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This 86 message thread spans 3 pages: 86 ( [1] 2 3 > >     
Is there any reasons for the continued survival of MFA
MFAs still ubiquitous
jacov888




msg:3203466
 1:41 am on Dec 30, 2006 (gmt 0)

I have been thinking of how MFAs are dampening genuine industry earnings and the fraud that is probably linked directly or indirectly to it. It is not uncommon for an MFA agent to engage in other questionable activites or tactics. The question is why do they even exist? Why are they not disaappearing? What is sustaining them? Are they really profitable? and Why is G allowing them?

Anyone squeezing into an already established chain as a middle man when not needed is bound to complicate things for all. I see no reason why there should be a site that is in anyway involved in buying advertising to sell advertsing should have no reason to exist.

 

stumped




msg:3203468
 1:51 am on Dec 30, 2006 (gmt 0)

excuse my ignorance, what is MFA?

peterdaly




msg:3203472
 2:09 am on Dec 30, 2006 (gmt 0)

MFA = "Made For AdSense"

Generally this refers to a web site made purely to try and attract vistors and get them to click ads. The sites generally have very little "value" to visitors, and are essentially consider web spam.

stumped




msg:3203487
 2:58 am on Dec 30, 2006 (gmt 0)

OK that is what I am dealing with. Has anyone seen MFAs that use their sites unique content (truly unique) in the Google results ABSTRACT for MFAs. These results would have different titles and target URLs, are almost always supplemental and show your unique data in the two line abstract between the title and the target URL in the Google result.

Have you looked? If you have lost rank, I suggest you do.

Start with your page titles, and take a string from it that you know is most likely unique and put it in Google in quotes, then check the results.

See if MFAs show up, see if porn shows up, see if weird directories show up.

Also see if you don't show up. Because if your string is unique and in quotes you should be the only result.

Our competitor found he didn't show up but no SPAM pages did either but when I queried the same string from his page title he showed up but also an MFA, then we kept going and found more related to his site like on mine.

For more on this see my post "Hijacking Continued" which I will post shortly.

rbacal




msg:3203490
 3:03 am on Dec 30, 2006 (gmt 0)

Why are they not disaappearing? What is sustaining them? Are they really profitable? and Why is G allowing them?

Partial answers. First, a lot have disappeared in the areas I track. There's been a huge change, but perhaps it depends on sector. Many old mfa domains are certainly gone from adwords ads, with a few newer ones.

As to why google allows them? You have to understand that google does absolute minimal manual intervention, and has repeatedly stated it is interested in scalable solutions, whether it's in search engine results, or adsense.

That means it chooses, rightly or wrongly, to rely on computer algos, profiling, etc to apply and enforce its policies, and that has some negative implications. The first is that it often takes a long time to see positive changes -- and while improvement tends to be slow it also tends to be consistent. And, the second is that the process is always going to be imperfect, with some "evil doers" getting through, and some innocents getting wacked.

The thing that puzzles me is why they didn't use an initial manual review of sites at the adsense application stage, and use a higher bar. I think they are currently rejecting more sites now, but if they had done that from the beginning, it might have helped somewhat. But perhaps they recognized, again, that this would have involved way more manual intervention than they wanted.

farmboy




msg:3203491
 3:03 am on Dec 30, 2006 (gmt 0)

The question is why do they even exist? Why are they not disaappearing?

Because Google isn't serious about stopping them. Period.

FarmBoy

stumped




msg:3203494
 3:18 am on Dec 30, 2006 (gmt 0)

I think Google is greatly profiting from the MFAs. Here's how. The MFAs have targeted our niche market. So far it appears that at least 3 of the top competitors in our market, all of whom used to have good organic rankings have had their rankings damaged by the MFAs using unique content from their sites. SO the businesses run to Adwords to save whatever cash flow they can. Sure Google has to pay the MFAs but they are raking in lots of dough from the adwords campaigns and the MFAs are just getting a cut. Bottom line its very profitable for Google.

And really damaging for small businesses, driving up the cost of doing business into Googles pockets.

They should just have fixed advertising like TV and print media and perhaps have a policy that commercial websites only get ranking from paid ads. Perhaps have a "Support Small Business" section where only small business can compete and then leave the big guys to compete with each other in another section.

