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Is Yahoo Effectively Killing Internet Marketing?

Sun, Aug 17, 2008


It’s come to my attention in a few forums lately that Yahoo might just be the death of all internet marketing campaigns.  Shocking, I know… I thought for sure it would be Google that killed all of us, took over the world, and raised primates to use as slaves.  Yahoo?  I expected so much more.

What the hell am I talking about?  Yahoo teamed with McAfee and formed a formidible roadblock to earch engine marketers that they are calling Site Advisor, otherwise known as The Masters of the Universe Club.  And no, you aren’t invited.  It seems the two giants decided to go collaborative and make life for us marketers, even tougher.  I waited a bit to post on this one, because it seems they are still testing it.  Sometimes these results appear, and sometimes they don’t.  Here’s what I’m talking about.

Instead of moving spammers further down the search engine results food chain, as we’re used to, they now get to keep their placement, only with a “spammer” tag.  Smart?  I don’t think so.

Now, it seems like a good idea at first glance.  We all HATE spam, but is this really the answer?  Absolutely freakin not.  The way it works is that users can tag links sent through email newsletters, or that they just signed up for as spam-prone.  After submitting this form to Yahoo, it seems that the “spammer” gets painted with Yahoo’s version of the Scarlet Letter.  What’s this mean exactly?  Well, the idea is to reduce newsletter spam, or spam of any sort for that matter.  What’s really going to happen?  Everyone is going to start reporting everyone as spammers. Eventually these tags will mean absolutely nothing, except for the fact that more people hate you than the person directly over you in the search results.

What good is this?  None.  Spammers are going to be the first one’s to tag their oppositon as spammers to try and gain an edge in the niche they’ve chosen.  In a competitive niche?  Well, it looks like you’ll just have more people to worry about tagging you as a spammer.

Why am I so up in arms that something like this is coming out?  I send random newsletters to my readers of this blog, and a few others.  The problem?  If you have an Aweber account and you’ve ever sent a newsletter you’ll recognize it immediately.  There are always the people that report you as spam for sending a newsletter that THEY requested.  I always use a double opt-in method meaning not only do they have to sign up, they have to confirm the subscription via email.  And I still get people reporting my newsletters as spam.  Are they spammy?  Not at all.  It’ll be just like a blog post, and I’ll generally have a one sentence pitch at the bottom.  It’ll look something like this…

“Tired of blogging, see what Blog Product X has in store for you!”

One little link, and they can easily skip over it.  So if I get problems sending out newsletters every two weeks (or monthly) with one link, imagine the damage that’s going to be done to the people that are actually trying to pitch a product.  Marketers tend to send out a pre-sales letter to their list before any product launch.  Tell me that’s not going to be flagged as spam.

Sound off.  What are your opinions on this?

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8 Comments For This Post

  1. Scott Says:

    This is rather ironic, since Yahoo has no idea what is spam and what is not. I did a blog post on this a little while back:

    I have never liked McAfee to start with, and Yahoo has now joined them on my list, Sites That Scott Does Not Favor.


  2. Nick Says:

    Isn’t there an easy way around getting tagged like this? I’ve long been told to never, EVER, EVER, send out mass emails from your domain name. Anything, not even a link to other bloggers to promote a post, nothing. Period, Zilch. All you have to do is go to Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo, or whatever else and set up an account with your domain. People will know who you are. is as easily recognizable as …. Maybe I’m not understanding the whole thing here, but I’d think that you would be protected from that ugly little flag if you did things this way.


  3. Bryan Says:

    Flagging links in an email address is only the beginning. Yahoo actually has a page to submit ANY URL that you believe is spam. So the email thing might work, but, it wouldn’t keep people from flagging just for the hell of it. Spammers are going to be the worst at this. They’ll be flagging everyone around them just so that they remain on a level playing field.


  4. Ben Says:

    Ugh this reminds me of WOT and similar things, these will never be 100% accurate… just like communism. Just like MLM fails for so many people. The point you made: Everyone is going to start reporting everyone as spammers. Is so true.


  5. REP Says:

    Well, on the plus side, Yahoo may well go out of existence long before the internet marketing community.

    But yes, you’re right, the Yahoo/McAfee approach is not very well thought out at all.


  6. Normal Joe Says:

    It will be gamed like anything else. A new way to “beat your competition” will be to report them as spam, at least they’ll be marked in the Yahoo search engine!

    They think they know what they are doing, but they have no idea what an adverse effect this will have and I can see so many spammers getting in on this and the real marketers getting blacklisted.


  7. Bryan Clark Says:

    It really is unfortunate that Yahoo tries to put a spam detection system in place, and all we can think about is getting flagged by people wanting to avoid competition. But that’s reality, and it’s common in the internet marketing world.


  8. Nick Says:

    Ok, one thing we are over looking… who uses yahoo?


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