Sunday, April 3, 2005

Seems Yahoo Has Found Its Spin Doctor

Eric Peterson, of Jupiter Research, started a strong article defending Yahoo's actions regarding the API debacle and followed it up after he had obviously heard from a bunch of people involved.

Eric, I spoke to Tom, Steve's assistant/senior VP. He is not being misquoted and I do not have any interests in any vending companies - though I use three analytics programs - one which does have an API for bid management. What I take exception to is that I was told by Overture and Yahoo that Web Side Story would get access to the API - we are a large advertiser and had added WSS to our tools because of this information given to us by Yahoo. Thus I wanted to know what was happening and was told of the planned changes.

So your statement:
Also, it occurs to me that it should not be difficult to resolve which side is being more honest: the analytics vendors questioning Yahoo! Search Marketing's position will either be able to provide proof that they had been in contact with the appropriate parties at Yahoo! for some time and had been given assurances that they'd be able to use the APIs or they won't.

in this case has proof. I am sure the employees may not be forthcoming, but I have dealt with some that no longer work for Yahoo and I may be able to find them - though if they were able to say anything is another legal question.

Personally, I think Tom told me a little too much detail and possibly should have had me sign a DNA - which I would have declined.

I agree with Eric when he states:
the analytics vendors don't want to pick a fight with Yahoo! (who would?) but I think that by asking the W.A.A. to get involved they have put the organization in an uncomfortable spot.

The WAA is a new organization and while wanting to support fairness in its industry, could be heavily hamstrung if the fall foul of Yahoo. I also do not want to pick a fight with Yahoo! but as a customer would like to be told why one vendor is in while others are out. The fact that Tom pitched me using the Yahoo product fairly heavily during our conversation may suggest another motive.

But without anyone at Yahoo actually now making detailled statements all that is left is speculation.

Everyone who works in this industry should be given a response. Yahoo does not have to disclose who has the tools... they are easy enough to find by a search of the products. What should be made is a statement of whether or not they plan on opening the API up to others any time soon. There are a lot of companies making decisions about what vendors they will use for the coming year etc and we need to know whether waiting for the API to be available while we juggle with two tools is warranted or if we should just start looking to make a complete transfer to one of the 'lucky ones'.

That is why these other vendors are upset. They potentially could lose all their customers. Restraint of trade etc. issues seem likely for some of the publically traded corporations - as a shareholder I would be wanting answers.

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