Aren't I naive...:)

rbacal




msg:3203508
 3:27 am on Dec 30, 2006 (gmt 0)

So far it appears that at least 3 of the top competitors in our market, all of whom used to have good organic rankings have had their rankings damaged by the MFAs using unique content from their sites.

You're confusing scrapper sites with MFA sites. They aren't the same thing, although a site may be both, one, or the other.

Aren't I naive...:)

Naa..Just... er, well, stumped?

martinibuster




msg:3203524
 3:59 am on Dec 30, 2006 (gmt 0)

>>>You're confusing scrapper sites with MFA sites.

It's called, scraper site, not scrapper. ;)

The number one reason for MFA/Scrapers to still be around is they must be converting. If they weren't converting they'd be smartpriced into non-existence. In other words, if they're proliferating it's because they're viable. If they are converting then it's good for the merchant.

Conversions is generally what PPC advertising is all about, and what Google focuses on delivering. Obviously, if Google isn't shutting them down then they are legitimate members of the AdSense community. Get used to it. I repeat: Get used to it, they are legitimate members of the AdSense community.

So your answer is yes, there are very good reasons for scrapers to exist: They convert.

europeforvisitors




msg:3203528
 4:10 am on Dec 30, 2006 (gmt 0)

The number one reason for MFA/Scrapers to still be around is they must be converting. If they weren't converting they'd be smartpriced into non-existence.

Not necessarily. As long as scrapers' costs are minimal and click arbitrageurs are bringing in more than they spend, they can try to make up in volume what they lack in earnings per click. As with e-mail spam, bigger margins would be nice but aren't essential. (Still, there may be some attrition over time if scrapers and MFAs see their revenue streams shrinking to a trickle.)

BTW, I disagree with Stumped's suggestion that Google tolerates MFA because they're so profitable. There's obviously value to Google in having cheap ads as an alternative to PSAs, but if users get fed up with clicking on ads that lead to ad pages (or with scraper pages that are obviously worthless), advertisers will be discouraged from using the content network, which isn't good for Google (just as it isn't good for publishers). I think we'll see greater attrition among scrapers and other MFAs over time, but that won't occur as a result of Google employees playing Whack-a-Mole with lowlife publishers--it'll be the result of quality scores or other automated solutions.

[edited by: europeforvisitors at 4:16 am (utc) on Dec. 30, 2006]

incrediBILL




msg:3203530
 4:12 am on Dec 30, 2006 (gmt 0)

You forgot one other possibility, the MFA is in a country with really low currency value and even being smart priced into oblivion keeps the lights on thanks to the exchange rate.

[edited by: incrediBILL at 4:13 am (utc) on Dec. 30, 2006]

martinibuster




msg:3203535
 4:20 am on Dec 30, 2006 (gmt 0)

They convert, so they are good for the merchant. It wouldn't surprise me if those sites convert at a higher rate than the average so-called "legitimate" site.

rbacal




msg:3203542
 4:35 am on Dec 30, 2006 (gmt 0)

The number one reason for MFA/Scrapers to still be around is they must be converting. If they weren't converting they'd be smartpriced into non-existence. In other words, if they're proliferating it's because they're viable. If they are converting then it's good for the merchant.

Conversions is generally what PPC advertising is all about, and what Google focuses on delivering. Obviously, if Google isn't shutting them down then they are legitimate members of the AdSense community. Get used to it. I repeat: Get used to it, they are legitimate members of the AdSense community.

Uh, no. You are assuming that google uses direct measures of "conversions", and they don't. Using direct conversion data for each site/page is impossible. Google profiles sites determining what KINDS of sites/pages are LIKELY to convert, then algorithmically alters minimum bids. We don't know what variables they use, but if they use their rather sparse site conversion data at all, it's only one variable in the process.

So, the algo makes errors -- it "guesses" on conversions.

So it still comes down to the algo's guesses on conversions, and NOT the actual conversion rates.

As the algos are improved, a fairly constant process that occurs over YEARS, the number of MFA's drops (we're about somewhere in the early middle of the voyage now). They probably will never be "perfect", and so we'll always have some MFA's.

