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Google puts the brakes on arbitrage

There is a pretty intense discussion happening at webmasterworld.com right now. Apparently some webmasters who were practicing arbitrage received notices from google that their accounts would be terminated effective June 1, 2007.

AdSense Disabling Arbitrage Accounts by June 1st – Part 2

Arbitrage is the practice of buying low priced ads (adwords etc), driving people to sites or pages, and trying to get them to click on higher priced ads. Publishers of content sites (Sites that have original content, not sites that are scraping content or are simply link farms) have been complaining that the MFA sites have been ruining the content network.

MFA sites (Made for adsense) are typically sites that:
* have no original content
* scrape content from other sites
* have mostly ads above the fold
* have no internal navigation forcing you to hit the back button or click on an ad to leave the site.
* Offer very little to the surfer other than a bunch of ads

Some of the issues are:
* Advertisers have been avoiding the content network in Adsense because of the quality of some of the sites. * Publishers are frustrated at seeing their content scraped to provide ‘content’ for MFAs
* Publishers are frustrated at seeing penny clicks. They are also tired of having to filter out the MFAs to prevent them from advertising on their sites.
* Having visitors to your site end up on an MFA tends to frustrate them and therefore (1) cause them to not revisit your site and (2) become leery of clicking on ads.

By the way, Arbitrage was big business. A lot of the publishers who received the banning notice reported making upwards of 10k US to 70kUS PER MONTH..

It will be interesting to see what happens in June. If Google is truly getting rid of the MFAs then publishers should start to see increased revenues if advertisers regain faith in the content network.

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