• http://seog.net Michael @ SEOG.net

    I can’t comment on the revenue numbers or the questions with the security exchange, but as a search marketing advertiser who was heavily involved in the Business Week cover story on click fraud with Yahoo/Google last year (with MostChoice.com), I can say there were definitely more concerns with Yahoo regarding their partner network and the distribution of their search ads. Unlike Google, Yahoo did not allow (and still doesn’t as far as I can tell) an advertiser to opt out out of their “partners” in the search network, which were often of a dubious nature.

    As the BW article detailed, many of these sites were traced back to companies with offshore bank accounts and illicit systems to generate false clicks, bleeding away advertisers budgets, most unaware of what was really going on. I believe other advertisers started to catch on and pull back their spend in certain key finance verticals which may have accounted for them missing their revenue targets.

    Whether someone can be sued for losing market share is another question, but it is clear Yahoo needs to clean up their systems and allow more control and transparency to the process. With Google, you can select to only appear on Google, Google plus their search partners, Google + Content Network (at separate bid price) and it appears they are offering more targeting options everyday. Advertisers need to understand exactly what they are buying and where their ads are appearing, both for quality control/performance and also for liability issues. Major companies have gotten in trouble lately for their ads appearing in places like spyware pop-ups and junk sites which hurts their brand image and opens them up to lawsuits.

    Yahoo has many wonderful properties and innovative features, but they need to clean up their backend and focus on their core products if they are going to survive against Google. Panama is a good start but I think they need to do much more.

    Michael @ SEOG.net