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"Yesterday I attended the Internet strategy conference in Portland, and one of the speakers was Cammie Dunaway, the chief marketing officer for Yahoo.

During her presentation, she explained some new ways that Yahoo is working with advertisers, and she showed a TV commercial where the words “Special K” were typed into a Yahoo search box.

When the search result page appeared, there was Kellogs, at the top of the search results, with a Special K logo right there by the SERP."

Google did this with Bourne...however, they quickly labeled it "promotion". Yahoo is doing no such thing.
Comments21 Comments  

Comments

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from kSchnepp 2618 Days ago #
Votes: 0

Can anyone else recreate this with a different search query?

Avatar Administrator
from dannysullivan 2618 Days ago #
Votes: 2

I see it: http://search.yahoo.com/search?p=special%20k Says: Kelloggs Special K: Design Your Challenge Kick start your weight loss and get on track to a healthier you with the New Special K Challenge. The Special K Challenge - The Special K Challenge Group - Yahoo! Better in ’07 Yahoo! Shortcut - About There’s also a Special K logo to the left of the words "kick start" 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 poitns you here: http://tools.search.yahoo.com/shortcuts/ Nothing on that page talks about them being for sale.

Avatar Moderator
from toddmintz 2618 Days ago #
Votes: 0

Danny...to me, the brand logo being there without a "sponsored result" next to it is "selling out" the objectivity of the SERP. I’m sure the CTR for that listing is tremendous.

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from lorenbaker 2618 Days ago #
Votes: 1

This is not a paid advertisement. It’s a partnership spot between Kellogs and Yahoo. If you look on the side of a box of Special K, there is a product placement spot for Yahoo! telling eaters of Special K to search with Yahoo.com, especially for the term Special K. I was going to blog on it a while back, but my camera broke. But seriously, go to the store, buy some Special K cereal, look on the back and side of the box, and you’ll see the Yahoo! logo. Interesting product placement for both companies.

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from BrianRubin 2618 Days ago #
Votes: 1

Personally, even if they have a partnership, I find this sort of placement very, very shady. I think this should be clearly laid out as an advertisement, because that’s essentially what it is.

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from bradley601 2618 Days ago #
Votes: 0

This just ruins quality search results for the end user. New 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, promotion or not. It’s likely that if this is their new model, then I won’t ever use Yahoo again for anything. If this is what they think search engines are all about, then Yahoo! and Goodbye to them!

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from MattC 2618 Days ago #
Votes: 0

But how many partnerships could they do anyways? Are they gonna be brands where you can’t buy ads for?

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from Tim 2618 Days ago #
Votes: 0

Danny, The page you point to has the following text in the first paragraph where there is full disclosure: A Yahoo! Shortcut automatically appears when it is relevant to your search and can contain links to useful content from Yahoo!, its partners, or across the web. Some of the content may come from partners who pay to be included in Yahoo! or have another financial relationship with Yahoo!. Tim

Avatar Administrator
from dannysullivan 2618 Days ago #
Votes: 0

Sorry, Tim -- absolutely right. Don’t know how I missed that there.

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from TannerC 2618 Days ago #
Votes: 0

Interesting. Yahoo is throwing us all a curve ball it seems like.

Avatar Administrator
from dannysullivan 2618 Days ago #
Votes: 0

We did a write-up at SEL now: http://searchengineland.com/070720-133220.php And I’ve suggested that if a shortcut is sold, Yahoo simple calls it "Yahoo Sponsored Shortcut." That would solve the issue for me, plus heck, it might formalize a new product for Yahoo to sell.

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from searchcommander 2618 Days ago #
Votes: 4

Dear Yahoo, I am considering an upgrade for some of of my "sponsored listings" to the new stealth partnership program for several of my clients. I am most attracted by the way that it becomes nearly impossible to tell that it’s an advertisement, and I think my clients would benefit by increased click throughs. Please provide specific details concerning cost as soon as possible... Thank you

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from TannerC 2617 Days ago #
Votes: 1

Dear searchcommander, We have received your request and can tell you that the cost must be paid with large bills totaling the amount of... One trillion dollars. Yahoo Advertising.

