One of the biggest news on the Internet recently was Yahoo’s announcement of closing down its famous directory, after operating it for almost 20 years, by the end of 2014. But how does this affect Yahoo Japan, which is not majority-owned (35% to be exact) by Yahoo.com?
After scanning Yahoo Japan’s official blogs as well as other local search engine forums, Yahoo Japan seems to be unaffected by this decision made in the US. In fact, not only is Yahoo Japan’s directory being constantly improved and updated; it is even expanding its paid services for advertisers on ‘Business Express’, the platform accommodating all advertising related matters within the Yahoo Japan directory.
The standard annual fee for a listing in the Yahoo Japan directory is JPY 50,000 (around USD 470), and therefore quite a bit more expensive than the English equivalent. Besides the standard commercial listings, Business Express just launched another way of getting more exposure in the directory of the most popular search engine in Japan.
The new ad format is called ‘Hot Site’ and the website will appear in the bottom right-hand corner with a headline and a description, as illustrated in the screenshot below.
According to J.P. Morgan, Yahoo Japan is unlikely to see earnings growth in fiscal year 2015 due to slowing growth expectations for paid search advertisements which account for over a third of the company’s total sales. In light of this, the introduction of the new ad format might be an indication that Yahoo is trying to expand its income channels. The price for it is JPY 40,000 (around USD 375) for one year (product description below).
These ads won’t appear on Yahoo’s web search results, and only sites already submitted to the directory are eligible for this new ad format.
On top of the paid version, Yahoo Japan Directory has been working on other new functions as well. The most recent among them was released mid-September and is called ‘popular sites’, a new section at the bottom part of all sub-category page levels (screenshot below).
According to Yahoo Japan, people were complaining that it was hard to find high quality sites in the wide selection of categories and sub-categories. This new feature is supposed to solve the struggle of finding the best pages in each category by showing the best selection within a single glance. As Yahoo stated in its official blog, the appearance of this section is based on the popularity of the websites that it is based on.
This new feature is currently only available for the desktop version of the Yahoo Japan directory. It is still uncertain whether these efforts to attract more advertisers as well as users will bear fruit. Links on Yahoo directory are only 302 redirected backlinks, so the PR impact is almost non-existent, and case studies show that referral traffic coming from the directory is very little as well.