The Secret to Beating Yahoo’s Quality Score

So anyone who’s anyone knows that Yahoo’s quality score sucks, and nobody can understand it. Hell, they can’t even understand it themselves. A while back I ranted about it and talked about a phone conversation with Yahoo where the rep told me not even he knew how their quality score was done. Since I’m a nice guy, I’m going to post my secret that’s been getting me “around” it for quite some time now. Before anybody thinks this is the key to making millions, read the following points :

  • It’s not really some super-secret hack, just utilizing something most Yahoo users have access to.
  • It deals with the campaigns that either are random non-related keywords (like for ringtones), or campaigns where even though your quality score should be great, Yahoo slaps a nice “you suck” on it with 1 or 2 bars.
  • You need a Gold account for this.

Okay already, now what is it?

Like I said I’ve been doing this for quite some time, as I got into Yahoo Search Marketing long before I attempted Adwords. What I noticed was, whenever I started a new campaign, I got a ridiculous amount of traffic for the first couple days, and then every day after that I got emails from Yahoo saying (this is a cut and paste out of one I got today) :

Dear Advertiser

Ads and/or keywords you submitted for account ‘My Account’ [xxxxxxxxxx] were reviewed to ensure that they comply with the Editorial Guidelines.

Keyword results:
Pending: 8
Declined: 0
Removed: 10

Note that this was my ringtone campaign where the keywords weren’t related to ringtones. Every day Yahoo took away 10-20 keywords, and these were keywords that were converting. My ads all had 1-2 bars in quality score, but I was still getting decent position because of the no competition. But over time, my accounts started to die because 1/2 the keywords had been removed by Yahoo. After even more time, Yahoo introduced it’s “Low Quality Ads” thing, where if you have too many, Yahoo turns off the entire campaign. And in an account where there’s 100+ “low quality ads”…yeah it got shut down.

So I got thinking, “Hmm…you get a really nice traffic burst when you first create the campaign, then it dies after a couple days.” This is because Yahoo throws your ad up nice and high to test out how it’s going to do. Then they calculate your quality score and if it’s low (which happens most of the time because their QS is whacked), your position drops and they start removing keywords. This is where your Gold account comes into play.

With a Gold account, you’re given the feature of importing .csv files. On a quick note about getting a gold account, you have to spend $500 in 3 months, or $1,500 in 1 month to get one. You can call and whine about it but they’re usually pretty stingy. So do what you can to get a Gold account. Now for the secret. What I did was download my campaign and open it up in Excel. I turned all the keywords back to “On” (as the status for a lot change to ‘Deleted’), changed the campaign start date to today, and then messed around with any bids that I wanted to using a simple find+replace. Then I deleted my campaign from Yahoo and reuploaded it. Voila, I was seeing that nice traffic burst again. Two days later comes and it dies. Delete that campaign, change the start date in your import file, and reupload. So it’s not really beating their quality score, more of getting around it since you’re going to be deleting your campaign before it even has time to calculate it.

I’m sure it’s easy to automate just changing the date and reuploading, but it takes literally 30 seconds to do. So for an extra few hundred bucks a day, it was well worth it. Feel free to quote me on this :

“Affiliate Marketing Problems : if you can’t beat them, get around them.”

Hope you can make some good use of this if your campaigns keep getting slapped. I was able to get more traffic for a cheaper cost, so it really helped some of my stuff. Look what you guys have done to me, making me start to give away secrets…


  1. December 8, 2007

    Uhh yea, and now that you decided to be so kind they will probably fix this. I believe in spilling a lot of info but that was a true gem for anyone that didn’t know to change the dates.

    BTW — Been stopping by more everyday, thought I would say what’s up and enjoy your posts. Think I’ll go ahead and add another notch to your feed icon.

    Thanks Paul,

  2. December 8, 2007

    Ahh the secret is out!

    But nice post either way. In my experience, a simple puase also does the same thing, however does nothing to the keywords that were declined.

  3. December 9, 2007

    Interesting…I’ll have to remember that if I ever get to be an uber “gold” member.

  4. Ross
    December 9, 2007

    Classic, this has happened to me a few times so thanks for the advice.

    Keep up the posts

  5. James
    December 9, 2007

    Huh.. old method.. i wonder why you are calling it secret.. lolzz… A lot of affiliates who have gold accounts … knows how to make use of that.. you are not alone mr liar :)

  6. December 9, 2007

    hahahah Get around them I love that. That’s the easiest way to make money online :D Learn to get around them.

  7. December 9, 2007

    This is almost exactly like the facebook flyers macro thing. They throw you some traffic in the beginning for free to see if your ad gets a good ctr, so if you spam repost the ad you’ll get that free burst for cheap clicks.

    Hit me up on aim or msn if you get a chance sup3r

  8. December 9, 2007

    Very interesting way to get about this, I too was thinking about it, but I had a friend tell me once they slap a particular keyword, they will keep slapping it. But I didn’t think you could quickly re-upload it for that nice traffic burst before they recalculated the QS.

    Great tip there.

  9. December 9, 2007

    Grrr. Quit giving away secrets I use. You’ll ruin it for all of us. :P

  10. December 10, 2007

    nice. I hear the other affiliates do this aswell successfully.

  11. December 10, 2007

    Paul, Question: Although my account has never been deleted before, do you think one would risk the chance of getting their account deleted from doing this too much? :)

  12. December 10, 2007

    Nah. Even if so, you always have a CSV from the day before to upload it somewhere else :).

  13. December 11, 2007

    its a secret now but your pretty good at finding those loop holes, i’m sure for everyone you reveal you’ll find a dozen more take its place.

  14. December 13, 2007

    I too wonder if they will get rid of you if you are caught doing this too much. Then again, how many sites are we talking about… Ah, these are wonderful secrets you let us know, as for the liar comment, he didn’t lie, some affiliates don’t know this little secret.

    Ron Killian

  15. Desmond
    December 14, 2007

    Now If only I had the Adwords Fix….. :) My campaigns are getting better but still suck @Ss.


  16. December 25, 2007

    some affiliates don’t know this little secret

  17. Thanks for the great tips. I’m going to use them on my campaigns.

  18. February 25, 2008

    Thanks for the tip, I have not even tried out Yahoo yet, just adwords.

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