Jun 5, 2008 113 reads by Navneet Kaushal

According to Webmaster World, Yahoo! has updated the Terms Of Service (TOS) for its sponsored search, that has left the advertisers furious. As per the new TOS, Yahoo! can now access and make changes to the advertisers' accounts without their prior approval.

Here is link to the new Terms of Service (TOS):


The TOS States:

"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."

Those advertisers not willing to let Yahoo! Make changes to their accounts can 'op-out' by sending an e-mail to Yahoo! stating the same. Those who do allow Yahoo! to make changes can do so at their own risk. Advertisers will be responsible for all the changes made by Yahoo! To their accounts. Inclusive of all click charges.

Some of the posts at the Webmaster World addressing this issue:

"This is the sort of joke you would semi-expect on April 1st.

It is worth keeping the email as it must be one of the most ludicrous proposals ever inked."

"This is so indicative of the desperation faced by Yahoo execs who will do ANYTHING to increase profits with no thought to their customers – us!

How can anyone with a sane mind think that we would allow some clerk who knows nothing about our business to tinker with our (or create new)ads and then have us pay for the mistakes.

This will not end well."

"The opt out essentially means nothing. I called our rep and "opted out" and was told that that would probably prevent them from optomizing but there was no guarantee – the terms of the TOS continued to govern our participation.

She said that this was designed to "help" those advertisers who were having trouble getting their account to work well. She said that an example would be someone who wanted to spend $100 per day but was only spending $20.

I guess that means that Yahoo would just write some ads stick in some keywords and spend that other $80 bucks for them.

This would really be funny if it were not so scary. I told her that I felt it necessary to open accounts at G in order to provide backup in case Yahoo decided to step in and "help" me with my account. It is difficult to believe that they can be so naive."

"Just when you think they can't do anything dumber, they do.

I emailed the 'opt out' on behalf of my clients, and received a response back they'd noted the accounts and passed my email along upstream, which I take to be acknowledgment of my wishes. If they optimize any of our accounts, we will not pay for it. If they take us to court, we will go. I'm about two nose hairs away from pulling all my clients out of Yahoo permanently as it is. Pulled 'em out of MSN earlier this year, and we haven't suffered, and I'm not particularly worried about dropping Yahoo either."

"Folks better double-check those campaign limits! I know I use to have a few campaigns that had high daily limits, but since the clicks never got near that amount, I just left it. Sounds like Yahoo might be sending me those clicks unexpectedly now… and in turn taking the money too."

"I've been looking at this all day. We've been amazed in the office – even the guys that don't actually talk about these things. I don't think that has to mean Yahoo are saying they intend to change your campaign without your permission – although obviously some clarification from Yahoo would be in their interests right now. We may prefer to interpret that as saying "If they offer to optimize your campaign AND THEN YOU EXPRESSLY SAY YES, then they will change the campaign."

Just my two pence. Who's going to join me in the campaign for plain legal speak?"

"Are they just trying to destroy their business? Aside for making them a little bit of money short-term, I just can't see the upside in this.

Sure most people don't actually read the TOS, but as soon as Yahoo starts actively doing this, they are going to have massive backlash from advertisers.

Can anyone here actually think of a single advertiser that would go "Hey, Yahoo optimized my account for me and added a bunch of new ads and keywords. Wow…that was awfully nice of them".

Somehow I see it as going a little different than that."

Proactive Optimization does sound good, but this isn't the way to go about it. This wasn't expected from Yahoo!. In fact, with such Terms of Service, it is quite possible that Yahoo! might not be left with advertisers, whose accounts it wants to optimize.

Navneet Kaushal

Navneet Kaushal

Navneet Kaushal is the founder and CEO of PageTraffic, an SEO Agency in India with offices in Chicago, Mumbai and London. A leading search strategist, Navneet helps clients maintain an edge in search engines and the online media. Navneet's expertise has established PageTraffic as one of the most awarded and successful search marketing agencies.
Navneet Kaushal
Navneet Kaushal
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