It looks like someone over at the Googleplex has changed their mind about arbitrage as a business model. JenSense is reporting that Google Adsense is disabling accounts of people producing made for Adsense (MFA) and arbitrage sites.
Numerous AdSense publishers have been receiving emails from Google the past couple of days stating that their use of their AdSense account is an unsuitable business model and that accounts would be disabled as of June 1st, giving publishers about two weeks notice to prepare for the loss of the AdSense accounts… and since it seems that arbitrage publishers are the ones receiving this account disabled email, to give those publisher enough time to shut down accounts or use an alternative source for their outgoing traffic.
There is a WebmasterWorld thread discussing the issue where people who received the email admit running MFA and arbitrage sites. One person mentions making $70,000 a month so Google is not just targeting the little guy.
This move is long overdue. The quality of the traffic coming from the Adwords content network has been terrible for years. There is not a single campaign any of my clients run on the content network where they are willing to bid more than the minimum bid. I’m sure by doing this, Google is hoping to restore confidence on both the advertisers end and the end user.
While applauding Google, I do have a few questions for them.
Arbitrage sites are easy to identify but what defines a MFA site? There are many sites on the web that only survive due to adsense. Some webmasters who got shut down are reporting only using unique content for their sites. Is a 100 page unique content site running adsense an MFA site or not? Hopefully Google is being picky about who they are shutting down.
What about Adwords? There are tons of arbitragers bidding for terms in Adwords and arbitraging in ways other than Adsense. Will these be the next targets? Will Google actually turn away money?
What about Google premium search partners who arbitrage? This is the big stinker to me. There are a number of premium search partners who arbitrage. They are run as part of the Google extended search network instead of through Adsense so you can’t turn them off without also turning off quality partners and you can’t lower your bids for them. Google’s own domain program is built for arbitrage. I say what is good for the goose is good for the Google.
It will be interesting to see how all this shakes out. Will the Adsense network improve because of this move? Is this just the beginning of a bigger clean up of the entire Google advertising system?