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Recent Experiences with Yahoo Search Marketing?



7:30 pm on Jan 10, 2007 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

We have been using Goto/Overture/Yahoo Marketing since the start.
In the past the majority of our sales were due to Goto.
When they became Overture we saw an even greater increase up to a couple of months ago the sales from Overture became so low that we had to drop them.

Google conversions are very high for us as well as MSN.
Every so often we will test Yahoo to see how it's working.
Today we logged in only to see a mess of some sort, this might be because we need to learn the new upgrade interface.

We're about to restart our campaign again on Yahoo but are a little afraid of what we see.
Has anyone had any positive or negative experiences with Yahoo lately that can offer to this post.
Should we hold off on using them?


12:31 am on Jan 12, 2007 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

I was quadrupling my money with my Yahoo/Overture PPC's before the switch.

I knew it was gonna be bad when we switched to the new upgrade.

Now I'm making hardly anything after the switch.

Yahoo's phone support assured me that everything would pretty much stay the same. ie. same approx positions, same ads, same ctr.

Ya right..
My Conversion tracking does not work anymore. I'm now spending what I make, ie spending $400 in clicks to make $400 in sales ie 0 profit. It took me 3 yrs to get it right with Yahoo/Overture, and they washed it all away in 1 day..

Looking elsewhere now. Msn Maybe..


5:00 am on Jan 12, 2007 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

That sounds terrible.
When I logged in, it has a link at the top of the page
to click on for information about the upgrade, It does not work.
To have a crucial link that does not work makes it look like they are letting their service go.

Our keywords don't appear nor can we get any response from a Yahoo rep

I really hope this is just something that is just part of a difficult upgrade.


6:55 pm on Jan 13, 2007 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I just wanted to retract my last statement.
The links that did not work are not the fault of Yahoo but it was just a problem with the routing on the internet.


5:49 pm on Jan 14, 2007 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

They were nice to enough to "migrate" us...and screw up all of our keywords and ads. Nothing like having to go back through and change about 5000 ads/keywords..oh well, didn't have anything planned for February anyway :rollseyes:


2:58 pm on Jan 15, 2007 (gmt 0)

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

Yahoo warned everyone months ago about this update and how you need to create campaigns for eacg set of keywords to keep this from happening. Our upgrade with smooth as silk other than the opt into content and advanced search that increased our spend, I opted out of them and back to normal, I am well satisfied with the upgrade.


5:58 pm on Jan 17, 2007 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I believe that some it worked for and some it may have not.
I admit I did not have time to go through and study the material in the emails that Yahoo had sent us.

I also believe depending on your circumstances you can or will be effected in one way or another so just expect it.
* Make sure to set your daily budget and cut your bids way down until all the bugs are out and your sure of the quality of traffic your getting ....

Our campaign is still down since the upgrade, after a week we had someone from tech support contact us with ( I'm posting this so someone who is having a similar problem may gain )

YAHOO TECH: "notice that your ad is currently
offline. You may wish to set it to online, wait for about 15 minutes
and then attempt to search for yourself online."

The case is when we log-in it's in fact marked as online on our end, which makes me think that it's not updating in their system.
So we don't have a choice at this point, we can't use it if it don't work.

handsome rob

7:57 pm on Jan 17, 2007 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Hah. I can't even log into my account now on any computer in our office. My alleged support rep can't get me to a tech support person because they all have "heavy case loads right now". What a disaster. I'm betting Content Match will be turned back on when I finally do get into the account, even though we disabled it 6 months ago.


7:22 pm on Jan 18, 2007 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

I've been struggling with the Panama upgrade since my first account crossed over back in November. I've learned alot in the process.

1st and foremost - their login URL's for the Panama interface vary and due to this, their cookies get messed up. If you can't access the login page - KILL YOUR COOKIES. This works for both IE7 and Firefox.

YES - Yahoo warned all advertisers of the upgrade and offered helpful tips to organize your account for the new structure.

That's all well and good for small Yahoo accounts. If you manage a large sized account (I have a few YSM Platinum accounts) - chances are, you already have many categories. Slicing and dicing these categories into smaller more relevant categories sounds great, but can be quite difficult to execute. When you consider that Panama only allows a MAXIMUM of 20 campaigns, creating a 'ton' of categories to ease your upgrade is a waste of time. Once you get into Panama, you'll have to condense your campaigns down so that you can use Bulk Uploading and in essence, not kill your account. And what did Yahoo do? They took away our ability to move keywords within Panama. You can move AdGroups, but not individual keywords.

