Yahoo recently sent out an email updating their Terms & Conditions. According to JumpFly‘s dedicated Yahoo Account Manager, nearly all of the changes “are related to the dissolution of Overture Services, Inc., which Yahoo! acquired in 2003. Also, the notice provision in Yahoo Updated Terms & ConditionsSection 12 was slightly revised due to a change to our international entities.”

I haven’t read them in quite a while, so I took some time to scan through the T&C. Pretty much dry, boring legal-ese except for one paragraph that I found very, very interesting:
“OPTIMIZATION. In the U.S. only, for those advertisers not bound by an Insertion Order, we may help you optimize your account(s). Accordingly, you expressly agree that we may also: (i) create ads, (ii) add and/or remove keywords, and/or (iii) optimize your account(s). We will notify you via email of such changes made to your account(s), and can also include a spreadsheet of such changes upon your written request. If you would like any of such changes reversed, please reply to such email within 14 days of the change(s), and we will make commercially reasonable efforts to reverse the change(s) you specifically identify. Notwithstanding the foregoing, you remain responsible for all changes made to your account(s), including all click charges incurred prior to any reversions being made. It is your responsibility to monitor your account(s) and to ensure that your account settings are consistent with your business objectives.”

Wow. You mean to tell me Yahoo can go ahead and make changes to an account whenever they want and without contacting you to find out what your goals are for your account? I’m sitting here, trying to think of a word that adequately conveys exactly what I think of this policy, and all the words I’m coming up with are not fit for posting. It seems extremely irresponsible to me that Yahoo thinks they can add or delete search terms, and write new ads for someone they’ve never even spoke to. And then have the audacity to notify that company by email and only send them the changes if they are requested AND THEN only give them 14 days to request that it be put back.

And if you do request the change, they will only put forth “commercially reasonable” effort. Commercially reasonable? What does that mean? What if they commercially screwed things up for that client? Whose definition of commercially reasonable applies?

All I can say is thankfully our JumpFly clients have been opted out of such a crazy possibility. I can tell you that if I was on the receiving end of some Yahoo change, I’d be pretty upset if it didn’t work and I couldn’t go back to how my account was.

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