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Yahoo Publisher Targeting: How Hard Can This Be To Fix?

Open Memo to Terry Semel

2:13 pm on May 2, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Dear Mr. Semel;

Would you please visit the Yahoo Publisher department and have a conversation with your software engineer(s)?

Yahoo is losing at least a BILLION dollars a year in revenue due to poor ad targeting on your Publisher product.

Here's a summary of the problem: (Key: "<>" means "does not equal" in geek speak)

1) ford trucks <> teeth whitening
2) mortgage loan <> plastic surgery
3) real estate <> cosmetic dentistry

I understand that it's difficult to run such a large company, but Google is bringing in over a BILLION DOLLARS A QUARTER with it's Adsense program, which is very well targeted.

I read in a magazine last month that you have a "Real Rocket Scientist" on staff that "knows more about us from our search patterns than than we know about ourselves". His name is Dr. Usama Fayyad. Maybe he could help out?

Yahoo Publisher was much better targeted in January 2007, right before Panama was rolled out. It appears that changes in the Panama system may have something to do with the problems we are all experiencing in Publisher. Just a little hint to get you started looking for the problem.

P.S. (disclosure) - I'm a Yahoo shareholder as well as an advertiser and publisher.

Best regards;

12:04 am on May 7, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Inventory Software <> "hot Singles"

It is sad to watch a company slip into mediocrity and then oblivion.

8:39 pm on May 14, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Even sadder than YPN failing to provide relevant ads (although they have a nice inventory of them available as seen in their SERPS) is the increasing trend of honest publishers getting instant boots for "poor quality traffic".

I can understand that YPN is losing money and advertisers due to their lack of relevancy in ad placement, but it seems a bit crazy to me to take this out on publishers, instead of just fixing the problem.

At least they told me I was welcome to apply again when the Beta is over. But I wouldn't mind smacking them lightly about the head with the great open letter above in the meantime... ;)

11:17 pm on May 14, 2007 (gmt 0)

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I sent another complaint to them last week regarding totally irrelavent ads being served (this time they were displaying ads about some sex clinic,,, totally unrelated and out in left field). Today I get a notice from some content analyst named Mary that my ad targeting option has been disabled. I wasn't using the targeted ads feature for this site and aside from that the targeted ads featured never worked to begin with. Are they just a bunch of idiots? I'll probalbly get my account suspended for posting this.
11:23 pm on May 14, 2007 (gmt 0)

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DBCoders, we got the same email from Mary, whoever she is. Disabled our targeting feature, which we never used anyway because it was worse than the contextual "targeting." I really don't think they know what they are doing.
3:08 am on May 15, 2007 (gmt 0)

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First time I heard from Mary was in my "Dear John" letter.

Few months before, I had tried the targeting feature to try to bring some sense to the ads, and it did help slightly, as I was able to get some chat ads into the "mix" that might have appealed a bit more to the younger crowd on my site, over the mortgage ads and local deck builders. But soon I heard about several accounts getting whacked for using the targeting feature, so I dropped it.