I've had numerous discussions with YSM support staff and more recently the YSM Platinum team. Even the "creme de la creme" are still learning the new interface and don't have answers to my questions. All in all this is a disaster of billion dollar proportions. Hopefully Yahoo is scanning the forums and listening to those of us who are patient enough to work through these problems and continue to use their PPC programs despite the mess that it is!


10:12 pm on Jan 18, 2007 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

total garbage

Imported into created campaigns, ad groups were created from god knows what...
the template/csv upload works quickly, but does not overwrite the right places.

I am shutting it down for most clients until they get it together.

On the upside, i was able to talk to several reps. Seems like that is all i have done today.


1:52 am on Jan 22, 2007 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

I'm outraged, everything has gone wrong and I can't even track conversions. My Yahoo rep has been 'avoiding' me and gives me different answers for the same questions, meaning they don't have a damn clue. They couldn't have screwed up more than they have now. Didn't they beta test the new system before going live with it? I was upgraded to it without my approval way ahead of the upgrade deadline set.

handsome rob

3:26 pm on Jan 22, 2007 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Finally got into my yahoo account to find that parameters I'd appended to my URLs weeks ago have been stripped. I specifically called Yahoo before I made these changes to make sure this would not happen and I was told that as long as the changes were made live before the update, they would stick. They were, they didn't, not surprised. Luckily I saved the spreadsheet I used to make these changes, though we're not home yet.


3:41 pm on Jan 22, 2007 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

My biggest problem with Yahoo: the large percentage of wrong clicks. They will send you traffic for all kinds of unrelated search phrases. You can of course use stop words, but you can't figure them all out. This is not much of a problem with the other PPCs.


7:28 pm on Jan 22, 2007 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

After speaking with 6 - yes folks thats SIX different reps, I am convinced that no one at Yahoo understands the concept of semantics, ambiguity of language, or synonyms.

I have been told that dozens of search terms have been declined because that EXACT phrase does not appears on the landing page. I do not want nor do I attract irrelevant traffic and have been using PPC since the dawn of Altavista's failed effort, and GoTo's domination of the field.

I am absolutely astonished at the lack of understanding of users' search habits.

I've been repeatedly told "to enhance the users experience, I must put the exact phrase on the landing page." And this is after not one but TWO editorial reviews, supposedly by intelligent humans.

For example, a credit counseling and debt consolidation client could not bid on the words:
pay off credit cards, consolidate credit card debt, consolidate bills, etc. unless that exact character string appeared on the page.
I understand this at the machine generated pre-screening of the terms, but not at the subsequent two level editorial review.

My response: "It is not necessary for me to spend that revenue at Yahoo, nor rewrite landing pages for each term to accomodate their system, rather than the users. Those terms, and the existing landing pages convert just fine with other PPC vendors, thank you very much."

Apparently the average user is more adaptable and intelligent than the average YSM editor.

Yahoo continues to make doing business with Yahoo more difficult. Combined with a very clunky interface with no enhanced editing and management functionality, I see more revenues shifting elsewhere. Now, its a case of optimizing and maximizing the lead vendors accounts, and dropping the best terms sporadically into YSM, if it all. ASK and MSN benefit from this "upgrade' I am sure.
IMHO of course.


7:32 pm on Jan 22, 2007 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I received several emails and phone calls from Yahoo reps trying to help.
The biggest problem is their software just does not work, I have it set for the ads to run but on but their end it shows that it is still set to off.
They sent me a picture of what they see on their end and it's not what I'm seeing on my end, this is a very big bug.

I decided to just set up a different account and start over, I put a few keywords up 6 to be exact.

Red Widgets
Widget powered.

We make Widgets...

Directed them to the page with over a hundred Widgets.
Now I just received an email from them telling me all keywords were turned down because "Insufficient content on the landing page"

Well, our mind is made up at this point. I have a few large newspaper publications that have been waiting for an interview from us about Yahoo, we'll I guess we'll give them what they want.

Sorry Yahoo, we really did give you every chance we could.
The best of luck to you Yahoo,
Our prayers are with you...


