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February 03, 2007

Things Yahoo Doesn't Want You To Know

By Account Deleted

Yahoo Panama

SEM-ers, have you been having problems with converting to Yahoo Panama? Well, I found out something that Yahoo doesn't want you to know. Let's discuss.

Some of you may have heard through the cyber-grapevine that the transition to the new Yahoo Panama platform hasn't been the most pleasant for a lot of us. In fact, the customer support during this transition period has been strikingly poor. I was told by one of the many Yahoo Reps. "Yes, In theory these Import Tools are supposed to work".

Now, when we all anticipated the new roll-out, we got little clues, screen shots and personal reviews which gave us all the impression that Yahoo really got it right this time.  However, as in life, don't always assume because as a fellow colleague told me back in the day, that "if you Assume something, it only means that you are making an ASS out of YOU and ME.

So getting back to the story. As soon as Yahoo started migrating customers over to the New Panama Platform, an amazing thing happened. The customer support phone lines started to fill up, the wait time got longer and the responses to emails kept getting longer. It appears, I was not the only customer/agency that was having problems. In fact, I was told by a Yahoo Rep. that there is a "Backlog" of calls and emails with Google and Yahoo excel file attachments and their staff has been working around the clock trying to convert these files correctly into the new system.

So what is happening over there?

Well, what was happening was that after the transition the old Category name format to the new  "Google-ized" Campaigns and Adgroups, customers started to see randomly generated campaigns and adgroups that were not their own, keywords were scattered and campaign settings such as Content networks were turning back on, etc... I think you get the picture.

Now, for us SEM-ers anticipated all of these little quirks and expected it would be a quick-n-easy fix for the smaller campaigns and for those larger clients, we could work our magic in excel and just re-upload the campaigns and adgroups structures using their "New & Dandy" Import Tool which converts Google & MSN, as well as downloading the new Yahoo setup and fixing it up in excel.

Well, from one of my favorite movies Grumpy Old Men, Pop Gustafsson, played by Burgess Meredith said "You can wish in one hand, and crap in the other. See which one fills up first." It was so very true in this case. The 3rd party import tool was rejecting the Google .csv files, and when we tried to fixed the new Yahoo campaigns using excel we got similar errors. But even with all of the little the headaches, the big migraine came from Yahoo's customer service or their lack of.

  • I was told they would me call back - that never happened
  • I was given estimated import dates from (1 day)  to (2 weeks), huh?
  • All of the Google excel files I sent them, were not being imported.
  • When asked as to why these files were rejected - (were trying to find out).

As soon as I saw this abnormal behavior from Yahoo, I knew something was happening and those Reps. were fixing more than just a handful of customers. It turns out that a lot of people were having the same problems and if they would of only told us what was causing these errors with  the Google & Yahoo Excel .csv files, it would of made our lives easier and would of "freed" up their phone lines and reduced their mail server file size limits. However, their is always a silver lining...

I found a terrific Yahoo Rep. who totally earned my respect. I will keep his name anonymous, but he was extremely helpful and he leaked some interesting things that all of the other 8+ Yahoo Reps. either intentionally or unintentionally did not tell me. Furthermore, he told me what was causing all of these system errors and how to fix them. And now I am now eager to share them with you.

The 2 common system errors that break the Import Tools are the following:

  1. REMOVE all campaign Negatives. Yahoo's tool does not understand them yet.
  2. After a successful Third Party Import, the new Yahoo version (.csv) that asks you to download, sometimes has data/code embedded at the last line in the excel file. If you see this code, REMOVE IT. Once you do this, the file should upload successfully.

The intention of this blog post is not to throw Yahoo under the Bus, but rather give them a Free "wake up call" to get them to start listening to their customers' problems and force their engineers to get these bugs fixed ASAP. The platform has great promise and their import tools (if works correctly) are great features. Let's just hope they can just tell us the things that we need to know.


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Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Things Yahoo Doesn't Want You To Know:

» SearchCap: The Day In Search, Feb. 5, 2007 from Search Engine Land: News About Search Engines & Search Marketing
Below is what happened in search today, as reported on Search Engine Land and from other places across the web:... [Read More]

» Roundup Of Feedback On Yahoo's Panama Release from Search Engine Land: News About Search Engines & Search Marketing
Yahoo launched their new ad-ranking algorithm this past Monday and since then I have sat back and collected feedback from the search community on the release. Here is a collection of blog posts, forum posts and opinion on Yahoo's new quality score fact... [Read More]


Now why didn't Yahoo just say that up front. Somebody obviously knew that and could have saved everyone a lot of time. When are companies going to realize that the truth will set them free. Thank goodness you're not the kind of person to let things go so easy. Way to dig!

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