Earlier this month, Yahoo! incited industry uproar with an apparent change to their PPC advertising terms and conditions which allowed them to optimize a customer’s account without their consent.
Yes – they can tweak your PPC campaigns (perhaps so you spend more), without asking you first.
Some three weeks after the uproar started, the Yahoo! PR team have swung into action in an effort to defend the initiative. A post titled “The truth about Account Optimizations” was released to calm the masses.
According to the post, account optimization’s aims are:
- It’s designed to make our small to mid-sized advertisers more successful.
- It’s meant to give this group of advertisers a service level and expertise that typically is available only to larger advertisers.
- It is intended to help raise the performance of accounts that are experiencing issues like low-quality quality scores, low lead volume or low click-through rates.
- It is reducing the time required to make optimizations by eliminating back-and-forth voicemails.
- It is limited in scope. We may make changes in these three areas:
- Creating new ads for existing ad groups and enabling ad testing
- Writing multiple versions of ads for any new ad groups we create, then enabling ad testing
- Searching our database for keywords that can drive more targeted traffic to an advertiser’s site
- It is transparent. Advertisers are notified of any changes within 24 hours (usually, fewer than eight hours).
- It is reversible. An advertiser can ask us to reverse the changes, although we ask that you do so with in two weeks from the date on which the changes were made.
All very noble intentions it would appear. And as the post points out, Account Optimization was actually launched in Jun 08, evidently without anyone noticing.
According to the terms and conditions, advertisers are able to opt out of the program through a Support Request. The questions remains, why not let advertisers opt-in rather than having to opt out.
Yahoo! isn’t alone in the “account tampering” allegations, with Google trialling “automatic matching” back in February last year. Google also employed an opt-out approach which created a similar sentiment of negativity throughout the industry.
If their intentions are genuine, and the program really does provide value to small scale advertisers, I’d like to see Yahoo! change their T&Cs and potentially be more transparent into the promotion of the ‘service’.
What do you think? Would you trust Yahoo! to optimize your PPC account? Share your thoughts below.