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Yahoo charging e-commerce sites for priority placement? 36

Maniacal wrote in to let us know about an article that talks about new "service" Yahoo! has implemented that would move e-commerce sites to the top of the line for placement, for 199$. As almost everyone knows, Yahoo! doesn't use spiders, but humans for placement. This means that the placement of a particular site can take a /long/ time. This service would move the sites using it to the front of the line-although Yahoo! still doesn't guarantee placement, nor will it necessarily guarantee priority placement. This service is part of new wave of services that Yahoo! will be aiming at small business. While part of me thinks this is the wrong way to do it, I know that a lot of places out there will use it-but for the true small scale start-ups, this still hurts.
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Yahoo charging e-commerce sites for priority placement?

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  • Remember the days when we all said that there was
    no way that Big Business could ever rule the 'net,
    because everyone got an equal start?

    I guess we were wrong.


  • This is to help small businesses get the same exposure big businesses already get due to their prominence.

    Most small businesses I'm sure would rather pay the measely $200 than wait and wonder for months.

    Also, its called leverage folks. Yahoo was bound to leverage their dominant position sooner or later. They aren't a public service - they're in business.
  • This seems like plain old advertising to me. A client who wants prime exposure pays for prime space; it's Yahoo's site to sell. It seems like it's only when banner ads leave an ugly mark on an otherwise useful and valuable presentation that these things get a strong negative reaction.

    Now, if Yahoo were representing placement as a "customer satisfaction index" rating, for example, but simply selling off slots, then there might be something fraudulent happening behind the scenes.
  • I wish there was a search engine that actually listed useful information. Heh, guess thats the holy-graile of search engines. For instance, wanna find out about Pontiac cars? Do a search for "Pontiac" on yahoo. You will be presented with 100 links all pointing to, which is basically just a big bloated advertisement.

    Wish there was a search engine that filtered out all these "official" sites!

    Unfortunately, there are lots of sites with .com names that aren't really "for-profit" sites (my url for instance), so grepping out the .com sites wouldn't work.
  • This is nothing new. An acquaintance at a local commercial Web site [] told me over a year ago that his site had "bought" keywords in Yahoo's search engine, guaranteeing that it would come out at or near the top of certain searches.

    Honestly, it wouldn't surprise me at all if I found out that all the commercial "portals" were doing this.

  • Yahoo has been placing sites near the top of their lists for a while - Internally, they refer to it as "topping off" a site. Before this, it wasn't an official policy, you had to ask the right person and maybe some money changed hands. My company did some work for Yahoo, and in addition to our regular payments, we got topped off as a bonus. It's actually nicer to have the policy stated and understood.

  • You can buy "keywords" to pop up related ads.

    God forbid one of those "humans" back there make a mistake in listing your info. It'll never change or get fixed.

    Thanks but no thanks. Yahoo lost it's gleam for me years ago.

  • Whoa.... banner ads don't make revunue? That is a ridiculous statement, considering the fact that banner ads are the #1 method of revenue on the web right now...
  • A lot of people liken Yahoo's strategy as "typical business economics."

    Hey, I got no problem with you makin' money. That's what E-biz is about. Otherwise, why bother?

    But in a SEARCH engine? Screw that. When I go to a search engine, I want to find what's related to what I'm looking for... Not a bunch of worthless links because some jackass or company bought their way to the top of the list.

  • I can't agree with your statement. These guys were already making money. Just take a look at thier stock. The main guy (Jerry Yang???) was a billionaire for a day a few months back.

    Yahoo's content is URL's. Proprietary URL's that they don't own the right's to but still make money from. They should be paying royalties to these companies, not collecting money.

    I know this is kind of rediculous and will never happen but if you think about it, it almost makes sense.

  • by Obeah ( 137848 )
    The problem is that this wouldn't be necessary
    if Yahoo's service weren't so terrible. They won't
    cough up the cash to hire more editors so that all
    sites get looked at in a timely manner. Instead,
    they give businesses preferential treatment by
    "letting" them pay $199 for halfway decent service.
    The rest of us poor schmoes can go hang, as has
    long been the case with Yahoo.
  • Yahoo wants to go a little further than Encyclopedia Britannica. In fact, it is lame that you would presume that this is their goal.

    Yes, they started off cataloging sites, but they never promised anyone that they would maintain some sort of benevolent hierarchy.

    And don't worry about ten years - Yahoo, linux, and open source will all be distant memories.
  • Yahoo sells ads based on keywords (I think everyone does this), but they don't sell search order. Alta Vista has a way you can buy keywords, but the "purchased" ones are obviously seperated from the rest of the results.


  • So then by this logic, PC Magazine shouldn't run Microsoft ads when there is an article about Netscape, Sun, or Red Hat in the issue?

    Yahoo is a commercial venture, and anyone who feels that they have some sort of moral obligation to arrange their database entries in a certain order is naive.
  • As I read it, you're only paying for one of their surfers to look at your site ASAP. The article explicitly states that the money does not guarantee a good placement.

    ``Yahoo! is quick to point out that the fee doesn't guarantee placement in the directory -- that's still up to the editors. And even if the site is accepted, the money won't ensure a priority placement in the site, either.''
  • The world needs comprehensive, unbiased information about what resources are available on the web.

    It is increasingly difficult to get "unbiased" results from commercial search engines. To my knowledge, none of the commercial search engines provide a complete description of how their engine works. The search algorithms change frequently. There is no requirement that the search engine provider disclose any financial relation it has with a referenced site. Since the internals of these search engines are hidden from public view, it is impossible to predict what types of results one should expect.

    Which pages are included? Does the site fail to reference certain sites deemed objectionable? How are keywords determined? How are the results ordered?

    What we can do, as those who realize the desirability and importance of the free and open exchange of ideas, is establish a freely-available database of all publicly available sites and a extensible, highly configurable search-engine based on open standards.

    Unlike proprietary black-box search-engines, this search-engine should provide formally described services. It should be completely clear how the engine responds to queries. To ensure the integrity of the engine, the source code to the search engine as well as the formal descriptions of the search-engine services should be freely available.

    Clients of the search-engine should be able to develop customized search strategies tailored to her particular needs, desires and biases. These search strategies can be shared with other users who may not wish to develop their own search strategies.

    Many different front ends to the search engine may be created. The search-engine should be powerful enough to emulate the types of services provided by Yahoo, Infoseek, etc. Of course, a Yahoo emulator would place links to companies paying it money at the of its list. An Infoseek emulator would give special priority to offical ABC and Disney sites. Jerry Faldwell could create a specialized search engine that omits references to certain purple creatures seen on public television.

    Meanwhile, the rest of us can have results free of hidden bias and targeted advertisements.

    A group of netizens committed to the free and open exchange of ideas can establish a global, distributed network of machines to provide the aforementioned search services. The database provided by these servers should be as comprehensive as physically possible. All available sites should be indexed in the database. These sites should be committed to indexing all sites.

    The privacy of users of search-engines should be respected. Therefore, providers of these public-servers should attest that they
    will not collect information that links particular users to a set of queries.

    So, is anyone working on a project like this?

Computer programmers do it byte by byte.