14 Replies Latest reply: Nov 17, 2011 5:44 PM by otttoyboy RSS

    Why are there advertisments at the top of my listing?

    otttoyboy Active Contributor

      Today after I updated my listing I went to preview my properties as a guest would see them and, to my shock:

           --> there were advertisments at the top of my listing <--


      -- There was an ad for weight watchers

      -- There was an ad for BMO Mastercard

      -- There was an ad for Ramada Inn (for a competitor!)

      -- The ad rotates with every page load, some even have distracting animations


      To make matters worse, the ads appear "above the fold".  For those of you who know what I mean, you will understand my concern.  For those of you who do not recognize the term, it refers to the area of a web site that can be seen on a viewer's web browser without scrolling.  This is the very most valuable space on any web site -- and it is being taken up by advertising that I did not approve.


      How can I know that the ads shown on my listing are in alignment with my moral compass and my business compass? I have no control over these ads that might be offensive to my potential guests and that directly reflect on me since they are represented on my listing.


      If HomeAway is using my listing to display advertising, then I expect to be compensated on a per-view / per-click basis for any advertising traffic that is generated on the ad that I spent my time to author.  The ads are distracting from my listing and, as mentioned above, are stealing the very most valuable space on the page.


      Have other owners noticed this?

      Are there like-minded concerns out there?

      What can we do about this?


      I am shocked, befuddled, annoyed and motivated to get this to stop.  Any ideas?


        • Why are there advertisments at the top of my listing?
          travis HomeAway Employee

          Hi Peter,

          I’m sorry to hear you feel this way. Each page on HomeAway.com is made  up of a template with a header and footer. The space you’ve purchased  for your listing is in the middle of this template.

          Your listing fees help pay for a robust marketing budget so that we can  rank among the top search results on Google and Yahoo! for “vacation  rentals” and similar terms. The advertising on the site helps us fund  vital search engine optimization and marketing efforts that bring even  more traffic to the site and your listing.

          I hope this information is of some use.

          Best regards,


            • Why are there advertisments at the top of my listing?
              New Member

              I completely agree.  The fees for listing with VRBO are much higher than vacationrentals.com, but I feel I must list both places.  But even after paying such a high fee, the ads are innapropriate. This should be an ad-free site.  Please reconsider this policy.  And what type of ads will appear?  NRA ads?  Political ads?  How about bogus diet programs and drugs?  How does this reflect upon VRBO and its listings?  The only reason I can see for the owners to add in this advertising is for them to get more money for themselves.  I'll stay for the year I've signed up, but after that I'm out of here. 

              • Why are there advertisments at the top of my listing?
                otttoyboy Active Contributor

                Hi Travis,

                First of all, thank you for your reply.  I do appreciate the time  and effort that you spent to consider this and provide a response.


                You mention that my listing fee ($329 -- which is about 5% of my annual net at my small one-bedroom condo), goes toward marketing and Google & Yahoo rankings.


                You mention that the advertising on the site helps fund vital SEO and marketing.


                For the benefit of everyone, here is Wikipedia's definition of Search Engine Optimization (SEO):

                     "Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of improving

                       the visibility of a website or a web page in search engines via the

                       'natural' or un-paid ('organic' or 'algorithmic') search results."


                SEO is a part of good web design & development and does require constant attention -- but it is a given for any web site and good web developers will do this as a matter of course.  Marketing is part of any good business plan and bidding on keywords in Google is a costly affair, I know from personal experience.


                Having said this -- my $329 should cover all of this.  I can not stress enough that the _only_ thing that I'm paying VRBO and HomeAway for is SEO and Marketing.  Other sites exist for free that do property listings as good as, or better, than VRBO/HA.   SEO and Marketing is, in my opinion, the only true value-add that HomeAway offers owners and one that is worth paying for while the competition builds businesses that can compete with the momentum HA acquired (literally acquired -- by buying up the existing competition).


                Property managers, on the other hand, may see more benefits. There is quite a bit of functionality on VRBO/HA that I do not need (but that I can not opt out of and, consequently, must subsidize for those that do).


                I absolutely do not buy the assertion that advertising on the site is in any way, shape or form is required to fund SEO or marketing efforts.  When the ads appeared on HA/VRBO, I certainly didn't see my listing fee go down.  I also did not see the performance of my listing go up either.


                Perhaps if HomeAway spent more effort with smart Marketing to the end customers worldwide and less time with costly U.S.-centric, one-offs like the Superbowl advertising, then this need for additional, offensive advertising at the top of my property listing would not be necessary.


                It certainly is unconscionable that HA and VRBO are putting ads at the top of our listings and pushing owners' vital listing information below-the-fold.  You are devaluing my listing with the HA/VRBO "template".  This devaluation was done without my agreement or consent and after I paid my $329 in good faith.


                I think that the ads cheapen the HA/VRBO site, distract from my listing and are a poor policy overall.  If you can not run the SEO and Marketing campaigns with the $329 that I'm paying times the 500,000 listings that are reputed to be on VRBO/HA (That's $165 million/year, folks) then someone at head office needs to seriously look into cost inefficiencies.


                Again, Travis, I appreciate your time and answer but -- I'm sorry -- the answer smacks of "towing the company line" and seems disingenuous to me.


                I suppose it's possible that I agreed somewhere in the pages-and-pages of legalese that HA could sandwich my listing between ads.  If so, I would appreciate if you would point out to me where this is stated in the terms.  If not, I again request that you opt my listing out of the ads.  I do not approve of them on my listing.


                I think HA/VRBO simply hoped that we owners wouldn't notice.  I did -- and I hope others will take the time to speak up too.





                P.S.  If maximizing revenue from ads is required by HA and if you believe them to be acceptable then why are there no ads on the HomeAway or VRBO home pages?  While I'm glad they aren't there (as I said, it cheapens the site and sends potential guests mixed messages), I think HA is being hypocritical in putting them on my listing while not putting them on the home page.

              • Why are there advertisments at the top of my listing?
                otttoyboy Active Contributor

                Just keeping this thread alive.

                The ads are still there.  I'm still unhappy about it.  Hopefully others will also feedback their disappointment to HA/VRBO.



                • Re: Why are there advertisments at the top of my listing?
                  susaninrehoboth Premier Contributor

                  I own a condo in an east coast beach resort town. When I clicked on my listing via puvlic access, there was an ad "above the fold" for a competing town about 150 miles away. The first 2 stesp in getting a rental is to have a prospective tenant look for rentalsin the town where my condo is located & then click on my listing. So, having accomplished this, the first thing a person viewing my listing sees is an ad for a competing town? Get real! I emailed VRBO with my concerns regarding this practice. No response. I'm paying $500 per year for my listing. I don't want VRBO being paid by other advertisers competing with me when someone views my listing.


                  I understand this practice may reduce the cost of having a listing on VRBO so I would only object a little if it were for a product/service that is not a competitor, such as for a keyless entry system, insurance, etc. But truly, I shouldn't have to compete with VRBO. This rates right up there with VRBO suggeting other rentals when someone clicks on my listing. Bad business practice but SOP for the "new" VRBO.

                    • Re: Why are there advertisments at the top of my listing?
                      otttoyboy Active Contributor

                      susaninrehoboth writes>> I understand this practice may reduce the cost of having a listing on VRBO


                      True, it might; but there is no evidence that it does.  VRBO / HA have become much less effective for my property (and reading through these forums it seems that I'm not alone) while prices continue to go up.


                      I would suggest that the only productive thing that the ads do is to contribute directly to HomeAway Company's bottom line.


                      I challenge anyone (at HA or otherwise) to provide me with proof, or even a compelling arguement, that this is not the case.