Yahoo gateway blamed for lost customers

In what could be a test case for online business partnerships, money lost online is being blamed on the portal site, Yahoo.
Written by Kimberly Weisul, Contributor

Online brokers sometimes grumble that portal sites charge too much money for the audience they deliver, but now the relationship between brokerage Web Street Securities and portal site Yahoo has turned downright sour. In a suit filed in US District Court, Web Street is suing Yahoo, claiming the portal company mismanaged an online investing contest sponsored by Web Street.

Web Street claims Yahoo's investment challenge alienated potential customers, and that the brokerage received emails from would-be clients complaining about the challenge and noting that they would never open an account with Web Street. Web Street paid about $1 million to sponsor the challenge.

Participants in the challenge competed for prizes by investing mock portfolios of $100,000. Yahoo claimed Web Street never fully paid for its contest sponsorship. Web Street said it stopped paying for the sponsorship in September. A button with a link to Web Street remained on the Yahoo site until early November.

Web Street said it also paid an additional $600,000 per year for other advertising on the Yahoo site.

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