Jul 222013
 

When Marissa Mayer was named CEO of Yahoo, many people (including me) believed that she might put serious effort into resurrecting the rather forgotten by the previous management(s) Yahoo! Local. And while there has definitely been some movement in that department, not many changes benefited the average user.

A. Issues with time frames for verification.

One of the first more notable changes was the introduction of “Marketing Dashboard“, together with a two-step verification process. And here is where the major confusion comes. There wasn’t (and there still isn’t) a clear explanation of how the verification process works. The feature was added all of a sudden and Yahoo! Local’s help files are, ironically, of no help. However, having to do this at least a few hundred times since its introduction, I figured out the process generally goes like this:

1) Claim an old listing or create a new one – you could do it either using a Yahoo account, or using a Facebook or Google account.

2) Choose the verification option – email (must be under business domain), phone, SMS, postcard
*Note: whenever possible do NOT choose postcard, because this might take up to 6-7 weeks.

3) Manual verification by Yahoo moderator – this is the only part of the process that has a corresponding help page, and according to that page the review process should take 20-25 days, although the following remark is made: “this time is subject to change and may take longer based on the volume of business listings pending review at any given time”. According to my experience, on average it takes about 2 for free listings.

4) In some cases the listing might get “Declined”, and the reason is usually “Mismatch”. The following explanation is normally provided: “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.” If you edit and re-submit the listing for verification, you would have to pass through the same cycle once again.

To sum it up – it might take up to 4 months (or even more if the listing is declined) for a free Yahoo! Local listing to get verified in the cases where only postcard verification is possible or 2 months (on average) if other verification options are available.

B. Issues with customer support.

There is a very visible phone number appearing all across the Yahoo!-Local-related subdomain – smallbusiness.yahoo.com. The phone number is 866-883-1043 (for the US only). Unfortunately, my numerous attempts to get a representative to help me (at least with guidance) were met with the straightforward answer “We do not offer phone support for free listing users.” I had, obviously, tried email support already. There are two ways to get to Yahoo! Local’s email support:

- By using this form

- By writing them directly at customersolutions-ysm@yahoo-inc.com

I found the second way to be more reliable, as in many cases I did not receive any answer using the form. It is to be noted, though, that the average response time is 5 working days, so you would need to be patient.

C. Other Yahoo! Local (and Yext) topics of interest.

1) Yahoo! Local for multi-location, national brands and franchises:

An interesting fact is that Yahoo do not offer business listings bulk upload, unless the business has more than 1,000 locations. Note that a workaround such as “one business x 300 locations + one business x 200 locations + one business x 500 locations” (for instance) is not acceptable. It must be ONE business with at least 1,000 locations. I recently worked with a few national companies that had between 150 and 600 locations and in these cases I found Yahoo’s rules rather incomprehensible.

2) Yahoo! Localworks

On June 17, Yahoo announced (rather quietly) Yahoo! Localworks – supposedly a new tool in the portfolio of Yahoo! Small Business. The tool was also mentioned in Yext’s blog as “a tool from Yahoo! Small Business.” The introductory cost for the tool is $29.99 per month (until September 30, 2013), billed quarterly at $89.97. What the tool does is publishing business listing information to “over 40 directories.”  Does it sound familiar? If not yet, then it would become if you perform a free scan via the Yahoo! Localworks page (lower right-hand corner of the page) and see which the platforms included in the package are. Yes, this is more than obviously white-labeled Yext Powerlistings, which I have previously written about. However, the rate offered by Yahoo is significantly lower than the original retail rate Yext offers – $41.58 per month, billed anually at $499. So if you are considering purchasing Yext Powerlistings, you might want to do it via Yahoo! Localworks.

Additionally, what caught my attention was the last question and answer in the FAQ section of the Yahoo! Localworks Features & Pricing page:

What happens to my directory listings if I cancel Yahoo! Localworks?

