My Yahoo! gives personalised searches to their users by tracking what category they use most often. It does this by adding cookies to a cookie friendly computer.
The connection between searches and advertising
Unlike Google, Yahoo! is clearer on how they personalise marketing to their users. Search terms (i.e. the words/phrases a searcher uses, or has used in the past) are likely to give the highest weight for advertisements. This is followed by page views (i.e. what a searcher has actually viewed) and whether a user has clicked on an advertisement before (Yahoo 2012).
Yahoo’s policy suggests that if a Yahoo! searcher searches for “cars” a lot, and has viewed a lot of searches on the topic of cars, they will receive advertisements on cars. Due to the nature in which an inverted index is constructed, this also suggests that advertisements also stem on their inverted index. Specifically, advertisements that are tagged as “automobile” will show on searchers SERP who has only used the word “cars”.
Mazmanian (2012) suggests that free access search (namely, Google) allows users to be fed advertisements.
Does age matter to search engines?
Unlike other free access search engines, Yahoo! state that they do not use advertising for users who are under thirteen years of age.
I don’t have a Yahoo! account because I do not use their search engine; however, this suggests that a Yahoo! user must have a profile with the search engine. After all, how would Yahoo! know what age their searcher was?
What are computer cookies?
A post, entitled what are cookies? can be found here, published a few weeks ago outlines the various types of cookies and what they are.