I wrote a blog post a few weeks ago about Yahoo selling its search results , and now I’m seeing another anomaly that appears as if those “unmarked, yet sponsored serps” may be available for sale in other ways too.
If you do a search on Yahoo right now for “Wii”, you’ll be given all of the following:
- 3 sponsored results in a tinted box at the top, and a bunch of sponsored results on the right side.
- Another listing with a red Y logo appearing below the sponsored links, but above the actual number 1 organic, with stars and links to user reviews on the Yahoo shopping site.
- Immediately below those, there are three links to three more domains.
- Below those three links are the words “Yahoo Shortcut” and a link to “About”.
Following that link to About leads to “What is a Yahoo shortcut” with a screenshot that is NOT including any of these mysterious links. Hmmm…
In the text on that page, to the left of the Yahoo provided screen shot, it explains that:
“Some of the content may come from partners who pay to be included in Yahoo! or have another financial relationship with Yahoo!”
What is the criteria for determining whether you are one of those three listed?
Is it the price? Clearly not, because at $499, the second listing is nowhere in the ballpark of even being considered a good deal.
When I posted about similar links on Google, Matt Cutts commented the following:
The links in Googleâ€™s flight OneBox were chosen for merit. Theyâ€™re not paid in any way and no money changed hands. So this is completely different than Yahooâ€™s paid-but-unlabeled Special K promotion.
Besides taking the wind out of my sails for that post, Matt clearly pointed out that Google’s rankings are not for sale unless they are clearly labeled as such.
What determines Yahoos placement of these links? Does anyone know?
Is it relevance? I don’t think so because the domain name is not even specific to Nintendo Wii, or even to video games, and the pages are not particularly good.
Is it inbound links? Nope, not looking like it…
Ahh, all three seem to be running their shopping cart from Yahoo Store… Is that it?
Well ONE of those three links was to Amazon this morning, but when I had time to write, and went back to get the screen shot, it was all Yahoo
Are there some sponsored programs that are only offered through inside sales people at Yahoo? If these three listings underneath ARE through a “financial relationship”, how do we sign up to play this game?