Cancellation of Yahoo! Localworks will result in the removal of all new directory listings and listings updates created when you purchased Yahoo! Localworks. If you previously had a basic listing on any of the target directories, your listing should revert to the original basic listing.
(*underscoring by me)

This (in)directly answers the question that I am frequently being asked in regards with Yext Powerlistings – “If I cancel my annual subscription with Yext, will my listings disappear/revert back to how they were prior to me paying Yext?” (Yes, they most probably will).

  22 Responses to “Yahoo! Local’s Ridiculous Time Frames and Other Issues”

Comments (22)
  1. Wondered why/how Yahoo priced their white-labeled Yext offering below Yext’s own price. Buying power? Maybe just an intro to jump start interest in Yahoo’s services?

    • I believe it was all about volume. Yahoo committed to some very serious volume and probably some very serious discounts to Yext (because Yext apparently pays to the platforms in their network for every listing they send to them, or at least that’s what they claim).

  2. It always amazes me that you can have a multi million dollar company that drops the ball so badly. Need a 1000 locations to bulk upload – crazy!

    Ny – re this “This (in)directly answers the question that I am frequently being asked in regards with Yext Powerlistings – “If I cancel my annual subscription with Yext, will my listings disappear/revert back to how they were prior to me paying Yext?” (Yes, they most probably will).” – do you know anyone who has cancelled and watched the work disappear? can you reach out to Yext to get a statement on this… important to know for sure.

  3. Great write-up, Nyagoslav.

    One thing I haven’t been clear on is whether there are difference between Yahoo’s Localworks and Yext’s normal PowerListings offering. It seems purely white-labeled, but maybe I’m missing something.

    Regarding Yahoo’s awful business-listings setup, do you get the sense that there are any changes (for the better) in the works? (Things happen sloooowly in Yahoo, so my guess is that the “other shoe” has fallen.)

    • I believe Localworks is exactly Yext’s Premium package (i.e. the full package of sites) at a much, much lower price point and in an attempt to hide this fact they white-labeled it. In general, if I was a Yext reseller, I wouldn’t have been very happy to see someone publicly offering the same service at much lower rates.

      I think the most changes at Yahoo happen in regards with their paid products, which is not a very good option having in mind that they struggle keeping/increasing their user base…

  4. I know what you mean. Yahoo is in a long, slow death-spiral. Monetization requires great free products to – as you said – build the user-base. But for a slow-moving hulk like Yahoo to come up with a great free product is going to take money and elbow-great that they’re not willing to put in, apparently. Google had the best search engine before it introduced AdWords and started making money.

    • Indeed. The path Yahoo has taken doesn’t seem to be going to lead them to anywhere near where they have previously been. On the bright side, though, it seems nice that one could test Yext at the much more reasonable rate of $90 per quarter (rather than a year commitment at $500 prepaid).

  5. Great reporting on the Yext/Yahoo collusion. There’s an opportunity to exploit.

    Yahoo is the worst; update times, never publishing updates, consistent repeated pattern of doing absolutely nothing. One of the worst local search environments in my experience – hands down. Rivals Citysearch during their transition… to what I have no idea.

    I’d love to see the results from businesses that actually do fall victim to signing up with any of their Marketing Dashboard feature services. OrangeSoda PPC, SEO…

    • Thanks for your comment, Chris. I would also be interested in hearing from a business that has used any of the paid services Yahoo offers/resells.

    • I signed up for Yahoo Enhanced Listing. This is an upgrade from Basic Listing and costs $9.95 a month. I did it because they claimed more “visibility” and faster updating of information without the wait times. They started charging my card every month but didn’t deliver any value. When I tried to downgrade back to basic, there was NO OPTION to downgrade. I repeat NO OPTION to downgrade. When I went into my account I was still listed as a basic listing. Updating of information was no faster, it still had a long wait time. And it said that the only way to cancel my monthly fee was cancel my entire listing, meaning I would lose my original basic business listing. Is it just me or does this sound like extortion? I don’t want to cancel my basic listing. They took my money and gave me no value and no way to reverse the upgrade. Very, very shady and unethical. Business owners beware: NEVER upgrade to an enhanced listing. It is a trap with no return.

