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Obviously, this was very disturbing to me because I have always assumed that with Yahoo's content network match turned off that our ads would only show up on Yahoo.com and their "Major" partners. After talking to Yahoo about this, they confirmed what we saw was happening and their response was that soon we could use their new domain exclusion tool that they will be rolling out at the end of the month. Another solution that they did not give an ETA on was the ability to just have your ads show up on Yahoo.com.
I am curious if anyone else new about this or has seen similar issues with their campaigns?
Edit: just got off the phone with Yahoo and they feel these are "search partners". Today 250 clicks from "search partner", just one unique domain that I have never heard of and has zero content, just a parked page. 17 clicks from Yahoo. Yep, that is one quality partner.
It has been this way for years and years and doesn't just affect Yahoo, it is a moentisation model that many ppcs utilise and the traffic from domains can actually be very good if not abused. I guess as advertisers start to question more where their ads appear and tracking gets better this is just a natural query people now make but parking is pretty normal practise.
In fact these domains probably do belong to major partners as there will be a big company at the top of the tree that owns all these domains and thus be driving a great deal of traffic, its just that this is not always apparent from your stats.
Whats important to realise though is that a page of ads on its own is not necesarily a sign of low quality, sure it can be but thats why you need tracking. Parking programs are normal monetising activity and part of a very mature model, these pages are not a sign of bad behaviour.
That said you need the stats to identify the good domains from the bad but this is a model that has been around for a long time, 7-8 years in fact. In the past far too many advertisers never had tracking or used conversion code, now thats changing this is typical of the effects as now people have more data with which to ask questions.
I have noticed a trend though (probably a narrow one because the sample is relatively microscopic compared to the whole), as we manage a few accounts at Yahoo!:
If the KW is more expensive, then we see an increase in "crap" traffic from parked domains that aren't even related to the subject.
We haven't had a single conversion from those clicks.
On the flip side - we have several campaigns with less expensive key terms that do quite well with conversions and regular search traffic at Yahoo!.
As of now you cannot turn off "search partners" and only content. However - I think there is a way to help control costs and get far less clicks on those low quality "search partners".
1. Select campaign Tab.
2. See list of ad groups. > Locate SS column Bid (at top) > Adjust very low, while maintaining the keyword at your current or desired bid. (you can select a different bid amount for keyword in ad group and 1 for SS bid - just as you can select different bid amounts for individual keywords in an ad group.
I am pretty sure the "SS- Sponsored search bid" is for those search partners as loosely defined in the glossary and admin panel.
If you set the SS bid to .10 cents but the key word bit to 1.00 your in an ad group the keyword when appearing on yahoo search is 1.00 but on those low quality sites it will be .10 cents.
I have done some thorough investigation recently as I had terms increase in impression share by 300% overnight. The result was identifying new sites into the Yahoo 'search network' partner sites. The new domain blocking feature can't come fast enough for me!
Yahoo search spam accounted for 8% of our clicks last month, and of course conversion rates so low it tips those whole adgroups beyond profitable. As a result I turned off the offending keywords & adgroups till the option to opt out becomes available (these are mainly big generic terms for our industry). Since turning off these adgroups our spend has dropped dramatically but obliviously CPA has improved nicely. I’m expecting to also see decreased clicks from the Yahoo search partner sites as a result. I've had recent discussions with other search marketers (different industries to mine) who've now done investigations into their referring domains etc, and have come back reporting similar offences. They agreed it's seems to have increased dramatically in the last 2-3 months.