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Monday, June 9, 2008

Yahoo! Optimizing Ad Campaigns – Without Your Consent

Posted by @ 4:44 am
2
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The helpful people at Yahoo! are threatening offering to optimize the ads in your search advertising campaign according to a recent change in their terms of service (TOS), according to RustyBrick over at SEroundtable.

In a move that has sparked uproar in the search advertising community, the sneaky change to their TOS, now allows Yahoo! to access users accounts and undertake changes to improve the performance of the campaigns – WITHOUT the advertisers’ consent.

Unauthorized changes to advertisers account is genuinely concerning, no matter what their apparent motives. Here’s how the new TOS read:

OPTIMIZATION. In the U.S. only, for those advertisers not bound by an Insertion Order, we may help you optimize your account(s). Accordingly, you expressly agree that we may also: (i) create ads, (ii) add and/or remove keywords, and/or (iii) optimize your account(s). We will notify you via email of such changes made to your account(s), and can also include a spreadsheet of such changes upon your written request. If you would like any of such changes reversed, please reply to such email within 14 days of the change(s), and we will make commercially reasonable efforts to reverse the change(s) you specifically identify. Notwithstanding the foregoing, you remain responsible for all changes made to your account(s), including all click charges incurred prior to any reversions being made. It is your responsibility to monitor your account(s) and to ensure that your account settings are consistent with your business objectives.”

So in essence, its another case of “buyer” beware. If you don’t email Yahoo! upfront and remove their right to optimize your account, then you’re giving them permission to spend your advertising budget as they see fit.

Now, i’m sure (okay – fairly sure) the intention of this strategy isn’t to abuse the trust of Yahoo! advertisers and unscrupulously spend their ad dollars – but surely they could have offered such assistance in a far more transparent way.

Is asking for assistance so hard. Many advertisers would have jumped at the chance to get their campaigns optimized for free! But threatening to change accounts without prior approval is almost laughable – if it wasn’t true.

At this stage, the TOS change is only impacting US advertisers, however i strongly implore all advertisers to pay close attention to any communications from Yahoo!, and unless they wish for Yahoo! to manage their campaigns without notice, email them to prevent it from happening.



Rene LeMerle Rene is the marketing manager of ineedhits.com - a global search engine marketing company. He also leads the marketing for Gooruze.com - a web 2.0 style community for online and digital marketers. Rene has been in the industry since 1997 with much of that time spent helping businesses embrace the best of the internet and digital world.

View Rene LeMerle's profile






Discussion (2 - comments)

I am currently running a campaign with yahoo, it is optimised for the keywords that i can afford.

The reason for “keeping it cheap” is to do just that and keep the products cheap. Any intervention and/or alterations to my keywords would cost me dearly.

By Steve B - June 10, 2008



totally agree steve. that’s the biggest issue with any company interfering with a self serve model. They can’t really understand the thinking behind your tactics without discussing them with you first.

and let’s face it – in this scenario – they have different motives to the user ;)

By Rene LeMerle - June 10, 2008




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