While the US government accuses Google of, in part, favoring its own properties in search results, Yahoo appears to be doing the same thing on download-related searches. And, in the process of offering downloads of popular software, Yahoo is also offering searchers additional downloads including the Yahoo Toolbar.
This was first spotted by GFI Labs, which showed how certain download-related searches always presented Yahoo’s download site, downloads.yahoo.com, at the top of the results page, ahead of the official website.
That alone isn’t unusual. Google and Bing both often show their own properties at the top of search results. Yahoo does, too — remember our Yahoo Search Direct Alphabet article from earlier this year, which showed how 21 of the 26 letters of the alphabet led to a Yahoo property in Yahoo’s new Search Direct tool.
In my testing, not all download-related searches led to Yahoo Downloads first; it didn’t show up at all, for example, on searches like “download adobe acrobat” and “download chrome.”
But, as GFI reports (using a search for a program called Teamviewer), when Yahoo does show its own portal first, there’s more going on after the download happens from there:
If the user runs the download from this page, they will be presented with an offer for the Yahoo toolbar and then either Shop to Win or Social Ribbons add-on. After the user accepts or declines these offers, the installer then downloads the actual Teamviewer installer from Tucows to the user’s desktop and and prompts the user to run it.
GFI has a screenshot of the extra download “offers” that Yahoo is including. Here’s the offer for the Yahoo toolbar:
GFI says the other download offers are affiliate/charity related, but Yahoo offers few details about how much money is donated, nor where the money goes.
This appears to be a PC-only concern. I’ve just downloaded a Mac-based program from Yahoo Downloads and, after launching the downloaded file, was not presented with any extra offers from Yahoo.
And, needless to say, if searchers skip the Yahoo Downloads result and get the software from the official site, they also won’t get hit with extra download offers from Yahoo, either.
There’s more discussion on Techmeme.