Posted May 19, 2007 1:56 pm by with 15 comments

Tweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on Google+Share on FacebookBuffer this page

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?

  • I_Like

    B#stards 😀

  • After hunting around marketingpilgram for what exactly is adsense arbitrage (by the way, nice article on defining it a while back) I can say this will be very interesting to see how it all shakes out.

    I’ve noticed those sites regarded as arbitrage sites and wondered how Google kept them going. Like the ones that call themselves top 10 sites, having google ads on top of 5 or 6 “unique” answers, then they promote those sites using adwords. I thought it was an interesting business model but definitely not one that Google would agree with. Seems like they’re coming around to the same conclusions.

  • I consider this to be a good thing. How will this affect click fraud numbers and AdWords bidding?

    I spent a long time building up the competitive ad filter on my AdSense account to block out the MFA sites that were bidding nickels for my traffic and then getting dollars from that same traffic on their site.

  • BCL

    This has to be good for google and publishers. We stopped displaying adsense long ago because the MFA and parked-domain sites were driving the quality and value of advertisers down.

    Will Yahoo to do the same and clean up its network now?

  • Pingback: AdSense disabling accounts » Zhongg Internet Digest()

  • BCL and HMTK-

    I never looked at that positive side of it. I looked at it more from a view on web pages. I’m also a publisher of many blogs and have found it quite annoying how low some of my click costs have gone down.

    Never attributed to MFA sites. It will be interesting to see how it shakes out to say the least. You have to imagine that not only does google want to remain “good” but they also want to increase profits. They’re, after all, a publicly traded company. If they think this will increase profits, I’m definitely on board.

    Good points you two.


  • Pingback: Google AdSense bans Arbitrage and MFA sites()

  • Car

    The email communications sent to adsense users say nothing about MFA or Arbitrage. The emails do say they do not fit Google’s business model.

    Now, there are many sites that do arbitrage that are unaffected. Shoemoney did a video post that suggested it is not MFA that will get you banned but poor converting sites.

    Could it be that poorly converting sites do not fit Google’s business model?

    Many or most MFA or arbitrage sites do not convert. Many of the MFA sites use Google ads that are designed to get as many clicks as possible—regardless of the mood or intention of the buyer. They use text like, top information source, etc. in order to encourage clicks.

    In addition, a few friends on the message boards run MySpace sites that are not arbitrage and get most of their traffic organically. They received the same e-mail of not fitting the business model and will have their Adsense account terminated June 1.

    I think in this case a correlation is not causation.

  • Retailers should applaud this move. It will cost Google revenue in the short term, but will improve the quality of results and will help retailers feel more comfortable advertising in that space. Most importantly, it will help drive down PPC costs to more appropriate levels. Currently, they are far too high across the board.

  • Pingback: Sta Google ponendo fine all’arbitraggio sull’AdSense? | Stalkk.ed()

  • I was one of the small publishers hit. I don’t generate a lot of traffic or clicks on the 3 personal sites I have the ads on yet my ads are gone. The most I’ve ever made on Google Ads in a month is about $100 on the 3 sites combined, so it seems that this is a wide sweeping change.

    I too have unique content (all sites are blogs) that are updated on an almost daily basis.

    I’ve appealed but I doubt I’ll get anywhere with that.

  • Pingback: Google proposes ad-like auction for U.S. spectrum :

  • I like this new rule. Cos I do ppc campaigns to sell my products.. hope my bid will be lower now… 🙂

  • Pingback: Google Hammers AdSense Arbitrage Sites - Internet Insider Report()

  • Pingback: Google Adsense Bans “make for adsense” site()