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from MariosAlexandrou 2617 Days ago #
Votes: 2

This shouldn’t surprise anyone. Yahoo has been "selling" their SERPs for a while with their Paid Inclusion program. And while they say that Pain Inclusion doesn’t guarantee rankings, it is quite easy to obtain top rankings for even the most SE-unfriendly site.

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from LisaPeyton 2617 Days ago #
Votes: 0

Danny, I agree, a sponsored shortcut might be a good solution. I don’t consider the result labeled as sponsored in anyway... Pretty deceptive, but of course Kelloggs has more money than God so I guess Yahoo was eager to please. Lisa

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from ChristianBk 2617 Days ago #
Votes: 0

Yahoo - I’ll give up my right toe if the company I work for can show up as a "shortcut" first result for "search engine marketing." Because everyone knows - toes > money Thanks, Christian B.

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from searchcommander 2616 Days ago #
Votes: 0

Rand Fishkin commented that "Google does the same thing, a little quieter, for travel searches - try Seattle to Denver, for example." - Wow, I had never noticed that either. I think the fact that Yahoo and Google can get away with removing the phrase "Sponsored Link" by calling something a "partnership" is laughable. Now, seriously, how do we find out about signing up for partnership programs for clients?

Avatar Administrator
from dannysullivan 2616 Days ago #
Votes: 0

The difference with Google and Yahoo is that the travel search "OneBox" at Google isn’t done through a partnership. Notice that multiple partners are listed? None of them was selected because they were giving Google a cut or cash to be there. Perhaps in the future, that will change with Google. Certainly when it recently did video content for the Bourne Ultimatum at the top of the page, it had to react quickly to properly label that as a promotion. See here for more: http://searchengineland.com/070716-200227.php And when it started pushing Google Checkout and Blogger, lots of issues came up over whether pushing its own products should be more clearly labeled. See: http://searchengineland.com/061229-173825.php http://searchengineland.com/070116-142503.php These cases get confusing, when you are promoting your own content, as to whether the FTC guidelines say they need to be called out. Aside from those, I think they probably due need to be clearer in some cases. As for being paid to guarantee placement (which is what both the Bourne Ultimatum video and the Special K promotions are having happen), the FTC is pretty clear: ""The staff recommends that if your search engine uses paid placement, you make any changes to the presentation of your paid-ranking search results that would be necessary to clearly delineate them as such, whether they are segregated from, or inserted into, non-paid listings. Factors to be considered in making such a disclosure clear and conspicuous are prominence, placement, presentation (i.e., it uses terms and a format that are easy for consumers to understand, and that do not contradict other statements made), and proximity to a claim that it explains or qualifies." Paid placement means you pay (somehow) and you get guaranteed placement. Putting disclaimers on the help pages doesn’t cut it. That’s what Yahoo does for paid inclusion, but paid inclusion doesn’t guarantee placement, so the FTC is more lenient in disclosure there. FYI, these are key articles I wrote on the FTC guidelines during my SEW days: http://searchenginewatch.com/showPage.html?page=2164891 http://searchenginewatch.com/showPage.html?page=3369651

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from MattCutts 2614 Days ago #
Votes: 0

Two things: 1. Paid shortcuts on Yahoo aren’t new. See for example http://www.mattcutts.com/blog/web-20/ http://www.mattcutts.com/blog/hand-coded-shortcuts-on-yahoo/ Although I don’t recall seeing a logo before. 2. Any links in the Google flight OneBox were chosen on merit, with no money involved whatsoever. Rand, if you really claimed that, please retract the claim, or I shall poke you repeatedly with guilt trips the next time I see you in person. And that might be sooner than you think. ;)

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from Asia 2583 Days ago #
Votes: 0

Yahoo is a giant social networking mess monopolized by millions of smartly placed ad dollars. In layman terms - MySpace on Crack.

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from searchcommander 2541 Days ago #
Votes: 0

Wow, a search for Special K today shows that they are now marking it "Sponsored". Kudos to Yahoo.

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