Yahoo Shortcuts For Sale?

Scott Hendison found an interesting Yahoo Shortcut that appears to have been sold. A search on special k at Yahoo Search returns this Yahoo Shortcut, which contains the Special K logo:

Kelloggs Special K Shortcut

This was submitted to Sphinn, where Danny Sullivan said:

It’s kind of disturbing, really. If this is a paid promotion, the FTC wants that stuff labeled as such. Yahoo just calls it a “Yahoo Shortcut” and points you here. Nothing on that page talks about them being for sale.

Should Yahoo follow Google and label this type of shortcut or special placement as a “promotion?”

Postscript: Turns out, the Yahoo Shortcuts page does say “Some of the content may come from partners who pay to be included in Yahoo! or have another financial relationship with Yahoo!.” Sorry for missing that; so technically, this is labeled as a promotion.

Postscript From Danny: Indeed, apologies for not seeing this listed at the top of the Yahoo Shortcuts help page, that some of these might be due to financial considerations. But no, technically it is not labeled as a promotion. A searcher has no idea whether that unit is there because of paid consideration or not. None. Yes, they get a page that tells them maybe this is an issue, but that particular unit is not labeled. Yahoo ought to consider dividing things up into Yahoo Shortcuts and Yahoo Sponsored Shortcuts. And then if something’s sponsored, the “Yahoo Sponsored Shortcuts” label next to the unit will make that crystal clear, for the searchers who care about such things.

Related Topics: Channel: Consumer | Yahoo: Shortcuts


About The Author: is Search Engine Land's News Editor and owns RustyBrick, a NY based web consulting firm. He also runs Search Engine Roundtable, a popular search blog on very advanced SEM topics. Barry's personal blog is named Cartoon Barry and he can be followed on Twitter here. For more background information on Barry, see his full bio over here.

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  • bradley601

    Yahoo! Paid Search Results included with Organic Search Results? How Confusing! I don’t want to see the search results from those companies with the most money to spend, at the top of my search results.

  • Philipp Lenssen

    Funny, Yahoo also shows a shortcut when you enter [bourne ultimatum], just like Google does, except of course each engine links to their own video service (Yahoo to Yahoo Movies, and Google to YouTube). Yahoo however shows this shortcut for many movies, so it’s possibly not paid… and we have no way of knowing that from the label, as Danny mentions it’s ambiguous and could mean either paid or unpaid.

  • chris boggs

    Funny the first comment seems like someone may be confisuing this as a Search Submit (Paid Inclusion) listing. This is different – to clarify.

    However, Danny, you mention that the ads should be more clearly identified – what about calling for the same from the SS ads if you really want to promote full disclosure?

    This topic reminds me of an idea I had recently for bloggers that want to clearly identify any paid text links in their content. My “compromise” suggestion was that somewhere near the top of the page the blogger states that “some links may be sponsored.” Looks like Yahoo already uses this for the Shortcuts page…thanks for the great example Yahoo! :)

  • Danny Sullivan

    I do want paid inclusion results labeled. I asked Yahoo for this years ago. But with paid inclusion, the FTC guidelines don’t require them to do disclosure on the search results. I wanted them to go beyond those rules; they clearly don’t want to.

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