  6. I’ve had similar frustrations when working with Yahoo listings. I guess the bottomline for me is that I expect better out of Yahoo.

    Seems to me that Yahoo, if they wanted to, has an opportunity to gain some ground on Google in the local niche. Given all the current frustration with Google+ Local, I’ve got to think Yahoo Local would get a boost, if they had their act together.

    • Thanks for your comment, Bill. Indeed, there seems to great opportunity for a giant like Yahoo to “attack” the local niche, but they most probably don’t have the financial support necessary to do that. That is why I also think they are taking so many steps that are related to bringing in quick cash influx.

  7. I’m going to write something positive about Yahoo. But its old news, and in light of changing environments its probably pretty irrelevant. On top of that, its quite likely the staffing and attention to this issue is currently less than it was.

    In 2009 we had an smb that was spammed reviewed by a competitor in 3 review venues: Google, Yelp and Yahoo Local. The reviews had a very similar theme in attacking the smb; and the reviews all appeared at roughly the same time.

    Google wouldn’t respond to us at all. Yelp kept responding with polite emails to all our evidence. But yelp wouldn’t take down the review.

    Yahoo took down the review. It took about 3,4 or 5 emails but they removed it.

    Of course today…how many people look at yahoo reviews? I suspect its a tiny percentage of searchers. I also suspect, based on your terrific and descriptive article, that they probably aren’t staffed to handle things today the way they did in late 2009.

    ….and with that….I don’t have much more good stuff to say about yahoo. ;)

  8. Been waiting over 4 weeks for verification PIN to be mailed. So requested another, waited and still nothing. Google and Bing come in 5 days. Crazy slow coming from Yahoo.

  9. I hate to say it but I fell victim to Yahoo Localworks and their collusion with Yext. In providing local SEO over the last couple years I have run into a couple major disasters created by Yext via one of their other partners Yoodle (and previously Outrank.com) where they had created a new phone number and website then proceeded to update every directory listing with their fake details. Cleaning up that kind of disaster is a ton of work. When Yext Powerlistings showed up last year it became impossible to update the fake listings. So, I contacted Yext who said they would do nothing and that I should contact Yoodle. I contact Yoodle and they say that they have cancelled the listing and nothing more can be done. I literally had to get my client to threaten a lawsuit if they didn’t unlock and revert his data before they would take action and it still took several weeks.

    So, when I saw that Yahoo was offering the Yext Powerlisting at a nice discount I thought I would give it a try as being able to update all of those directories from one location and getting and keeping the data synchronized seemed like it would be easy enough. Boy was I wrong!!

    The primary reason I wanted the Yahoo Localworks was to correct the Yahoo listing and I had gone around in circles with my clients free listing and they just couldn’t/wouldn’t correct it. The name and the address are incorrect in the Yahoo listing. Enter Yahoo Localworks which promises to synchronize your details across 40+ directories. You would think that should include the Yahoo listing since it is included in the list of directories but it does not.

    I paid the $90 fee for Yahoo Localworks 2 months ago and to date the Yahoo listing is still incorrect even after multiple email support requests to correct it!!

    To make matters worse I found out the reason for the price difference in Yahoo Localworks vs Yext Powerlistings: The Yext Powerlistings includes your URL and all the featured listings information. Whereas with the Yahoo Localworks none of the directory listings include the URL or any of the featured listings information. (although Yahoo Localworks product description says that they will include this featured listings info). Yahoo also promises that you can “manage” the 40 listings from a single location. I ran the Free Scan that Yahoo offers on their description page: http://smallbusiness.yahoo.com/localworks/ on my client that I have paid for the Yahoo Localworks (I paid for it two months ago) and it still reports 30+ errors, which is absolutely correct. The data is simply not synchronized, their URL is not added and worse yet the listings are locked by Yext Powerlistings so you can’t edit/claim them on the individual directories.

