Nov 112013
 

Yahoo Small BusinessYahoo! Local seems to be going from bad to worse. When a few months ago owner verification was introduced to substitute the preceding moderated manual-only verification, I still had hope that things at Yahoo! Local are improving. Later on, when I realized that the turnaround times for the local listings to get verified, approved, updated are close to unacceptable, that hope started dying off. Today my hope is completely gone.

A few days ago Yahoo posted the following message in their Local Listings Help Topics center:

Currently the review time for Enhanced Listings is 3-5 business days and for Basic Listings the turn around time is between 8-10 weeks.

In other words, if you are not using their paid service, you might need to wait 2+ months for any sort of update. This, combined with the fact that Yahoo! Local’s verification postcards take between 4 weeks and never to arrive, means that if your local listing information is currently wrong, the chances are good that it will stay so for at least the next 3 months. Did I also mention that phone support, in any form, is not available to non-paying customers?

Having all this in mind, here is an interesting accidental case study I had the opportunity to be an active observer in:

I was recently working with a business with 300+ locations, helping them set their profiles on some of the main business directories, Yahoo! Local being among them. The turnaround time I reported above was relatively accurate in this case:
- 4-6 weeks for the postcards to arrive (if ever)
- Afterwards, 6-10 weeks for the moderators to approve the changes

The bad news come when the moderators decline the changes. Note that in the mentioned case all the information is checked and verified with the business management, and the structure of the submitted information is the same, i.e. between listing A and listing B, the only difference is the address and the phone number (and potentially the working hours). And there came the question – why some of the listings have been approved, and some were declined. The decline reasons included:

Reason 1. Please see the Local Listing Guidelines for more information. If a Marketing Dashboard is associated with this listing, it will be canceled. Paid Reputation Tracker Pro and/or Local Visibility Pro services for your Marketing Dashboard (if any) will also be canceled and a refund will not be provided.

Reason 2. Information provided in your business listing does not match information on your web site. For example, your business address, phone number, or both may not match. Please review your business information.

Both of these were invalid reasons in any of the cases. However, as the turnaround time for re-verification and re-approval is 3 months, this means that it may take more than half a year in cases like these for the listings to (potentially) be approved and updated.

In my opinion, this is very bad even per Yahoo’s standards.

  26 Responses to “How Little Do Yahoo Care About Local?”

Comments (26)
  1. I have a number of local clients that I recently onboarded, including claiming/verifying local listings. Many of these clients started the process nearly 5 weeks ago and still nothing from Yahoo, but both Bing and Google verified.

    Any chance the other claiming options (email, phone call) are faster with the moderation process? Just trying to find some way to get this going.

  2. Yahoo Local has continued to be one of the worst local search environments in my experience – and it has gotten way worse. Thank you for publishing this, I thought I was the only one (not really).

    Baffles me how such a huge company (with new leadership) can be so bad in such an important space.

    What does Yahoo care about? Email?

  3. Yahoo! Small Business is a mess… Even not talking about the service – user experience on the site is horrible and interface is confusing.

    I wonder what the future holds for Yahoo! Local now that Marissa is in charge. Are they currently not getting enough resources? Will they re-focus/reinforce the program? This all sounds too familiar with Google Local over a year ago and reminds me of Mike’s Train Wreck post. Google is getting things in shape. Will Yahoo?

  4. Submitted on the 22nd of October, went live Friday. That’s just a little over 2 weeks for me.

    Unfortunately, made an edit last night which sent it back into moderation/review process.

    • As for confirmation, this is what I got:

      “Thank you for submitting changes to your Yahoo! Local Basic Listing for ******* We will review your change request for inclusion in Yahoo! Local. We will send you a confirmation email after review. Your existing listing will remain on Yahoo! Local until your changes are approved. Please note any further edits to your listing may not be made until we review your current submission”

      Again, just over two weeks from submission to approval.

      I add the same business to Google and have been in limbo with no feedback whatsoever from the ‘Plex, so in my opinion, Yahoo seems to be the quicker of the two. Did I just get lucky?

      • It does seem you got lucky. As far as I understand, you had a listing already on Yahoo, and you just edited some of the information. What information did you edit? What account did you use to claim/edit the listing (i.e. @gmail.com, @yahoo.com, @yourdomain.com)? These might have some relevance.

        • My listing was new as of 2 weeks ago(never existed). It was approved and I made a change, which sent it back into moderation. I went with the “Free” Basic Listing.

          As for what email address I used? An old Yahoo email address.

