently trying to work out a similar issue as the one you are having and am waiting to see how this is resolved before coming to conclusions. I'll report back my ultimate findings.


9:05 pm on May 21, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

For a fun I tried to look for my site in Yahoo (just hoping) but I got plenty of affiliate sites that are selling my service but my business has a penalty. If this isn't rubbish what is?

I clicked on 4 websites in a given search result that were down (file not found). If this isn't rubbish what is?

No matter how I look at it, Yahoo search is a total misunderstanding of the Internet today.


8:47 pm on May 24, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

cabbagehead & LouMinatit, the address for such requests is webmasterworld@yahoo.com

Incidently Lou, is there any significance in your username, or is this your real name? You can sticky your response to me...


3:23 pm on May 25, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I've noticed a change where my site is being indexed/crawled again, but pages are still not appearing in the serps for any extended period (it seems they appear for a short time and then are "filtered" or penalized out soon after). So, at least it's SOME progress. The key will be if my site gets back into the SERPs like they had been before we used Sitematch. Otherwise my suspicions continue to be raised.


5:57 pm on May 25, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

d_stew, thanks, but Yahoo hasn't replied to my numerous queries. I just bit the bullet and signed up for Site Match. I will monitor this for the next few days and see what happens. If our site appears in the search results I'll let everyone know.

It's not that I necessarily resent having to pay for click-thrus. I recognize the cost of doing business, and we're not expecting tens of thousands of click-thrus anyway. Based on our prior Yahoo stats, we can expect a few hundred monthly click-thrus at most, so it's not a lot of money.

What I resent is the complete lack of communication from Yahoo about this problem, their extremely vague list of reasons why you can be banned (which appears to have been updated during the past week, BTW), and their practice of adding paid inclusions to the search results without telling the person doing the search. I won't use Yahoo search for that very reason. It would be like reading a newspaper without you knowing that the newspaper was paid to run many of the stories. It smacks of dishonesty and a "grab the bucks while you can before this is discovered by the general public" mentality.


11:17 am on May 26, 2004 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Yahoo hasn't replied to my numerous queries. I just bit the bullet and signed up for Site Match.

And that's the business model Yahoo! seems to be employing.

Is there any truth to the rumour that Yahoo!'s Sitematch product is based on a 1920's Mob business model called 'protection money'?


3:12 pm on May 26, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member


it's now about two months(+-) since my biggest site got back into Yahoo!

'and after having done so very well during that length of time I now see that the site is being penalised again it looks like. For what reason I've no idea.

Yet, entering the full URL for a search does bring up a full 840 pages as being indexed...searching for the site name brings up everyone else instead.

What gives Yahoo?

Yahoo-Mike, might this be one of the old caches I'm seeing? Think this will only be intermittent? Or shall I prepare to once again write to that ResearchSpam email addy?


4:40 pm on May 26, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

The thing is though, that even after you pay, it seems that you still get screwed, in some cases (like mine?) even worse than if you hadn't done Sitematch. It seems this could act as a deterrent for people to join rather than an incentive.

We're in the middle of trying to resolve our issue. It seems Yahoo is more than willing to approve/accept us into their paid Sitematch program yet we are under a penalty (that didn't appear until after we "paused" our Sitematch campaign) with the organic side. That's a double standard that we just aren't comfortable with. If they lift our organic penalty, I will give them credit for being fair as they purport to be, but indications are not pointing that way.


4:06 pm on May 27, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member


As I mentioned previously, we vanished from Yahoo a few months ago after consistently appearing in the top search results for years. On Tuesday of this week we signed up for the Site Match program. As of this morning we are back in the top search results for the most common key word searches. The Overture account screen currently shows our order is still pending, and we have not been charged for any click-thrus.


4:36 pm on May 27, 2004 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



4:48 pm on May 27, 2004 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

One of my sites was in the top ten, than went down to no where, than back up and down, it seems they are having BIG problems with their index. During this time it has done this we have made no changes to our site and I have also heard a lot of others say the same thing is happening to them.

I hope Yahoo will look into this and fix the problem!


7:13 pm on May 28, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Well, I finally heard back from Yahoo.

My site doesn't conform to content guidelines, etc.

Meanwhile, we're in the top search results now that we paid for SiteMatch.

Interesting. We had been banished to virtual nonexistence due to an undescribed penalty so that their search results will remain pure and honest, but once we forked over the requisite fees we're back in the swing of things.

As a webmaster, what should I conclude about this? What should Yahoo search users conclude about this?

More critically from a business standpoint, why should I make changes to my website so that I can get back into Yahoo's good graces, when it could potentially jeopardize my Google placement?

Paraphrased email quote

[edited by: DaveAtIFG at 10:00 pm (utc) on May 28, 2004]
[edit reason] NO email quotes TOS 9! [/edit]


8:14 pm on May 28, 2004 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

I have seen about five cases of where I was positive that sites were penalized but they were admitted via Site Match. Your's is the first verbal evidence I have seen though Lou. I wouldn't celebrate to much because some took that route, got back in, but were bumped out 1 to 4 weeks later. In the mean time the time lags lead them to add more url's that were subsequently bumped also. Its really dangerous business to be dealing with past and present PFI programs that seem to have questionable integrity. To many people complaining to offset any positives.

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