Whether we are talking about the effects of QS on adwords side, or smartpricing on the adsense side, it's the same issues and processes involved.

stumped




msg:3203549
 5:07 am on Dec 30, 2006 (gmt 0)

Conversions is generally what PPC advertising is all about, and what Google focuses on delivering. Obviously, if Google isn't shutting them down then they are legitimate members of the AdSense community. Get used to it. I repeat: Get used to it, they are legitimate members of the AdSense community.

No I think they are unethical/illegitimate but no one has complained loudly enough yet. And Google has no motivation to remove them on its own because they are making money for them. Not necessarily directly, but indirectly.I am talking about sites that are combo scrapers/MFAs.

The way they are making money for Google is by driving sites to use adwords that previously didn't or only did in a limited way but now rely totally on adwords for their traffic.

The scraper/MFA site only makes a very small amount of revenue and gets enough clicks that Google nets a small profit (Click revenue minus adsense payout). But there are hundreds of these sites so the scraper is making little bits of money multiplied times hundreds of sites.

Google makes big money from the victim sites that have lost their ranking and run to adwords putting all their $ resources into their adwords budget to stay alive.

And yes, one person I talked to is doing adwords even though he is losing money doing it because he doesn't know what else to do.

Have you been hit?

In the course of my investigating what has happened to our sites I have spoken extensively with someone who spent 2 years tracking an internet fraudster who scammed 25 million out of unsuspecting internet businesses. He was able to boot this operation off of the web but even though law enforcement was involved the ring leader was in another country and couldn't be touched. This was an internet advertising fraud scam. This individual suggested based on the evidence I have been compiling that it is quite possible that the perpetrators are an organized crime ring based in another country.

incrediBILL




msg:3203595
 7:12 am on Dec 30, 2006 (gmt 0)

This individual suggested based on the evidence I have been compiling that it is quite possible that the perpetrators are an organized crime ring based in another country.

I could be glib and feign to be shocked at your revelation, but internet crime is a big underground business and I've been under attack by some of these people using my content for AdSense spam, porn spam, and more.

Some I've knocked offline, some just delisted from SE's due to cloaking, but it's a real problem and they have huge resources.

Go read what happened to Blue Frog, then be afraid, very afraid, because they can knock you offline for days.

Enjoy.

martinibuster




msg:3203614
 7:56 am on Dec 30, 2006 (gmt 0)

You are assuming that google uses direct measures of "conversions"...

I'm not assuming anything. I'm an AdWords advertiser, I know how the system works.

No I think they are unethical/illegitimate...

No offense intended, but your opinion of what is unethical or illegitimate has no bearing on the fact of this matter. What matters is what Google knows about it. You aren't by any chance presuming to know more about the AdSense program that they do?

but no one has complained loudly enough yet.

Oh, you know that as a fact? Are you implying that people have to complain before Google, with their terabytes of data, realizes there is a massive industry wide problem under their noses?

Have you considered that what you perceive as a problem is in fact not a problem, and that's why it's still around?

Have you considered that Google has terabytes of data that you do not and are in a better position to decide what is or is not a legitimate member of the AdSense program?

I feel safe in saying they know things you do not, and their decisions are based on that information. I'm sorry if this sounds like I'm being a knee-jerk defender, but anyone who knows me knows that I have never been shy to criticize Google.

In this particular topic, they have far more data than you, and if you know anything about Google, you will know it's safe to assume they are making business decisions off it. The fact that these sites are still around speaks to their viability as business partners.

So the answer to your question as to whether there are reasons for their continued survival, the obvious answer, if you dare look at it objectively, is resoundingly yes, and I've listed some of them. The fact that they are in the program speaks volumes about how Google feels about their importance as business partners.

stumped




msg:3203645
 9:50 am on Dec 30, 2006 (gmt 0)

The fact that these sites are still around speaks to their viability as business partners.

Yes if one is willing to partner with criminals which apparently Google is.

By the way the criminals I am dealing with are all hanging out in the supplemental index.

So Google's solution seems to be punish the criminal and the victim at the same time by putting them in the same jail.

stumped




msg:3203646
 9:53 am on Dec 30, 2006 (gmt 0)

No offense intended, but your opinion of what is unethical or illegitimate has no bearing on the fact of this matter. What matters is what Google knows about it. You aren't by any chance presuming to know more about the AdSense program that they do?

