Yahoo! Broadens Partner Programs

Yahoo Search Marketing is expanding its partner programs for search marketers and webmasters who manage or refer clients to Yahoo paid search campaigns.

The Alliances Program broadens Yahoo’s four-year-old Ambassadors program, formerly limited to top partners, to include smaller SEM firms and individual search marketers. The three-tiered Ambassadors program provides partners with education, training and search marketing resources to help them sell and manage Yahoo Search Marketing campaigns for their clients.

At the introductory Ambassador level, commissions are paid a flat rate of $20 for each new advertiser referred to Yahoo Search Marketing, with no minimum spend required. Certified and Strategic Ambassadors must meet a minimum monthly spend and demonstrate additional expertise in Yahoo Search Marketing products. Partners in the higher tiers also get dedicated customer service, on-site training, and advertiser Web services.

Yahoo is also adding to its existing affiliate program with a new Certified Affiliate program, which offers Web-based training and marketing materials to help affiliates educate their clients before referring them to begin a paid search campaign with Yahoo The program is currently limited to affiliates in the United States and Canada, with plans to expand to other countries in the future.

Certified Affiliates will get the same commissions as the standard affiliate program — a $20 commission for each referral who signs up for Yahoo’s Sponsored Search or Local Sponsored Search programs, and an $80 commission for each Sponsored Search Fast Track sign-up, a program that offers advertisers more hand-holding for a $199 fee.

Both Ambassadors and Certified Affiliates must complete a course of Web-based training, pass a test on the material, and pay a $50 registration fee. In exchange for the extra work and cost, they will be given access to marketing materials, as well as promotional credits to pass on to clients to put toward the cost of their paid search campaigns.

The company will continue to offer its self-service affiliate program for smaller publishers, managed by ValueClick’s Commission Junction. The Ambassador and Certified Affiliate programs are managed by Think Partnership’s Kowabunga! Technologies.

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