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September 13, 2008

Yahoo Dissolves Ambassador Program

by Anthony Verre

Is This The End of Yahoo! Search Marketing?

Reported today on SEO Roundtable, Yahoo! is no longer accepting applications for the Ambassador program. For those unfamiliar with the program, it is Yahoo!’s version of Google AdWords Professional. Where you take a n online exam, administered by Yahoo!, and upon completion, you receive credentials for a Yahoo! Ambassador badge that can be displayed on your website.

Not only am I out the $50 now, I have to wonder whether this marks the end of the Yahoo! Search Marketing (YSM) altogether in the coming months? Why strip a distinguishing factor among YSM users, to distinguish professionals from non-professionals?

We know that Yahoo has tested Google Ads in the past, and will probably continue to broker deals in the future. As Microsoft said in April:

“Any definitive agreement between Yahoo! and Google would consolidate over 90 percent of the search advertising market in Google’s hands. This would make the ma rket far less competitive…

Goo-Hoo Paid Ads would completely dominate the market; Microsoft would be nothing but a sad memory if Google and Yahoo merged PPC. That being said, I don’t think YSM, as a whole, will completely dissolve. You think you’ve seen anti-trust battles in the past, if this happens, folks, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet. Yahoo displaying Google ads essentially consents to a monopoly of Paid Search.

As a Paid Search manager, this doesn’t displease me. Far from it. If there was only single location I could manage client’s PPC, it would be a small blessing. On the other hand, it makes me think that rules of the Yahoo! Search Marketing game would change. Would Yahoo! have to adopt the quality score aspect that Google places on it’s ads (not that we know them anyway), or would it continue under Yahoo! quality score guidelines? How much control will Google have over the display of “its” ads?

Only time will tell, but I think I hear a very daunting bell in the distance; it’s their farewell to arms. (everyone got the Hemingway references?)

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