Yahoo! Search Ends Monthly Minimums

In a move designed to encourage small businesses to buy keywords, Yahoo! on Friday eliminated its $20-a-month minimum spending requirement. Now, advertisers can buy keywords without meeting any minimum in click-through fees.

"We eliminated the spend for potential advertisers who may have felt like that spend was a barrier to sign up," a Yahoo! spokeswoman said. In addition, not having to spend a minimum amount would simplify the process for some advertisers, she added.

Yahoo! Search Marketing will maintain its minimum bid price of 10 cents per bid, the spokeswoman said.

The move appears to be less about increasing immediate profits than generating interest and participation by even the smallest marketers, said Gary Stein, an analyst with Jupiter Research. "They're constantly looking for ways to get more people involved," said Stein. "There's no reason to leave up some psychological barrier."

He added: "I don't think there's any sub-$20 market that anyone cares about, but there's still no reason to cut off the long tail."

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