Traffick - The Business of Search Engines & Web Portals
Blog Categories (aka Tags) Archive of Traffick Articles Our Internet Marketing Consulting Services Contact the Traffickers Traffick RSS Feed

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Publisher Ethics: Yahoo, Welcome to the Blagosphere

You can take the Yahoo out of the country...but you can't take the GoTo out of Yahoo?

Our industry seems rather talked out these days, but if you look hard enough, there is actually some discussion of Yahoo's recent terms-and-conditions update for the search marketing program, the crazy one that gives Yahoo the right to go in and "optimize" your search marketing account unilaterally. As benign as it may appear internally, and as infrequently as "bad" incursions may take place, a line has been crossed. Why is the line so obvious to the rest of us, and so invisible to Yahoo? Where does the buck stop, there? What spokesperson is willing to stand up and explain or defend this policy?

As difficult as the Google AdWords environment has proven to be for many advertisers, and as revenue-focused and self-serving as some AdWords features may be, I've always defended Google against unfair criticism by comparing their approach to that of their competitors. When it comes to hard-to-follow features, matching options, traffic segments seen as undesirable by many, and so forth, Google has usually gotten around to adding the crucial element to the advertiser-publisher relationship: the opt-out. Know which boxes to check or uncheck? Understand how to get reporting breakdowns by segment? Then you can protect yourself from getting hosed by Google and their partners. A high percentage of advertisers don't know how to protect themselves against things like Automatic Matching (or even what that means), but at least the opt-outs are available.

Although pretty heavy-handed in some cases, this also goes for Google's "optimization suggestions." While Google is pushing the "room for improvement" notifications a little too hard, in my opinion, at least they don't reserve the right to jump into your account and make the changes arbitrarily.

Yahoo has a long history of making it harder to opt out of various traffic segments. Always behind, bringing up the rear, being dragged kicking and screaming into offering superior targeting options to advertisers by the progressive force in the space (Google). Panama was a fine platform aimed at playing catchup, but came very late to the scene. Geotargeting is just one element that Yahoo brought late to the party, and even then, it wasn't ready for prime time.

Why does all this matter?

The search marketing and digital marketing industries have very little going for them if not for credibility and accountability. Today we have a golden opportunity to stand out and contrast with traditional marketing during the present weak-economy-driven "flight to accountability." A shame, then, wherever the story we have to tell has to be tempered with red-faced shuffling of feet: "oh, well, that part's still kind of shady... sorry."

And just look around at the negative examples in other walks of life: folks who clearly didn't get the concept of an opt-out check-box:


Bernie Madoff to investors:

Do you want your life savings to be placed into a Ponzi scheme and stolen by myself?

YES ___ YES ___

Rod Blagojevich to Illinois voters:

Would you like me to make Illinois a laughingstock by transforming this high office into the "eBay of government corruption"?

YES ___ YES ___


It would be a shame to conclude that waning levels of discussion and debate (and outrage) in our industry mean we've become immune to hypocrisies and arbitrary measures, based on a steady stream of "corruption news" in industry and government. Saying nothing is easier. But it guarantees that the imaginary "line" gets blurrier and blurrier, in all of our dealings. At a certain point that makes it difficult to function at all. (Book recommendation on this subject: Stephen M.R. Covey, The Speed of Trust.)

There is some hope. Andy Beal's post about Yahoo garnered the highest number of comments in the blago... sorry, blogosphere. Now if we can call on Danny for a well-placed f-bomb or two, well, all four of us remaining protesters will focus on looking good for the videocams as the digital powers that be bulldoze us six feet under and subsequently remove the evidence from YouTube (for a TOS violation).

Still not convinced this is important?

Let's look at some other billing relationships and how the provider might just "give you a helping hand":

  • Your cellphone provider: "We reserve the right to phone your ex, tell them you're miserable, and to transfer those stored photos of you sobbing, to their phone."
  • Your "Healthy Optimized Meal Plan" delivery service: "In place of your gourmet meal, we reserve the right to send you apple pies and/or bales of hay."
  • Your dentist: "If we think it'll make you look better, we reserve the right to replace real teeth with gold ones. Matching gold-look chains: complimentary! (Platinum: extra charge.)"
  • Your cable company: Hmm, forget this one. I'm pretty sure whatever it is, they're already doing it to you.

Labels:

Posted by Andrew Goodman




View Posts by Category

 

Speaking Engagement

I am speaking at SMX East

Need Solid Advice?        

Google AdWords book


Andrew's book, Winning Results With Google AdWords, (McGraw-Hill, 2nd ed.), is still helping tens of thousands of advertisers cut through the noise and set a solid course for campaign ROI.

And for a glowing review of the pioneering 1st ed. of the book, check out this review, by none other than Google's Matt Cutts.


Posts from 2002 to 2010


07/2002
08/2002
09/2002
10/2002
11/2002
12/2002
01/2003
02/2003
03/2003
04/2003
05/2003
06/2003
07/2003
08/2003
09/2003
10/2003
11/2003
12/2003
01/2004
02/2004
03/2004
04/2004
05/2004
06/2004
07/2004
08/2004
09/2004
10/2004
11/2004
12/2004
01/2005
02/2005
03/2005
04/2005
05/2005
06/2005
07/2005
08/2005
09/2005
10/2005
11/2005
12/2005
01/2006
02/2006
03/2006
04/2006
05/2006
06/2006
07/2006
08/2006
09/2006
10/2006
11/2006
12/2006
01/2007
02/2007
03/2007
04/2007
05/2007
06/2007
07/2007
08/2007
09/2007
10/2007
11/2007
12/2007
01/2008
02/2008
03/2008
04/2008
05/2008
06/2008
07/2008
08/2008
09/2008
10/2008
11/2008
12/2008
01/2009
02/2009
03/2009
04/2009
05/2009
06/2009
07/2009
08/2009
09/2009
10/2009
11/2009
12/2009
01/2010
02/2010
03/2010
04/2010

Recent Posts


Subscribe, and Ye Shall Receive!

Wasn't It Obvious All Along? Simple Explanations f...

The Page Zero Paid Search Seminar is Back!

Bad SEO Holiday Alert

The Best Gift Is A Platform?

Andrew Publishes Free AdWords Guide: A Brave New W...

More on Engagement

I Just Had Another Baby!

Ring My Bell, SEM's, Says NASDAQ

Do Dumb Ads Hurt Your Brand?

 


Traffick - The Business of Search Engines & Web Portals

 


Home | Categories | Archive | About Us | Internet Marketing Consulting | Contact Us
© 1999 - 2013 Traffick.com. All Rights Reserved