Are Yahoo giving away PPC ads for free?

We recently noticed that when searching on Yahoo for Distilled a sponsored advert was appearing. The strange thing about this is that we do not run any PPC adverts on Yahoo. We do run some PPC adverts on Google but they are not targeted at branded searches and none of our adverts contain the ad content we can see here. Curious.

1

Was the ad triggered by an advanced match keyword linking Distilled with reputation management? Possibly, a non-branded search for ‘reputation management does again produce an advert for Distilled.

2

They also have Distilled sponsored adverts at the bottom of the page at the same time so that is two adverts and no charge.

3

But why are ads appearing there in the first place?

We thought about how it could be a hangover from the experiment to run Google ads on Yahoo but that wouldn’t explain the new ad content which isn’t anywhere in our AdWords account. Are Yahoo trying to pad out their search offering to make the advertising space look more appealing? Trying to stimulate a herd mentality and give the impression that this is a place worth being seen in?

If someone out there thinks they know why these ads are appearing, perhaps you are the kindly soul trying to drive traffic towards the distilled website, then we’d love to hear your theories (or confessions)!

Richard Cotton

Richard Cotton

Richard Cotton joins the team at Distilled as the Paid Search Marketer. He graduated with a Philosophy degree from Southampton University and will therefore put his analytical brain to good use as our dedicated PPC marketer. Rich C-h264720-v2 //...   read more

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10 Comments

  1. I really don't understand this one - I could ALMOST believe it if the ad being shown was the same one we having running on adwords but it's totally different... Is some kind generous soul running PPC for us?

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  2. Perhaps this is my more Machiavellian side -
    But if its not someone nice (unlikely i guess - unless you won a competition?)
    and its not a Yahoo #fail (more likely)

    Then could it be a competitor? Trying to track who goes to distilled?

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  3. I help a couple of clients with Yahoo campaigns, and I've never seen that before. I could almost believe Yahoo was generating them automatically to fill empty ad spots, but then where would they get the content? That ad doesn't match anything they could easily pull from the site (Title, META data, etc.). It almost does seem like someone is running an ad for you, but that begs the question: why?

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  4. @Rob - yeah it could be a competitor but it's a pretty poor way of tracking people, especially since yahoo hardly sends us any traffic (compared to Google anyway). I still think the most likely answer is an old Yahoo PPC account we have switched on somewhere - but we've checked all the ones we have logins for and our bank balance and nothing seems to indicate that we're running PPC on Yahoo! Very strange...

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  5. Follow up thought: was "Keeping Your Online Reputation Pure" a former tagline for Distilled? Maybe if you could pin down the timeline, it would help unravel the mystery. Is it possible you started a test account a while back (maybe you got a free ad credit somewhere) and just forgot? Maybe the volume is so low that you're still getting impressions on that original credit balance.

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  6. @Pete - yeah good point, very difficult for them to come up with that ad text algorithmically. Just plain strange.

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  7. @Dr. Pete - That certainly sounds plausible but at the moment no one can remember any such account. The low volume for terms like that on Yahoo may explain why someone could miss the small costs accrued in running these ads.

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  8. uMoR

    Do you have an affiliate program for this tool ?

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  9. @uMOR - nope! We thought about building one but there's certainly nothing like that at the moment...

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  10. It is a sad day for a search engine when they have to give you free ads in order to have anything to advertise.... and you still don't make a profit from them!!.... Curious where they got your content though. I can't imagine a competitor advertising on your behalf..... that is just dumb

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