You miss my point. I am assuming they know all about it. Probably way more than any of us and they also have the means to quantify it globally which we do not.

John Carpenter




msg:3203653
 10:11 am on Dec 30, 2006 (gmt 0)

As europeforvisitors mentioned, Google should not be concerned only with advertisers' conversions, but also (and above all) with overall visitors' experience and satisfaction.

If I say long-term sustainability vs. short/mid-term increased profits, it might be difficult to follow.
But, it's actually not that difficult. If people get used to AdWords ads leading to weird places full of other ads and no meaningful content (add any other common attributes of MFAs), they will eventually stop clicking the ads. Who will care about conversions then? Nobody.

stumped




msg:3203654
 10:19 am on Dec 30, 2006 (gmt 0)

If people get used to AdWords ads leading to weird places full of other ads and no meaningful content (add any other common attributes of MFAs), they will eventually stop clicking the ads.

IMO that is not what is happening. What is happening is the organic listings are getting less meaningful so eventually people will start only clicking on the ads. All the ads I see in the SPAMpages related to our site and to our competitors sites are legit and lead to legit sites, the ones that used to be in the organic listings.

DamonHD




msg:3203709
 2:22 pm on Dec 30, 2006 (gmt 0)

Hi MB,

I understand that disagreeing with a mod risks me being thrown out of WW or this post or thread being zapped, but I have to point out that your assertions and opinions are JUST and ONLY that too. Unless the CxOs of Google have told you something that you're not letting on, then you are supposing with the rest of us, don't kid yourself otherwise.

I agree with many of your suppositions but disagree with you on your apparently skewed ethics. I think the MFAs and scrappers (not the genuine arbs who ad value for the user and the merchant) are CONMEN and should be squeezed out. They harm G's reputation and the publishers' reputations, and they waste users' time and advertisers' money. G should work harder and faster to expunge them IMHO.

You and I may disagree, but you can't claim access to better *facts* then me just like that.

Rgds

Damon

[edited by: DamonHD at 2:25 pm (utc) on Dec. 30, 2006]

europeforvisitors




msg:3203742
 3:34 pm on Dec 30, 2006 (gmt 0)

...Google should not be concerned only with advertisers' conversions, but also (and above all) with overall visitors' experience and satisfaction.

It took a while, but Google introduced landing-page quality scores on the AdWords side precisely for that reason. Advertisers with low quality scores got hit with high minimum bids (e.g., $10 per click), which effectively froze them out of the ad listings in Google's SERPs.

The stated purpose of the landing-page quality scores was to ensure user satisfaction with Google Search, but in the long run, user satisfaction with "Ads by Goo[ooo]gle" will need to be taken into account, too.

farmboy




msg:3203745
 3:41 pm on Dec 30, 2006 (gmt 0)

Obviously, if Google isn't shutting them down then they are legitimate members of the AdSense community. Get used to it. I repeat: Get used to it, they are legitimate members of the AdSense community.

and later

The fact that they are in the program speaks volumes about how Google feels about their importance as business partners.

Is there anyone on this forum who agrees with the above and would start your own MFA sites without concern for losing your AdSense account?

FarmBoy

farmboy




msg:3203746
 3:45 pm on Dec 30, 2006 (gmt 0)

I have a Google alert set up for a specific phrase that is of interest. Lately, I've been receiving alerts that appear to be relevant blog posts on the topic, but when I get to the blog, I find there is simply a lot of nonsense text filled with the keyword phrase - and of course AdSense ads.

In this case, the MFA doesn't even have to purchase traffic from AdWords. They just put up nonsense and Google promotes it for free through Google alerts.

FarmBoy

martinibuster




msg:3203810
 5:46 pm on Dec 30, 2006 (gmt 0)

>>>you can't claim access to better *facts* then me just like that.

Actually, I can make that claim. :) And so can jenstar, brett, and any number of people. I make it my business to be connected and have access.

As far as the AdSense business partners being in supplemental or being wiped out in Google Search, it's well known by many that those are completely different departments. What's good for one doesn't mean it's good for the other.

And please don't make cracks about my ethics. This has NOTHING to do with my ethics. I'm only making logical and non-hysterical observations. I'm trying to inject some reason into this discussion.

