Thinking about using the new Yahoo Business Express submission service? Here are some additional guidelines and tips you may find helpful.
As mentioned, only sites offering e-commerce are eligible. That means that someone should be able to go to your site and make a purchase entirely online using a credit card. Furthermore, Yahoo says that your site should be firmly oriented around e-commerce. So don't consider adding an option to purchase a single item online as a way to qualify for using Business Express.
Yahoo's terms say that the site must conduct business in the United States. Specifically, your business must be based in the US and offer services to a primarily US-based audience. Don't use the system if your only connection with the US is that your site uses a US hosting provider. That won't qualify, Yahoo says.
You can only submit to one of the categories Yahoo has made Business Express-enabled. A complete list can be found from a link off the Business Express home page. I've also placed a direct link to the categories, below.
Click through to the most appropriate category from this list, then drill down until you find the appropriate subcategory for your site. Once there, select the "Suggest a Site" link at the bottom of the page. On the next page, click the "Proceed to Step One" button. A new page will appear that mentions both the normal and express submission options. Follow the instructions for Business Express.
Be aware that Yahoo cross-links subcategories. You'll know this is happening if a @ symbol appears at the end of the category's name. This can be a problem because the Business Express option won't appear if you submit to a cross-linked category whose parent is not Business Express-enabled.
In these cases, you should submit to the closest Business Express-enabled category that matches your site. Then indicate your preferred choice using the Category Suggestion box, on Step 2 of the submission process. Don't worry that you will lose your submission fee by doing so. "If they meet the spirit of the program, allowing transactions online from start to finish, then we will honor that," said Srinija Srinivasan, who oversees Yahoo's listing process.
Also remember that the Yahoo editors themselves may also place you into an appropriate subcategory, even if you don't indicate one.
Once you submit, Yahoo will tell you if your site has been accepted or rejected within seven business days. If you are rejected, you have an appeal option available. You can ask that the decision be reconsidered by sending to an email address that Yahoo will provide. You need to do this within thirty days from when you receive the rejection notice. Yahoo will then have another look at its decision and respond with a final answer. Yahoo's terms don't state a turnaround time for this, but Srinivasan said that it would be well within 30 days.
If you are rejected after appealing, you should not start the submission process again by resubmitting via Business Express. You should only resubmit if you have significantly altered your site.
"Unless they make substantial changes, I don't want them to start the process again. It's a waste of their money as well as their time," Srinivasan said.
The appeal process can also be used if you disagree with the category you are ultimately listed in, or if you wish the have the description used reconsidered.
Do not use Business Express in an attempt to change or update the listing of a site already in the Yahoo directory, even if you used Business Express for the initial submission.
"It's not for folks that are already listed," Srinivasan said. "This isn't trying to be a paid change request. It's a guaranteed response to whether we will include you."
Instead, if you need to change a listing, use the special change request form and follow up using the URL support address, if you get no action on your request.
Yahoo understands that there may be some cases where a site may submit to Business Express, meet all the rules, and yet still not be eligible for listing. In these cases, the processing fee will be refunded. For instance, Yahoo got a valid request from a site but couldn't process it because the site wasn't written in English -- a criteria not mentioned in the terms at the time. The Express editors are only dealing with English language sites at the moment, so the submission fee was refunded.
You can't count on getting your money back by making an innocent mistake, but Yahoo isn't out to make money off people who submit and are truly confused about what they were doing. "The $199 isn't worth it to us," Srinivasan said.
Nevertheless, if you are going to submit, be sure to follow all the rules to the best of your ability and that your site is of good quality. Here are some last words on what might be considered not good enough:
"If the site is truly lacking in content or extremely difficult to get around, navigate or understand -- that is, if it doesn't meet a very minimum level of substantiveness -- then even though there may legitimately be facility to conduct online transactions, we may have to reject the site without a refund," Srinivasan said.
Yahoo Opens Express Submission Service
The Search Engine Report, March 3, 1999
General information about the service, especially in relation to the continuing free submission service.
Yahoo Business Express Home Page
General details about the service, with links to terms and through another page, to Business Express-enabled categories.
Business Express Categories
Here's which categories have been Business Express-enabled.
Yahoo Business Express Help
Detailed answers about the service.
Yahoo Change Form
Use this page for changing a listing.