8:46 pm on Jan 22, 2007 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

It is apparent to me that the "upgrade" has absolutely nothing to do with creating greater value for either the advertiser or user.

It has everything to do with creating additional revenue to stop the radical slide of their stock by attempting to mirror and improve upon a system that works (not their own).

I have seen accounts set at the same bids and account levels before the "upgrade" (which lasted 7 - 10 days pre-upgrade) drained in one day. With no subsequent increase in sales.

This on top of the nightmare of navigation and draconian and counterproductive editorial reviews.

This system will only be attractive to the huge advertisers who do not track their results or expenditures.

If that is the goal, Y will achieve it. A dozen or two advertisers in each category, spending at ridiculous levels - unaware of ROI, except that it (search marketing) still beats banner ads.

rant off. for now.


9:58 pm on Jan 22, 2007 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

I posted this elsewhere too

I can't - I've been waiting for over a week now for a call back from a supervisor.

An ex client of mine now has access to my account and Control Panel

#*$! is going on?

I have been with this program since the early Bill Gross days and these guys have nevr screwed up 'til now.

I even managed to get an "agitated" sounding supervisor yell that she would get back to me....

How <snip - language> can a client (of mine)get access to my master account which I've had for years?

Whater is going on at YSM is not cool I've had my account hijacked basically. <snip - call to action>

Rock on Google you guys deserve every penny

BTW YSM if you wish just give me a refund and I'll go to MSN <snip - specifics>

[edited by: werty at 7:37 pm (utc) on Jan. 23, 2007]
[edit reason] Please see TOS #14, #26 and #13 [/edit]


2:31 pm on Jan 23, 2007 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I wouldn't recommend Yahoo until they figure out what they want to do with their editorial review. <snip> It used to be that it was a pain in the neck to get ads approved. Now they are approved and show right away, but then some are randomly rejected each day for stupid reasons. I just had an ad that had "Widgets" in the title that directed the visitor to a page that sells "Widgets" get rejected because the ad was not relavant to the landing page. My favorite was when "widget software" was rejected because the ad was not relevant to the keyword. The ad title was "widget software" and the keyword was "widget software." Um yeah.

Sometimes I think that Yahoo doesn't want to make money.

Oh, don't bring this up with their customer support reps. You'll get hung up on. They don't want to hear it - especially not from advertisers that spend hundreds of thousands of dollars each year on PPC advertising.

[edited by: werty at 7:12 pm (utc) on Jan. 23, 2007]
[edit reason] Removed inflammatory language - see TOS #14 [/edit]

handsome rob

2:41 pm on Jan 23, 2007 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

>>It has everything to do with creating additional revenue to stop the radical slide of their stock by attempting to mirror and improve upon a system that works (not their own).

John I'd high-five you if I could reach from New Jersey. I have been saying this since their stock was skiers paradise. People who are putting their money into YHOO should stop by WebmasterWorld for a coke and a smile so they can realize how many advertisers are getting screwed here and how many are dropping their campaigns (temporarily or indefinitely).


4:31 pm on Jan 23, 2007 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

I just sent an email to yahoo for all the good it will do. Their new system is a total waste. After almost 5 years of pumping a lot of money into overture and now yahoo, I think I'm just about done with them. I'm giving them this week yet just to see if there is any improvement, and if not it will be just google and msn from now on. I don't know who had the bright idea to change everything, but I've got a feeling they're going to lose a lot of us.

This is the most ridiculous system I have ever seen.


4:50 pm on Jan 23, 2007 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I'm probably in a minority here, but I am trying to ride it out with the new Yahoo. We have had a few stange happenings on our account.

Like with the keyword: "[brand name] [product name] [service]". They approved "[product name] [service]", but disapproved us bidding on "[brand name] [product name] [service]" claiming insufficient content.

We also have an issue with creating new campaigns, one of our accounts gets stuck on step 4. Their support is trying to figure out the problem.

That said, I have often found a decent ROI with Yahoo. So even with a few hickups, I am hoping they will fix it so we can continue with them.

I don't think personal anger/grievances should affect business decisions.


5:40 pm on Jan 23, 2007 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

The saga continues. Using the default keyword insertion option, I keep getting an error that says I must use a shorter title. Um, if I am allowed 40 characters in the title, and I put 38 characters in the default text, should it not be displayed?

