Yahoo prepares certification programme for search agencies

Yahoo is to launch a search certification programme by the end of September to help brands connect with specialist search agencies.

The internet giant – which last month revealed its search product is to merge with Microsoft’s Bing – is developing the Yahoo Network Certified Agency programme to boost agency spend across its network.

Agencies that meet stipulated criteria will receive benefits including training from Yahoo’s sales team, dedicated account management and permission to promote their agency by using the programme’s logo.

new media age understands the application criteria will include managing at least three search clients and spending over £15,000 a month on the Yahoo network.

Tim Frankcom, senior director for Yahoo Europe’s in-house sales organisation, said the programme had been created in response to requests from a number of clients.
“We recognise that education and comprehensive training are vital elements of our customer service and therefore will be launching the new programme later this year,” he said.

It will join existing programmes in the search sector, including Google’s Advertising Professional programme, launched in 2004, and Microsoft’s AdExcellence, launched in 2007.

The news comes a month after new media age revealed Google was launching a similar programme for conversion specialists (nma 2 July 2009).

However, the launch of such programmes has received a mixed response in the search industry.

Michael Day, ecommerce manager at Endsleigh Insurance, which earlier this year appointed search agency I-Spy Search, said accreditation schemes were useful when looking for new partners but an agency’s track record was equally important.

“You need to get the right blend: an agency with proven results or the confidence to commit to getting them, together with accreditation in the areas that matter to you,” he said. “If Google is where the majority of your activity will take place, then you’d naturally want an agency that has proven knowledge in this area, which the combination of results and an AdWords qualification provides.”

Harbir Padda, search campaign manager for Orange, said, “I’d guess qualifications are considered more when recruiting for individual roles within an agency or in-house team.”

Jonathan Beeston, European client services director at search specialist Efficient Frontier, said, “These programmes will help agency staff get so far, but it’s then for the agency to provide real insight and training. I’d say brands will look at previous results delivered for clients first.”

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