It started off as many other days for me and my teammates. We had just completed a new client’s pay-per-click (PPC) campaign for Google AdWords, MSN AdCenter, and Yahoo! Search Engine Marketing (Formerly Overture when it wasn’t as buggy). This client wanted very conservative budgets set up on all three which we did. Little did we know what we were in store for. This morning we awoke, checked on the status of our PPC campaigns and witnessed first hand Yahoo!’s own version of the “shock and awe” campaign or better referred to as “Content Match”. Before you read any further, we advise EVERYONE who reads this and who advertises using Yahoo to DISABLE “Content Match” IMMEDIATELY! This automatically opted in add on to the Yahoo! Search Engine Marketing’s interface is absolutely FRAUGHT with FRAUD and Black Wednesday as many Yahooligans are referring to 4/26/06 quickly established how vulnerable their PPC program was to spammers and spyware all over the place. One of our campaigns which averaged around $30 in clicks over the past 60 months (5 years) wound up with over $1,200 on that single day! Yahoo! search support personnel were absolutely innundated with phone calls and e-mail complaints from simply asking them what had happened to actually threatening class action lawsuits and filing complaints with the CA BBB, the FTC, and the CA State Attorney General’s office.
Currently the NY State Attorney General’s office is investigating this matter. Ken Dreifach, chief of the Internet bureau in the New York State Attorney General’s office, said that entities such as Google and Yahoo can be held accountable for how their affiliates use their content. We recommend filing a complaint with these folks first (http://www.oag.state.ny.us/complaints/complaints.html). I was lead to believe that I was one of the first complaintants to file with the NY attorney general regarding Black Wednesday and I would appreciate others sharing their concerns through comments to this blog (especially any sort of strange activity on their accounts on 4/26/06). I am going to attempt to solicit an attorney to help us launch a class action lawsuit against Yahoo! for these spywares abuses that Yahoo! seems to be ok looking the other way on. Please tell me your story and if you would like to read more on Ben Edelman’s investigation into this newest form of click fraud, please feel free to go to: http://www.isedb.com/db/articles/1406/
Thanks and we look forward to hearing from you!