This week, Avi Datner filed a lawsuit against Yahoo Inc., alleging Yahoo "intentionally and wrongfully interfered" with the relationship between Mr. Datner and the advertisers on his website. At first glance, this case seems similar to the ongoing lawsuit of Kinderstart v. Google, but at least one thing makes this case different: PartyPop.com is a much better site.
The Datner v. Yahoo case alleges that sometime in mid-2005, Yahoo dropped PartyPop.com from their search index. Before that, they say, searches for various party-related services would return PartyPop.com in the list of results. I tried a search for "wedding flowers" on both Google and Yahoo, and PartyPop.com turned up as the second result on Google, but not within the first 150 results on Yahoo. I then searched Yahoo for partypop.com, and it returned a few keywords, not including "wedding flowers." I picked one of those and searched for that keyword, but PartyPop.com did not turn up in the first 100 results. Clearly PartyPop.com is not prominent in the Yahoo index, but the reasons are unclear. In fact, I'm more surprised that PartyPop.com placed so highly with Google than by the fact they don't show up on Yahoo. Placing second for "wedding flowers" despite not having the word "wedding" in either title or URL is a neat trick!
After PartyPop.com learned they were no longer showing up in search results in mid-2005, Mr. Datner claims he contacted Yahoo in November and informed them of the problem, as well as the fact that it was costing him money, and that someone with Yahoo told him that PartyPop.com had been placed on some sort of exclusion list, but that person didn't know why. Mr. Datner believes his contact motivated someone at Yahoo to act, and his site began to show up in search results again – for about a month. In December 2005, it disappeared again.