1: It's obvious the OP does not have access to full facts
2: It's obvious Google has access to tremendous information
3: The OP cannot reasonably cling to the idea that he knows something Google does not.
4: Since Google AdSense knows about scrapers and allow them into the program, AND the AdSense program knows more than you do about conversions etc., then it follows AdSense is accepting them as legitimate business partners. What else to explain their continued survival?

It's like looking at the stars, moon, and sun, and deducting that the earth must be round and that we orbit the sun. I'm only making logical observations, passionless and objective observations.

No need to start making accusations about my ethics. That's getting medieval. What next, going to call me a witch, I mean scraper? ;)

I don't understand why few posters are addressing the original topic: What explains their continued survival? I gave you mine. ;)

[edited by: martinibuster at 5:59 pm (utc) on Dec. 30, 2006]

europeforvisitors




msg:3203824
 5:54 pm on Dec 30, 2006 (gmt 0)

Actually, I can make that claim. :) And so can jenstar, brett, and any number of people. I make it my business to be connected and have access.

I'm not going to question your connections (I'm sure they're a lot better than mine), but it's worth noting that there are different people with different agendas at every level of any organization. The people who make strategic decisions (such as the introduction of AdWords landing-page quality scores on the AdWords side) aren't the same people who work directly with advertisers, and it's reasonable to assume that a similar separation between high-level decisionmakers and operations people exists on the AdSense side.

I doubt if anybody at Webmaster World--owner, moderator, or member--has access to strategic discussions about the future of AdSense in Google's executive suites (or Lego dens or whatever might pass for executive suites at the Googleplex).

rbacal




msg:3203825
 5:55 pm on Dec 30, 2006 (gmt 0)

4: Since Google AdSense knows about scrapers and allow them into the program, AND the AdSense program knows more than you do about conversions etc., then it follows AdSense is accepting them as legitimate business partners.

No. That's a conclusion on your part -- an inference based on assumption. I tried to explain why things are imperfect, even though google may want to do a certain thing, like eliminate serp spam, eliminate MFA's, etc.

You simply can't infer google's "position" simply based on the fact that bad sites exist in serps, adwords or adsense.

To me, both you and the OP are making the same kinds of error filled assumptions and conclusions -- the same logical error.

DamonHD




msg:3203828
 6:00 pm on Dec 30, 2006 (gmt 0)

Hi EFV,

I think that we can all have confidence, that the CxO types have plenty of coloured expanded plastic shapes to play with in their suites!

I also have "connections" at G, but I don't expect a small number of points of contact to give me X-ray vision through all of G's internal divisions better than their own staff, and nor would I try. And I don't have any conflict of interest in my business that would motivate me to try, and try to use such contacts might even create such conflicts! B^>

Rgds

Damon

martinibuster




msg:3203831
 6:05 pm on Dec 30, 2006 (gmt 0)

Hey DamonHD and rbacal,
Let's get back on topic: What are the reasons for the continued survival of MFAs?

The OP seems to be of the opinion there aren't any. But the fact they're proliferating shows there are some reasons.

And I don't have any conflict of interest in my business that would motivate me to try...

Did I say you did? Or are you trying to imply I do? It's a shame if you are trying to make that implication. We are here to discuss issues. If you can't reasonably discuss an issue without resorting to innuendos and name calling, then you may want to consider the TOS.

So back to the question: What explains their ubiquity in the AdSense program?

If AdSense isn't whacking them, what is the explanation?

rbacal




msg:3203836
 6:17 pm on Dec 30, 2006 (gmt 0)

So back to the question: What explains their ubiquity in the AdSense program?

If AdSense isn't whacking them, what is the explanation?

They are whacking them. See my earlier message, and here's a quote from it.

As the algos are improved, a fairly constant process that occurs over YEARS, the number of MFA's drops (we're about somewhere in the early middle of the voyage now). They probably will never be "perfect", and so we'll always have some MFA's.

Whether we are talking about the effects of QS on adwords side, or smartpricing on the adsense side, it's the same issues and processes involved.

Is this somehow unclear? Do I need to explain it further?

This 86 message thread spans 3 pages: 86 ( [1] 2 3 > >
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