I just finished writing my latest column for Revenue magazine. In the article I mention “when Google finally gets serious about producing relevant search results and dumps the no-content Adsense and YPN arbitragers outright, advertising costs for real affiliates (and merchants) should decrease substantially“.
Well, if you've been staying abreast Google's landing page quality guidelines – which some refer to as a ‘Google Slap' – you're aware that according to a September 18th Inside Adwords post, another set of changes was made one week ago that promises to penalize arbitrage sites ‘that are designed for the sole purpose of showing ads'.
So, why did I say ‘when Google finally gets serious‘ about dumping the arbitragers? Well, in the same post they go on to say…
If we receive user complaints about ads for the types of websites listed above, the advertisers of those websites may not be allowed to continue running AdWords ads for those websites.
Which explains why 6 out of 8 Adwords I clicked while doing research for my article still ended up on garbage arbitrage sites. Google won't get rid of them – their visitors are expected to report the useless sites and help Google clean up its own act.
Sheesh – I suspect that the amount arbitragers spend on Adwords is so good that it's worth it to Google to keep wasting their visitors' valuable time for as long as they can.
That's a huge issue, but a bigger issue is that these bad actors cause ad prices to be ridiculously and unecessarily high, sometimes pushing real content-publishing affiliates out of the PPC game.
If you're affected as either a visitor or an affiliate, start making a list of arbitragers that show up under your chosen terms and start reporting them to Google. Let's free up some space and make the ‘net a better place.
BTW, more than just arbitrage sites are being targeted. Visit the Inside Adwords blog to learn more.
Google is a behemoth with more content publishers in its network than I can guess at, so it will take a while to see the effects of their efforts, especially considering these things have to be hand checked.
But I hang out at several webmaster forums, and I’ve seen a lot of whining by people who have had their accounts terminated by Google (for arbitrage/MFA sites). So, Google is definitely doing something. 🙂
In the meantime, advertisers have the option to turn off the displaying on their ads on content networks.
Rosalind Gardner says
The new examples are more indicative of the type of arbitrage site that should be dropped as Adwords advertisers.
I dropped the direction portion of the URL in my initial example http://www.gottchaonline.com whereas it should have gone to http://www.gottchaonline.com/gottcha.php?keyword=furniture_teak.
The link listed ended up going to a page that had a tiny – very tiny – amount of ‘content’… if a collection of words constitutes ‘content’.
However, those who looked closely at the ‘content’ on the homepage beside Finance saw the line ‘In this day and age there is more than one financial service right for you’. In the next paragraph, beside Insurance is ‘In this day and age there is more than one insurance company right for you.’ The remainder of both paragraphs is exactly the same.
I don’t consider that content. The people at Google don’t consider that content. It’s not instructive or helpful. It’s a waste of time for searchers, and a big waste of money for advertisers that put their ads out on the content network.
The sites that show up on the arbitragers sites are usually also listed in the Sponsored Listings and would be found more easily without the arbitrage sites being allowed to display on Adwords. Moreover, it would eliminate those second and third time and money-wasting clicks.
The primary reason that I ask that my visitors not click the links on the arbitrage sites is because doing so costs the advertisers money. So, unless you were looking for those products specifically, that’s a completely unnecessary expense to that advertiser… and completely unwarranted benefit to the arbitrager.
(I‘m not an affiliate marketer therefore I had to look up “Arbitrage” to check my understanding of it in this context).
A good arbitrage site could be like a directory and yes there are bad ones out there but the site in question I personally find OK.
By design, Adwords advertisements are scant on detail, so a consumer would be very lucky to find what they wanted (precisely) on their very first search.
Maybe it because I’m not an Internet marketer, I’m just a consumer who’s happy surfing the web – if it can be purchased online – I’ll do it, anything to save wasting time in town.
Without wishing to get on the wrong side of you, it seems to me that you’re off on yet another rant
Why as a surfer and potential customer shouldn’t I be using a site like this?
I thought you marketers were supposed to get inside my head and figure out what it is that will make my life easier. If that’s the case, then I’m sorry but you’re failing.
I genuinely don’t understand your problem and advising people not to click on it is just plain wrong. I’m not prepared to police the web on a whim of anyone’s.
Ros, can I prevail upon you to post a link to where on Google it would be easiest for us to report such arbitragers?
Also, regarding the example arbitrager site in post #3 above, would we be able to automatically notify Google by clicking on the ads A LOT?! I heard somewhere (hmmm, I think a Joel Comm email from way back when) that if a visitor over-clicks AdSense ads, it can send up a red flag to Google and they’ll have a closer look at the website.
Rosalind Gardner says
I’m referring to those sites that advertise on Adwords or Yahoo! and when you visit them you see nothing but ads … delivered by either Google, Yahoo or other ppc engine.
http://furnitureteak.biz/ and http://ga.eteakoutdoorfurniture.com are examples of arbitrage site that came up as the 2nd and 4th Sponsored Listing on Google Adwords on a search for ‘teak furniture’, and which show nothing but ads.
If you visit the sites, please DON’T click the ads… we don’t want him or her to profit from a site that just wastes people’s time.
interesting 😉 Am I right to assume you’re not referring to adsense sites in general, just those that use adwords as a way of getting their traffic?
Ros, I agree that most arbitrage sites are basically junk. But something I don’t agree with (or maybe just don’t understand your reasoning) is that they “cause ad prices to be ridiculously and unecessarily high.” I don’t think an arbitrager is going to make any money unless they are buying their keywords at rock bottom prices. They then profit by getting enough adsense clicks to make up for what they pay on PPC. If they are paying too much for PPC, then they lose money. So I don’t see anyone buying 5 cent clicks as driving up prices for anyone else. Arbitrage is about buying low and selling a little bit higher. But there has to be quite a range to make up for the fact that not everyone who goes to an arbitrage site is going to click on any ads.
The people I think it hurts are people displaying adsense on their sites who get these low-paying ads rather than ads paying a decent amount for the space they take up. But even then, low-cost ads will be at the bottom of the ad block. It’s not too hard to use a smaller ad block to weed out those ads. Or add the URL’s to the ones you block.
But perhaps I’m misunderstanding your point, and you could explain it a little more fully.