  5. Interesting how Google is starting to focus on local businesses a lot more, but Yahoo’s new CEO (coming from Google) is basically ignoring them.

    Will have to see if they actually change this around.

    Thanks for the heads up Nyagoslav!

  6. I am frustrated with Yahoo to no end. I have had the same experience time and time again.
    It’s as though they don’t care. Oh wait, it might be because they don’t.

  7. Perhaps the only company that makes Google look as well-run as the German railway…

    I’ve always happened to think that the $10/month listings are a good deal. But still…. Yahoo really picked a bad time to push such a lopsided freemium model. I guess they didn’t think that it might be worth trying to develop their patch of the local “ecosystem” a little more – and making it relevant again – before trying so hard to monetize it.

    Thanks for the great coverage, as always, Nyagoslav.

    • I lol’ed hard at the German railway statement, Phil! After this, and your Oprah weight comment, I must say you are indeed the king of comparisons :D

      $10/month is really nothing. The problem is that the added value is very low – it doesn’t really give you much additional exposure in Yahoo’s local search results, which are anyway separate from Yahoo’s main search. Probably now that it’s clear that the turnaround times might be better for paying customers + they might actually get some meaningful customer service, that could somehow push Yahoo’s business… I just hope this hasn’t been their idea all along.

  8. I did see that timeline message from Yahoo after my last listing that I updated. Luckily though, it only took 2-3 days for the review process to clear instead of the 8-10 weeks. Hopefully this is more of a marketing tactic than a reality to come.

    • Greg, same questions to you as the ones to Michael. It would be useful to understand what might be “triggering” Yahoo’s moderators to act much faster in some cases.

      • Agreed, all created/claimed listings I have tracked have taken over 2 months to be reviewed. Could it have something to do with the age of the Yahoo account? Michael said his was pretty old

  9. I remember a time when Yahoo! edits and revisions went live within 3-5 business days for regular accounts…that was circa 2008-9? Any takers on when Yext will strike a deal with Yahoo! and you’ll have to pay to play to get a listing updated/added to Yahoo?

    Unfortunately, Foursquare seems to have a postcard delay as well. You can pay a small fee to get expedited and immediate listing verification, or you can have a postcard mailed to your address.

    Being naturally curious, I opted for the postcard for a client. Just over 8 weeks later did they receive the postcard for verification. Though you can edit a listing after it’s verified and the edits go live almost instantly, still a pain to try and track.

  10. @Blake

    Yahoo and Yext have already hooked up:

    http://smallbusiness.yahoo.com/localworks/

    As for whether / when it becomes exclusively pay-to-play…meh, who knows.

  11. Haha Yahoo couldn’t possibly be more of a time suck these days and support of any kind seems to be mostly nonexistent. Incredible the amount of time we’ve wasted trying to get listings verified and problems solved over the past several months.

  12. I ‘ve recently noticed for the past few weeks that Yahoo no longer allows a “Customer Edit” on an unverified Local listing. It appears that you must now claim and verify a listing in order to make any changes to the NAP. Great article!

  13. I have been very frustrated with Local. In trying to correct a business, it continues to create duplicate listings in the dashboard. Which I then delete. After 4 months of trying to fix one particular listing it updated everything BUT the website. In the dashboard it is correct but online it is wrong. Yahoo Local Basic listings customer service could really use some help.

  14. I’ve been going through various listing services to claim and or update my business. Of the 17 or so I’ve done so far, Yahoo is the slowest. Took 2 weeks to get the verification code by mail (the only option offered). Checked my dashboard and it says 8-10 weeks for review. I have to ask, why would Yahoo think I’d signup for an enhanced listing when they seem to demonstrate so well they are not really interested in me or my business. The $9.95 a month gives me faster service, but 16 other directories did it faster than 3-5 days for free.

  15. I know people that waited for more than 3 month just to get their page reviewed. I personally think that we are close to the moment, when most of the local business owners will realize it’s a waste of time. They definitely need to improve their customer service, if they want to stay competitive. Maybe we need more articles like this that say it straight, I just red one with funny statements like “the new Yahoo local search presentation is much more informative than what Bing offers and it’s more graceful than what Google offers.”, that’s nonsense.

  16. Yahoo is amazing. It sucks so amazingly!

    In the past few months, we have submitted listings for 9 businesses (basic listings). One (1 out of 9) post card showed up.

    I figured they could not afford stamps.

    If they can’t do it right, they should not do it at all. Or am I crazy.

    They should focus on sports, autos, and their incredible news headlines.

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