    Bottom line Yahoo Localworks is a total scam. It doesn’t even come close to providing what it promises – not even on the Yahoo Directory Listing. So, I went back to Yahoo and said, “You didn’t provide the product that you promised and I want a refund” their response is that there are no refunds for this service because it was a promotional offer which was disclosed in the term which you agreed to when you made the purchase.

    I cancelled the service and the directory listings have not reverted as promised – they are still locked by Yext Powerlistings. Which based on previous experience will now require the threat legal action to get them to fix the errors or unlock the listings.

    Best advice steer clear of Yahoo Localworks and Yext!!

  10. Good stuff Nyagoslav.

    One question: I’ve gone through the verification process but reached “Declined” for mis-match information like you highlighted in section A of the post. I have edited both to choose correct business details, but after moderation it is saying “Declined” again with no option to “Edit”. Anything I can do at this point?

    I have reached out to support through the form, but don’t have much hope in hearing back from them.

  11. Hi Nyagoslav,

    I tried contacting Yahoo support for 2 different issue this morning via the email address you suggested in your blog post: customersolutions-ysm@yahoo-inc.com … so far I got an automated reply for only one of them where they told me to use an online form:

    “This automated response will be the only one you receive to the e-mail you’ve submitted [...] we now require all advertiser inquires to be submitted through our Support Request Form…”

    The full text of the email is below.

    - – -

    Thank you for contacting us. This automated response will be the only one you receive to the e-mail you’ve submitted.

    To ensure the security of our advertisers’ account information, we now require all advertiser inquires to be submitted through our Support Request Form, a link to which is found at the bottom of nearly all pages within your account. In addition to ensuring the security of your account information, using the Support Request Form allows us to more efficiently respond to specific types of inquiries, providing you with even better service.

    If you are not currently an advertiser and would like information on advertising with Yahoo! Search Marketing, please visit our web site at http://searchmarketing.yahoo.com/. For all inquires not related to advertising with Yahoo! Search Marketing, please send us an e-mail at feedback-ysm@yahoo-inc.com.

    Sincerely,

    The Yahoo! Search Marketing Team

  12. Here are a couple of critical updates for people considering Yahoo Local Listings (aka Yahoo Localworks).

    First, you should know that there is no way to distribute video content to the Yext-synchronized sites. Yahoo states in it’s marketing materials that you can upload video. But a call to tech support this morning revealed that this is a “future implementation” and “we have no identified date for the implementation.”

    Second, one of the potentially powerful feature of Yext-synchronization is the ability to update specials / coupons to multiple sites. Yahoo’s database field for specials is not paired correctly to Yext’s coupon field. What does get synchronized is your “Company Slogan.” What is even worse is that the “Specials” data you enter get’s buried by Yahoo in your Yahoo listing and is incorrectly labelled by Yahoo as “Specialties.”

    Interestingly enough no one has noticed these issues according to Yahoo tech support! Wow!

  13. Nyagoslav,
    I’ve been scanning the Internet for reasons why only one of my client’s locations has been activated and the others get declined after I’ve verified them. Apparently, according to Yahoo, a business can’t have more than one location, unless it has 1,000.
    Thanks very much for your write up. I don’t suppose you’ve heard any rumors of Yahoo addressing this issue?
    Cheers

  14. I have a question. If signed up for $29.99/month package, can I choose how many locations (towns) I would like to post the business info?

  15. Don’t use Yahoo Local Works BAD DEAL.
    If your thinking about Yahoo Local/Works all you have to do is take 89.00 and burn it. Then you can go to the websites that you want to put your business on and do it yourself for FREE, not hard at all. In fact I did it myself then I went to yahoo because I thought they were going to list my business and they did nothing, They don’t help with ranking or getting your website to the top you will have to go to a different company for that. All Yahoo does is take small piece of your info and put it on different sites. Like I said, you can do that yourself for FREE. Don’t be a fool like me and give Yahoo any money. I can help you do it if you need the help I just don’t want other people to get burned by Yahoo like I did. They have a NO Refund Policy for a reason and I see the scam now and know how they get their money to keep running.

 Leave a Reply

(required)

(required)

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>