General FAQ’s

  1. What is BOSS API and what can it do for you?

    BOSS API (Build your Own Search Service) is an API that connects into Yahoo’s search infrastructure. It allows developers, start ups, and established consumer internet companies to leverage the power of Yahoo’s search capabilities.

  2. How is BOSS API different from other APIs?

    There are plenty of APIs out there in the search space. Some of them give you an iframe or a widget. The current Search API is designed for rapid development of search applications and mashups. BOSS API is an extension of that rapid development concept and for the first time developers can tap into Yahoo’s search infrastructure and build applications for commercial use without restrictions around presentation or ordering of results. You can take BOSS API results, blend in your own secret sauce, and build a search engine of your own design.

  3. Which search content can I find through BOSS API?

    This first release of BOSS API, developers can fetch search content for Web, News, and Image results.

  4. What is a RESTful API?

    REST stands for Representational State Transfer. Yahoo Web Services use “REST-Like” RPC-style operations over HTTP GET or POST requests with parameters encoded into the request URL.

    For more information about REST please check out the following:

  5. What will the results look like?

    As a developer using BOSS API, you can choose JSON or XML result outputs.

  6. What do you mean by re-ordering results?

    Developers have expressed interest in altering the result order, removing results they do not want, and blending in their own data. All of these activities are allowed and encouraged with BOSS API.

  7. Do I have to serve advertisements in my search?

    No. Ads are not compulsory.

  8. When will the search ads be available? What can I do until then with this API?

    Search Ads will be available to qualified developers when BOSS API is launched.

  9. What can’t I do with BOSS API?

    Yahoo has made the terms of service significantly more flexible than most other APIs, including our previous Search API. Please read the BOSS API terms of service for more information.

  10. What do I need to do to access the APIs?

    Developers must obtain a BOSS API App ID. This App ID is different than the Yahoo Search API AppID. The sign up is on the BOSS API page ` <>`_.

  11. Are these the only features that you’ll have? Or When will you rollout additional verticals / features?

    This first update to BOSS API in 2011 is our baseline. Significant upgrades are planned and more updates will be provided when we get close to releasing those features. Yahoo would like your suggestions and feedback for upcoming releases. Please go to the Suggestions Board and click on the BOSS checkbox and send us your suggestions.

  12. Is there a developers kit for the BOSS API?

    Yahoo is releasing an experimental Python library called the Boss Mashup Framework which provides simplified interfaces for retrieving search results via the Boss API. The framework also provides functions for remixing the results with other data sources.

  13. Where can I get support for using the BOSS API?

    Support for this product is outlined in the ? section.

  14. Is there a message board or discussion group for the APIs?

    YES. Please join the Yahoo Search BOSS group at ``


  15. Can I use POST parameters for BOSS API?

    No. BOSS API uses GET to pass query parameters.

  16. Can I submit a request from a web browser?

    Browser requests are currently not possible since BOSS API uses oAuth. A browser extension may be released in the future.

  17. Can I make simultaneous requests to BOSS API?

    Yes, you can make simultaneous calls to the BOSS API service. Please note that you will receive 503 gateway timeout errors for the first few simultaneous calls but that should go away after.

  18. Is there a YQL table for BOSS API?

    A table was built by Sam Pullara, a BOSS API developer. You will need to provide your consumer key and secret to the table; For example, select * from where ck=... and secret=... and q=”yahoo”.

  19. Where is the BOSS Mashup Framework?

    Click here for the BOSS Mashup Framework. The BOSS Mashup Framework is a non-supported code library, and is licensed under the terms set forth in the Yahoo Search BOSS API Terms of Use.

Billing FAQ’s

Please review the Sign up Tutorial prior to reviewing this FAQ.

  1. How/Where can I sign up?

    Signing up for BOSS API (Build Your Own Search Service) is quick and easy. Please visit the Yahoo Developer Network’s BOSS page and follow the instructions to get started.

  2. How/Where can I cancel?

    Only a developer that is signed up for BOSS API and has an attached payment instrument (Such as a Credit Card) can cancel their service. You can cancel the service by visiting the Y!DN BOSS Details Page. Click on “BOSS Setup” and you will reach the BOSS Project Page. Click on the “Stop Billing” option in the top right corner.

  3. How much does BOSS API cost?

    Please visit the Yahoo Developer Network’s BOSS API page to view the BOSS API Pricing and Payment terms.

  4. Am I entitled to a refund if I see a billing error?

    If you believe that you have been charged erroneously for your usage of BOSS API, please contact Yahoo Customer Service. Prior to contacting Customer Service, please check your exact usage from the Y!DN BOSS Details Page in the API Usage section to ensure that no erroneous charges have occurred.

