Yahoo launches a 'pay for position' program
February 3, 2001 7:11 AM   Subscribe

Yahoo launches a 'pay for position' program which takes the biggest (and one of the last) purely editorially-led directory sites slap bang into the commercial age of post-banner-ad dot-communism. All fairness to them - it's only in the Business categories, where you might otherwise go and look in the Yellow Pages (where of course you can pay for different sizes of advert already), but will it end there? I fear not...
posted by barbelith (9 comments total)
When they began charging all businesses to be listed, they ceased being a useful service.
posted by fleener at 9:20 AM on February 3, 2001

Agreed. I really hadn't kept up on the pay-for-position ideals at Yahoo, but when it came time to register a site for work, I was kind of surprised to see the $99 fee screen pop up.

So I sent our URLs to dmoz instead.
posted by hijinx at 9:26 AM on February 3, 2001

If I'm not mistaken, they charge $200 these days. Can anyone back this up?
posted by howa2396 at 9:33 AM on February 3, 2001

This apparently is also occuring with Altavista and even Google which totally distorts the whole point of a search system. I really think Google is ahead of its time using some neural net technology to determine the best search results - determine result priority based on how many other sites link to it or by how many people clicked on that site while searching for the same term.
posted by bkdelong at 9:46 AM on February 3, 2001

Yahoo still allows you to suggest a site in almost any category for free. However, for sites under the Business category, they run the Business Express program which includes: Expedited consideration of your commercial web site for inclusion in the Yahoo! directory. Guaranteed site review within 7 business days. A one-time, non-refundable processing fee of $199.00 USD.

There is also a $600 fee for adult content sites. The Business Express FAQ insists that this is only for expedited consideration, but other pages suggest that it's "required" for "commercial" sites. YMMV. Note that expedited consideration does not guarantee placement.

(Does nobody on Metafilter know how to find anything anymore? I love the way we're on the web, answers are instantaneously available, and people circulate things as if they're rumors.)
posted by dhartung at 10:02 AM on February 3, 2001

The outcome of the ad banner model is pure failure. It not like TV; people are not going to just sit there and look at them. The internet makes things easy to ignore, thank God! Will pay for placement boost profits? Only in the short term, I think.I just hope that Google! doesn't get killed off. I haven't used Yahoo for searching in many years.
posted by Mr. skullhead at 10:31 AM on February 3, 2001

I have a feeling that the ad banner has some life in it yet, but just not in the sense that a successful banner results in a click-thru. A poster for a film, for example, doesn't have to be CLICKED on to be successful - you don't have to GO anywhere in order to have made the advert worthwhile - you just need to have the film embedded in your consciousness more than you did before. Ad banners can still do this, particularly if they capitalise on buzz from other forms of industry. ALSO - people view ad banners incorrectly. It's like having a TV screen by the side of the road showing only adverts. People are going to learn to blot it out. Fill it two thirds of the time with actually INTERESTING information, and the adverts become suddenly noticeable again. Ad banners should run in about one in four ad slots if you ask me... and they should merge seamlessly with non-ad banners running rich-media / html based banners with tasters and other in-house generated content formatted in a familiar style. That'll get click-thrus up again.

So what I'm basically saying here is that I don't think that there is any particular need for Yahoo to do this, I guess. Still think that as long as it restricts itself to business listings then it will be OK, but I'm not sure that it will. Grrrr.
posted by barbelith at 10:59 AM on February 3, 2001

Agreeing with tom -
With Shop@AOL, my company can run a quarter of a million ad impressions and have a good 10 people click on them. Our banner campaigns of these results are not necessarily considered failures, however, as they facilitate some ounce of brand awareness regardless of physical clickthrough.

Damn...I was trying to work in something about Punch The Monkey banners.

posted by Hankins at 11:47 AM on February 3, 2001

It's about time Yahoo caught up with this. LookSmart has been doing it for months, while selling their results to MSN, and Excite, and Altavista, and several others. Businesses are having to pony up the dough to get good rankings more and more frequently, it seems.
posted by danwalker at 1:55 PM on February 3, 2001

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