No. Of course not. The dynamic keyword insertion formatting takes up 10 of your allowed characters. You must be restricted to 30 characters. But its not indicated anywhere.

I manage over $3 million bucks worth of clicks a year, and never have I had this much trouble with a system.

To Y's credit , I got a sticky from another rep, responding to my rants.
I may take her up on a chat on a client's dime - but not my own. I've wasted too much time to assist in debugging Y's upgrade for free.

Additionally, my last phone rep was so clueless I had to actually stop her 3 times from reading to me how to use the keyword insertion bit. And that "You could also use it in the descrip-- " PLEASE STOP!

I have a client with over 5,000 keywords who needs adjustments tomorrow. Awesome. I can't wait.
Pass the valium.

PS. The decisions I am making are based on ROI for my clients, and cost effectiveness. If the cost of me managing the account due to inefficiencies in the system lowers the ROI of the total campaign I can not in good conscience continue the campaign. Or back out and let it run itself. That would be a hoot.


6:23 pm on Jan 23, 2007 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

We were fortunate to have had much, much involvement from Yahoo in the past 12 months to prepare for the transition to Panama; so much so that I feel bad hearing so many of your migration horror stories. Nevertheless, in our case the phased migration of our ~$100M in annual YSM spend has gone much better than most of you are describing - I guess that comes down to having had so much resource on our side and theirs to work through it in advance.



7:44 pm on Jan 23, 2007 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member

we'll know the consensus after tonight's earnings release and tomorrow's market reaction to it. glad i'm not an owner of their stock, tomorrow's bound to be a bumpy ride.


8:08 pm on Jan 23, 2007 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

I agree with Shorebreak to a point.

The first few accounts that I 'upgraded' were medium to small accounts. They were all disasters. More recently I've been working with some of my bigger (platinum) accounts. The help I've received from the Yahoo Platinum Team has been much more attentive and helpful then that of the normal support staff. They Platinum support staff are willing to find workarounds and honest answers instead of telling me that I'm SOL. HOWEVER - they still aren't that well versed in their own software and even at the higher levels are stumbling trying to ease the transition. But as I've said in earlier posts, for those of us who feel that YSM is an essential part of our PPC campaigns, we have no choice but to be patient and ride out the storm.


8:26 pm on Jan 23, 2007 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

It would stand to reason that an account of $100 million would get a bit of assistance. It would not surpise me at all if this type of account was used as a test to dry run the entire system.

Those are the accounts that the system would and indeed should be built around.

I eagerly await results on a few of my accounts - those that have volunteered to be guinea pigs.

Does anyone have a resource regarding second and third level distribution partners?


12:34 am on Jan 24, 2007 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Oops - sorry about the not quite profanities on my earlier post - they weren't actual profanities but close.

I still have no resolution and an ex client has access to my account which I don't have access to - that may sound funny but when I have Google clients spending $ x thousands every month - seamlessly why should I recommend Yahoo SM when they can't get my account back to me?

I would take a days credit of $500 to set my own account back up - Sarah I got your sticky but can't access it - please help me my Yahoo email address is zip94596 at yahoo.com - business email too not a freebie and check out all my hosting accounts with you guys...

Sarah please help and you guys need some love on your CS side or are they as frustrated as us paying customers?

Feel free to mail me

At least THANK YOU! for not deserting what seems to be a sinking ship.


1:33 am on Jan 24, 2007 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Thank you YahooSarah,

Brad was great and very polite.



3:07 am on Jan 24, 2007 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I'm in the process of upgrading 3 seperate accounts.
My biggest surprise, so far, is the inability to bulk update bids for an adgroup or ad. You have to click into each keyword seperately to see the bid range and make a bid adjustment.
It seems strange that they wouldn't allow you to do it all on one page as you could in the old overture and still can in Google or MSN. I suspect it's a desire to obfuscate bidding in order to increase overall bids. Unfortunately it means I'll shift my budget towards other systems where I feel more able to manage my performance.


6:28 am on Jan 24, 2007 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Unfortunately, my problems reside in the quality of traffic in a few industries. Many of their "search partners" are low quality and don't seem to have many guidelines to follow. It seems as though they are just trying to grab every penny they can at the expense of their traffic quality.
This 39 message thread spans 2 pages: 39

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