Analysts Add A Big Asterisk To Yahoo’s Rising Search Numbers

Yahoo’s search share was up over the last month, but analysts, who have been badgering Yahoo (NSDQ: YHOO) executives for months about the company’s falling market share, are calling foul.

Turns out that at least some of the increase can be attributed to slideshows that Yahoo has added to the result pages on its properties. TechCrunch shows how a user who makes a standard search in Yahoo News is now invited to click through a series of images related to the query. Those clicks, in turn, count as queries, according to comScore (NSDQ: SCOR) — but don’t convert into additional dollars. In fact, Barclays Capital Analyst Douglas Anmuth and Jordan Rohan of Thomas Weisel Partners say that without the slideshows Yahoo’s share likely would have stayed flat at around 16.9 percent. Their conclusions: Anmuth calls the data “optically good” but “very cloudy” while Rohan calls it a “navigational ploy;” we’ve asked Yahoo for a response and will update when we hear back. Yahoo’s response: “Increases of Yahoo