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We’ve used Google Adwords extensively, for ourselves and many of our clients, but have not tried Yahoo Search Marketing until two weeks ago. I had always read that Google owned this category and that there was no point going anywhere else. Recently, after Microsoft made an offer for Yahoo, I heard that Yahoo Search Marketing has as much as 25% of the search market. Based on our results with Yahoo so far, my guess is that my initial perceptions are still correct – Google owns search.

At any rate, we had a very interesting experience with Yahoo over the past two weeks. I signed up for a Yahoo Search Marketing account on a Monday. I added a test ad group for one of our clients and put $100 on account to start the test. This client of ours has an extensive ad campaign set up in Google and spends over $100 per day on Google Adwords, average CPC is about $1.30. I set up the Yahoo ad group with a dozen of the best performing keywords from Google, and our best performing Google ad, that most closely matched these keywords. Interestingly, the CPC for Yahoo, for similar keywords was only 24 cents. So, at least Yahoo gives you a discount. We got nowhere near the traffic we get on Google.

After three days of running ads, we noticed that Yahoo had charged an additional $3,600.00 to our company credit card. I logged in to our Yahoo Search account and found that my Ad Group was gone and now there where dozens of keywords about loans, and the ad spend had been raised to $3,000.00 per day. I quickly called Yahoo. They immediately shut down the account. They promised to credit the card and re-setup the account within a couple of days. I asked how this could have happened and they said that I had fallen for a Phishing email. At this point I was incredulous. I had only had the account for three days, what were the odds that a Yahoo Search Marketing phishing email would have arrived in my Yahoo email account during that time. I said that I had responded to an email right after I signed up asking me to confirm my account. They told me that they don’t send confirmation emails. Thus, apparently I had fallen prey to a phishing attack.

The thing I find interesting is what are the odds that I get a phishing email purporting to be from Yahoo Search within hours of signing up for an account. In my opinion, this has inside job written all over it. Yahoo said they would look into it. To their credit, they did refund the money and re-setup the account. I’m not convinced they believe my “inside job” thoughts. The rep who re-setup my account, started to give me a stern tutorial on not falling for phishing emails. I told her my story and she said, “What are you getting at?” She did tell me Yahoo was looking in to it…