Yahoo! Cancels Banner Ads
Placed by SEIU
February 18, 2000
Yahoo! Cancels Banner Ads
Placed by SEIU Labor Union
Yahoo! Inc. has pulled the plug on the Service Employees International
The union, currently embroiled in a dispute with AHL Services Inc.,
a $10,000 advertising campaign Jan. 14 on the portal site. On Feb. 3 union
leaders received a phone call from Yahoo telling them the campaign had
Union Takes Its Labor Dispute to Cyberspace With Yahoo! Ads (Jan. 14)
"I went on the site and the ads were gone," said Robert Masciola,
coordinator for SEIU, which represents 1.3 million janitors, municipal and
health-care workers. "It came as a shock to us. They say they review
everything before they run it, so we figured they would have told us they
had a problem with it before the campaign ever started."
The ads were scheduled to run for three months but were pulled after only
three weeks. Mr. Masciola said the union still is waiting for a written
explanation from Yahoo. He said Yahoo gave two reasons over the phone for
the campaign's removal: that the union had breached its contract with
by mentioning Yahoo's name in an initial press release about the campaign,
and that Yahoo didn't condone targeted negative advertising.
A spokeswoman for Yahoo confirmed that the campaign was no longer running
but declined to give a reason, saying that "agreements between Yahoo
advertising clients are privileged."
AHL, based in Atlanta, is a provider of online and traditional fulfillment
outsourcing and contract services. The union's disagreement with AHL is
the company won't honor a September vote by passenger-service workers at
Angeles International Airport employed by Argenbright Security, an AHL
to join SEIU Local 1877. At the time, Argenbright refused to acknowledge
results, saying the vote wasn't legally binding because it wasn't
by the National Labor Relations Board.
Mr. Masciola said 95% of the 1,000 workers, whose job is to shepherd
passengers and their carry-on luggage through the airport's security
stations and into the terminals, voted for a union.
In addition to protests at LAX and AHL's Atlanta headquarters in January,
the union launched the cyberpicket in the hope of attracting the attention
of customers of AHL's Gage Marketing Services division, which is the
company's e-commerce fulfillment unit.
Banner ads, which read, "un-fulfilled.com: click here before you engage
Marketing Services" appeared in a random rotation on Yahoo's news and
finance pages and were expected to run 100,000 times during the
campaign. The banner ads also appeared atop the search-results page when
users searched for key words such as "AHL Services" or
Clicking on the ad took users to a SEIU-sponsored Web site,
www.un-fulfilled.com, which lists
the union's complaints against the
The union plans to protest the ad's removal by picketing in front of
headquarters in Santa Clara, Calif., on Tuesday. "We want the campaign
reinstated," Mr. Masciola said. "We didn't think what we were
Michele Slack, an analyst at market-research firm Jupiter Communications
New York, said she wasn't surprised by the removal of the campaign.
"In general, negative campaigns are not a good reflection on both the
constituency involved and also the media company that's running it,"
said. "You could potentially be seen as supporting the cause behind the
She added that "Yahoo doesn't want to alienate any advertisers or party
today's target could be tomorrow's big spender."