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I post at SearchCommander.com now, and this post was published 9 years 4 months 24 days ago. This insustry changes FAST, so blindly following the advice here *may not* be a good idea! If you're at all unsure, feel free to hit me up on Twitter and ask.

I’m not talking about them selling the company, (although there are rumors) I’m talking about their integrity and their overall credibility as a search engine, by appearing to sell the number one organic search result to the highest bidder.

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.

Something about it looked odd to me, then it hit me… Directly above the advertisement, were the words “Search Results” but the tinted box and the words “Sponsored Results” had been removed.

Apparently this campaign is still running, as I just tried a search and here’s the result –


Perhaps this is nothing new, and Yahoo has done it before, but I’ve personally never noticed it.

What bothers me about this, is that by removing the tinted box and leaving out the words “sponsored results“, Yahoo is effectively selling the number one search result.

Is that option available for all advertisers? Is that option available for all phrases? Are they selling the number two, three, fours and five search results as well?

Cool, where do I sign up before my competition does, and how much does it cost?

Yahoo does seem to be leaving the actual ranking numeral to the left of the organic result, does not make this any less confusing for the end user.

Yahoo, I think I would I would like my graphic for my “ad” to be a large red #1? Would that be all right?

Clearly, it appears that Yahoo has gone out of their way to seamlessly blend an advertisement with their search results. Has anyone seen other instances of this?

Do you think we’re seeing the beginning of the end of organic search on Yahoo?

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