    To contact customer service, please click on the BOSS Setup from your Y!DN BOSS Details Page. This will take you to the BOSS Project Page. You will see a link for Support on the top right corner. Please choose “Payment or Billing” as a choice in the drop down menu. Provide relevant information for your account and an agent will respond to you.

  5. How/When can I expect my refund if I’m authorized to receive one?

    A refund will be provided to you via your attached payment instrument. You should expect to receive it reflected within the first or second account statement after the refund is initiated.

  6. Can I cancel my service without deleting my entire account?

    You can go to the Y!DN Project page associated with their BOSS API project and disable the Application ID by clicking on the “Disable BOSS” link. This will cancel your BOSS API service but the account will still remain enabled. The account can be re-enabled on the same page by clicking on “Enable BOSS”.

  7. How do I delete my account?

    You can delete your BOSS API service by disabling the BOSS Application ID through Y!DN. Go to the Y!DN BOSS Details Page for your BOSS Project. On the top right corner you can click on the “Delete Project” button to delete your BOSS API Project. This will delete your BOSS API service permanently. To restart using BOSS API, a new Application ID will have to be created and enabled with BOSS API.

  8. How much free usage can I get?

    Every BOSS API developer can get a credit of 50 BOSS Units of usage from the service. The free usage is applied as a credit to your account up to a month after your sign up date.

  9. How can I change my credit card billing information?

    Click this link `How to edit credit card information <>`_ to get started.

Yahoo Search BOSS - Sponsored Search Advertising FAQ’s

  1. What kind of Advertising is available through the BOSS API?

    Yahoo Search BOSS API currently offers Sponsored Search Advertising from the shared marketplace of the Yahoo-Microsoft Search Alliance.

  2. Can I get the Sponsored Search Ads from my Server?

    Ads cannot be retrieved from the developer directly but instead through the end user’s browser. Calling for the Ads from a server will lead to detection and termination of the customer.

  3. Why do you use a token based system to retrieve Ads?

    Developers are required to obtain a token before every Ad call. This token is then used from the browser to obtain the actual Ads. This ensures that the Ads are shown to end users.

  4. How long does the token last?

    The token lasts for approximately 60 seconds. You are required to call for Ads within that time interval.

  5. Can I cache the Ads so that I don’t have to request them from Yahoo?

    No. You are not allowed to cache the Ads returned through BOSS. It will result in ads clicks not being counted correctly and hence lost revenue.

  6. Can I ask for Yahoo Ads in any market?

    Ads are served automatically and developers are not allowed to choose a specific market.

  7. What is the Partner ID? Where do I get it?

    We work alongside DDC to provide a contract for the advertising. The Partner ID is a alphanumeric string that is used to indicate your specific account in conjunction with your application ID. You can obtain the Partner ID from DDC.

  8. Why is my site is showing different Ads from those shown on Y! for same search?

    Sponsored Search Advertising can often be different from the same query on Yahoo Search. Ads can change based on individual end user behavior, Advertiser choices and other factors.

  9. Can I show Yahoo Search Ads against all BOSS API services?

    Yes. As long as there is a user facing application built on top of that service.

  10. Can I request for Ads by themselves?

    No. Ads can only be called alongside other services.

  11. Can I show Yahoo Search Ads on a page without BOSS API service results on it?

    No. We do not return Ads as a stand alone service. Showing Ads without a user facing search implementation is NOT allowed.

  12. Can I show Yahoo Ads on a mobile service?

    Yes, we encourage Mobile applications that show Yahoo Sponsored Search Advertising.

  13. How do I set the URL if I am developing on my local machine (

    Make sure to use your hosts file and set the appropriate production URL. The location of your hosts file is provided on Wikipedia.

  14. I get a 503 error when trying to generate a token even though web search calls work. What do I do?

    If your requests using the BOSS API do not generate a token response, please check the following:

    • Do you have a BOSS contract with DDC?

      You cannot get Ads by just signing up for BOSS API. Please refer to the step-by-step tutorial to sign up of BOSS Ads.

    • Make sure you are using the same APP ID that you provided to DDC. APP ID’s and Partner Tags are mapped to each other and are unique.

    • Try the sample PHP code provided forAds.

      If you can not use PHP, please sign up for a Yahoo Account and go to the BOSS API Yahoo Group and ask your question in the BOSS API community. If the BOSS API community cannot help you, please open a support ticket with us and we will investigate.