Danny Sullivan of Search Engine Land said this:
It’s kind of disturbing, really. If this is a paid promotion, the FTC wants that stuff labeled as such. Yahoo just calls it a “Yahoo Shortcut” and poitns you here:
Nothing on that page talks about them being for sale.
Another commenter set the record straight:
This is not a paid advertisement. It’s a partnership spot between Kellogs and Yahoo. If you look on the side of a box of Special K, there is a product placement spot for Yahoo! telling eaters of Special K to search with Yahoo.com, especially for the term Special K.
I was going to blog on it a while back, but my camera broke. But seriously, go to the store, buy some Special K cereal, look on the back and side of the box, and you’ll see the Yahoo! logo.
Interesting product placement for both companies.
I agree. Interesting product placement. I think we’ll see a lot more of this.
I haven’t seen the cereal box, but I can imagine it. I’ve seen TV commercials where Yahoo partners with sponsors that tell viewers search for X at Yahoo!. It’s a clever way to get the sponsors to pay for your ad. I don’t know what the arrangement was, but clever marketing could have gotten Yahoo! a free television ad.
I believe all of the search engines will do more of this type of partnership marketing in the future. You’ll likely even see it in viral video campaigns and social bookmarketing campaigns. But will it work? If it gets more searchers to go to the advertising search engine to place their search then I’d say it’s working.
For the record, Danny does add a postscript at Search Engine Land correcting error about paid promotions at Yahoo!. Personally, I like Google’s personalization model more than I do Yahoo!’s shortcuts model. I think what we’ll see from Google is paid placement that matches personalization. In other words, if I search for “SEO” a lot and that’s one of my top 10 searched for terms and “search engine land” is one of my most clicked on URLs then I’m likely to see a sponsored ad from Search Engine Land on my SERP even if Search Engine Land has their AdWords set for a very low ranking for “SEO.” If they have bid on “SEO” as a keyword at all then I will see their ad unless they’ve reached their budget for the day.