Yahoo has new life. The organizational shakeup that was anticipated transpired this week and Yahoo's new CEO Carol Bartz has started Yahoo down a path that employees and shareholders hope will revitalize the company.
But revitalization isn't going to happen overnight. Despite ongoing efforts to boost its search ad business, Yahoo is still in a bad spot when it comes to its search ad offerings.
Recently it sparked an advertiser uproar by proactively 'optimizing' advertiser campaigns in what some believed was an effort to boost revenue. And now it's taking another step that appears designed to get advertisers spending.
Yahoo advertisers are receiving emails from Yahoo indicating that minimum bid amounts on certain keywords have been lowered. The emails read:
This is a courtesy notice to inform you that the minimum bid requirement on one or more of the keywords in your account ‘Account Name‘ [*********] has recently decreased.
Reports seem to indicate that the reduced bids are being applied to inactive keywords, not active ones. It's not clear if Yahoo is requiring advertisers to activate campaigns for these keywords or if it is automatically activating the campaigns before informing advertisers.
Search Engine Roundtable posted the text of an email that states "Some of your inactive Sponsored Search keywords are now active. Review bids now". Needless to say, if Yahoo is activating keywords proactively and requiring advertisers to opt-out instead of opt-in, you can expect Yahoo to find itself on the receiving end of more advertiser complaints.
As Jerry West of SEO Revolution notes, "It seems Yahoo! is taking the approach of getting accounts to spend again to lower the bids."
Unfortunately, if that is indeed the case, it won't work. The New Yahoo is going to have to convince advertisers that it has the right stuff, not just the right price.