Yahoo’s redirection of links and its “Paid Inclusion” platform is nothing new or newsworthy. However, it’s always a good thing to shine a light on the process of how affiliate links are treated by the search engines (Google, Yahoo, MSN, Ask) in order to understand where the affiliate industry stands in its attempt to gain mainstream understanding.
Clearly, we in the affiliate marketing industry need to do more in the way of outreach and general education initiatives to let companies and individuals understand how the industry works and how concepts like affiliate links should interact with search engines.
In other words, not much new here.
(Thanks to Marshall Kirkpatrick for the link):
If you search on Yahoo, all of their organic results (not the sponsored links) are redirected through http://rds.yahoo.com. This is nothing new and they have been doing this for quite some time to record click metrics.
However, sometimes Yahoo gets sneaky and slips some affiliate links in those redirects. Don’t believe me? Let’s take a close look at the results for “cheap flights:”
Yahoo Is Dropping Affiliate Cookies