It’s not a secret that Yahoo, Microsoft and a slew of other smaller players are trying to play catchup with Google in selling ads on web searches as well as on content-specific sites – in fact Business Week dedicated a pretty good article to it last week (requires subscription).
We have been a user of Google AdWords for awhile and recently started playing with Yahoo’s solution as well as with other solutions from smaller players.
The solutions from the smaller players were generating a lot of traffic, but we found a lot of the traffic to be garbage – coming from sites that do not even have content. That is especially the case when you enable foreign sites to carry your text/link ads.
While Yahoo has a powerful UI, it is not very intuitive. But perhaps the biggest issue with Yahoo’s solution is it’s human interface – the editors who are setting up things for you and who are approving or denying your ads. When you set up an account you fork over $150 for someone to help you set up an account. Not only does that process take 3 days, in our case everything was set up wrong. We wanted to advertise our upcoming Marketing Innovation event, but instead all the ads were set up to promote Corante as a place to find information about technology and science events. After trying to get them to fix it for a week, and after pre-paying another $475, we decided to toss out most of the original ads and recreate new ones ourselves. Of course, that takes up to 3 days to get approved by their editorial staff. Since this is a conference, and since a lot of people go to conferences to network, we thought that advertising the conference in the context of marketing job searches would make sense. The editorial staff did not think so and rejected all the job based keywords because of the word “job”.
Now what is the value of having editorial control over the keywords? Having editorial control over content is understandable, but if someone wants to sell diapers or wipes in the context of searches for Mercedes, who cares?