Our next Citation on Trial series focuses on Yahoo Local. We thought about breaking this into multiple posts since it’s a very long and frustrating story. The quick review is stay away from Yahoo Local, unless you are looking forward to circular discussions and completely wasting your time. There are some interesting details in the process, so for those folks that want to see what happens under the covers, we decided to put all of it here in a single post.
There are several stories about the lack of focus Yahoo is putting into Yahoo Local, so we weren’t sure how relevant they are to being with, but it’s still a fairly popular and well known citation. We went to local.yahoo.com and searched for our business, which was not found. When I click to claim my business, it takes you to the Yahoo Local business landing page where it tries to upsell all sorts of stuff. This will be a recurring theme throughout the process.
One of the more frustrating experiences was being constantly pushed to “Get listed in 50 directories!” They charge $30/mo. for this “privilege”. Making matters worse, they make it sound like you’re advertising on these 50 sites rather than just getting you citation listed – which makes it sound like a “deal” for such a low price! Don’t be fooled, there is no advertising involved here, simply a listing of your NAP on 50 sites.
I ignored all the upsell offers and said I wanted my free listing. They asked me for my business name, address and phone, and then it brings up a search dialog where it shows the “Top 50 citation sites” and lists which ones we are in and which ones we are not. On the top of the page, in very LARGE red letters, it indicated I had 137 errors with my listing. The report indicated that our business was listed on 5 sites. Three of the sites we had already added manually (SuperPages, YP.com and Factual). Two of the sites we had never heard of and when I went to search I could NOT find our listing, so we’re not sure why they were listed.
Once I got through their online sales pitch and FUD (Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt) around having 137 errors, I had to login with a Yahoo ID to claim our listing. That was a bit of a downer since I almost never use my Yahoo account. But I have one, so I signed in. Once Yahoo accepted our listing, they said it needed to be “verified” – either by getting a code to the email address you put in, or to the physical address. My first thought was “What if I put my personal email address for somebody else’s business? Could I claim their business?” It’s a legitimate concern, but as you’ll see below, probably not worth somebody’s while given the effort to get a listing published.
I asked to get my claim code via email. I received it immediately, and entered the code into the form. After that, Yahoo Local brought up a dialog that it was “provisioning” my listing and had a counter going to 100%, like it was building something on the fly. After about 20 seconds, it said I was done, and brought me to a “next steps” page with more ways to spend money with Yahoo. I declined them all and clicked the link to go to my dashboard.
My listing indicated that it was being “reviewed” by Yahoo and no changes could be made. There was no estimate for how long before it would be approved. I got an email 3 hours later that there was an issue with my submission – here is the email:
We’ve reviewed your Yahoo Local Basic Listing submission for Bizyhood. Unfortunately, there are problems with your submission which are preventing us from activating the listing. These problems, however, are correctable. The problems are as follows:
Web Site Functionality – Web sites should be functioning at the time of review and take the users to the business represented in the listing. The web site must be presented in English. The back button must function. Only one partial pop-up window is permitted.
To correct these errors, visit our Account Center and click on the Edit link next to your listing for further details.
I checked my listing, and I put the correct URL in, so I have no idea what the issue is. The next thing I know, I can no longer get to my dashboard – I can’t see my business listing at all. All the links to “create an account” or “access my page” are met with a “Sorry – you don’t have permission to view this page”. I tried multiple things to get back, with no success. I tried re-starting the entire process from scratch, which brought me back to my “directory scan” – only this time, I have 207 errors, not 137! So, 70 new things went wrong since I brought Yahoo Local into my life…
After more research, I finally found an email in my Yahoo spam folder that said my listing was active (consider the irony of Yahoo marking email from themselves as spam). The link in THAT email (once I marked it as NOT spam) did take me to a dashboard that had a big message on top saying the dashboard was being retired on 4/10/2015. (which was a date in the past). But no links to a new dashboard!
I had enough for one day, so I put this aside for the night.
I resubmitted our record using the same strategy I tried on Day 1. I checked my Yahoo email, I had 5 emails about my business listing, but none of them said anything definitive, and I still had the issue that when I clicked on their Account Center links, it took me to an old page that was apparently being replaced.
This time I did not get any emails from Yahoo regarding the second listing. I decided to be patient and wait a few days to see what happens.
Another annoying feature – I’ve noticed that when I go to local.yahoo.com, it always acts like I’m not logged in. Even when I do login, it seems to accept my credentials but still shows me as not logged in. If I click the email icon on the far right, it automatically brings up my Yahoo email. But clicking on Login for the Yahoo Local brings up a login dialog and then right back to this page.
Figure 1 – The view of Yahoo Local after logging in. Note the Sign In prompt on the top left.
However, if I choose Mail on the right nav, it puts me right into Yahoo Mail.
I still hadn’t received any emails or phone calls, so I tried calling Yahoo. Their automated email on Day 1 about the issues in our listing had a 408 phone number. So I called. When I finally got to an agent, they told me I had to call the “small business” support center, which was a different phone #. She could not transfer me, so I hung up and dialed the new #.
I dial the new number and immediately get the Yahoo yodel from the 1990’s! I haven’t heard that in a long while. I was on hold for less than 20 seconds before a live agent connected with me. I had a case number from my initial email from Yahoo, but that didn’t seem to work, so I had to create a new case number. After that, he figured out I was trying to get a free listing (e.g. I wasn’t a paying customer) and he basically said he couldn’t help me.
The agent indicated that free listings on their site take 30-50 days to complete. If I was a paying customer, it would be 3-5 days. I suggested that this information would have been helpful if it was on my dashboard and in the emails I got. He said it was listed in the terms of service when I first signed up. I don’t recall even seeing a terms of service, but to be honest, even if I had, I would not have read it carefully. In any case, if they want to reduce frustration and phone calls, why not put it right in the email? Their email was very misleading by telling me my listing was approved.
So, we’re now essentially on hold for 30-50 days. We will be watching to see when we do get listed on Yahoo Local. It’s interesting to note that one of the citation sites that ExpressUpdate claims to partner with is Yahoo Local. So, we now have 2 avenues to get into Yahoo Local.
I haven’t done anything new with Yahoo Local as I figure we need to wait a month. However, I’ve received 4 email ads now for Yahoo Localworks, their paid service to get listed on 50 sites. This is annoying enough, but to not add my free listing for 30-50 days and continually pound me with advertisements to upgrade is not cool. I also got an email on Day 7 asking me to rate my experience with Yahoo. Please consider this my response to that email 🙂
Figure 2 – Yahoo Localworks Ad
This has been a frustrating process – both online and over the phone. Between this experience and the fact that Yahoo has pretty much replaced their online reviews from those from Yelp, they seem very far down the slide to irrelevance.
PS – Our listing is still not on Yahoo Local, and it has been more than 30 days. We will update everyone if/when we ever do get listed.