Infrastructure // PC & Servers
Commentary
8/3/2009
10:06 PM
Allen Stern
Allen Stern
Commentary
50%
50%

I Don't Like Inline Text Ads

The big news last week was regarding the partnership that Yahoo and Microsoft entered into. Paul McDougall noted, "Microsoft's search tools will appear on Yahoo's sites while Yahoo takes on sales role." I've seen some inline text ads that have me a bit worried about the new partnership.

The big news last week was regarding the partnership that Yahoo and Microsoft entered into. Paul McDougall noted, "Microsoft's search tools will appear on Yahoo's sites while Yahoo takes on sales role." I've seen some inline text ads that have me a bit worried about the new partnership.Sometime last month the default "server not found" page that my ISP provides seemed to change again. The page says it's powered by Yahoo Search. But after a handful of tests over the weekend, it seems like it's more a page of ads than anything else. I showed the page to a couple of "regular" Internet users and both were confused as to the provided results. Most people today know that ads on search are separated from the organic results.

What I was provided with by my ISP is some sort of combined ads and organic search results into one result set. In fact on some searches, organic results were nowhere to be found on the first page. What makes this even more odd is that the numbering for the results continues from the paid "sponsored" ads to the organic results.

Here are a few examples (click to view larger images):

yahoo search adsIn this example, the domain googl23.com was not found. I was redirected to the ISP search page which displays 9 results - all "sponsored" - no organic results whatsoever and no ability to move to another page. Some of the paid results seem to have nothing to do with Google - car engine parts, high paying jobs with no work needed, and electrical engineering information.


yahoo search adsHere we did a search using the search box on the page for Flickr. We get 8 results, first 3 are sponsored and the same pattern follows on all pages. As you can see here, the numbers move from 1-8 with no clear break between paid ads and organic results. What makes this example even more odd is that the first result is for Mike Bloomberg who is running for NYC mayor.


yahoo search adsThis last example comes from clicking one of the related terms on the Flickr results page above. It's interesting that apartments, personals and cheap airfares are somehow related to Flickr. I clicked digital photography. In this example we see a page with 9 paid search results and then results 10-14 are organic (I think).


It's a shame that they call the pages "web search results" when so much of the page is filled with ads. I understand that this source of income is very important for an ISP however a bit of separation is absolutely required. Sadly I think we will see more of these inline ads in search results in the future.

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