Richard Ball has a great write up concerning Google’s Adsense for Domains program and potential abuses. He is concerned that certain keywords being bid on through Adwords are producing garbage traffic.
A whopping 72% of clicks for a single exact match keyword originated from the searchportal.information.com domain. Investigating this domain, it turns out to be owned by a company called Oversee.net that owns DomainSponsor, a parked domain operation.
What Richard seems to miss is why the traffic is garbage. It’s because Information.com is one of the largest arbitrage 1.0 operations around. The reason it doesn’t convert is because Information.com bids on long tail search words for cheap and then send the clicks to ads targeted at the high paying general search terms. Terms which may be related, but are not actually what the user was searching for.
Richards offers up the following solutions:
What’s next? Is there anyone at Google who can solve this problem? Perhaps Shuman Ghosemajumder? Until Google stops this practice of distributing search engine ads to places other than actual search engines, I recommend that AdWords advertisers implement one of the following strategies:
1. Turn off the Search network entirely
2. Lower bids to stay out of the top 5
3. Split ads into 2 campaigns: Google only w/ normal bids + Search network w/ lower bids
4. Request Google block *.information.com + *.domainsponsor.com
I would personally recommend you just turn off the search network entirely. With the percentage of searchers coming from the Google.com domain, there is no real need to run ads on the search or content networks unless you have the extra money to burn. The reason MSN PPC traffic is the best converting on the web is because they do not partner out their network and Google provides you with the same service but you must opt in.