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Friday, March 16, 2007

Yahoo! Syndication Fraud Class Action

Since blogging details about the high volume of garbage traffic on the Yahoo! Search Marketing syndicated network, I've found out about this Yahoo! Syndication Fraud class action litigation. Here are the key complaints from the case description:
  • Placing advertisers' ads into spyware programs.
  • Placing advertisers' ads into typosquatting web sites.
  • Placing advertisers' ads into "parking" and bulk registration web sites.
  • Charging Sponsored Search advertising rates for placements more properly described as Content Match.
  • Placing advertisers' "search" ads in random, untargeted placements, including in untargeted banner ads.
Those are some serious allegations. It is good that someone is holding Yahoo! accountable for this fraud. It will be interesting to see if any changes result from this class action. I'm well aware of the problems with low quality traffic from parked domains but I wasn't aware of the extent to which Yahoo! Search Marketing traffic comes from spyware. If you want more details, read The Spyware - Click-Fraud Connection -- and Yahoo's Role Revisited by Ben Edelman, one of the lawyers involved in the Yahoo! syndication fraud case.

Full disclosure: I'm a YHOO stockholder (a meager 610 shares which I've pledged towards this interesting YHOO shareholder action). I also manage Y!SM PPC advertising accounts, so I'd like to see some changes both from a shareholder and a customer vantage point. For anyone else buying keyword ads via Yahoo! Search Marketing, be sure to track your clicks and get refunds for fraudulent traffic.

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