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|AdSense Disabling Arbitrage Accounts by June 1st - Part 2|
Thread continued from: [webmasterworld.com...]
There seem to be several very solid, important topics that need exploring. Perhaps one of the moderators would like to establish a new thread for the purpose, but it can also be explored as a continuation this one.
Either way, it's starting to look like this isn't a mirage -- something real and important has happened, and thus it would be worthwhile to understand what's going on.
Here are some thoughts on the potential focus of a new thread, or future discussions in this thread.
Topic 1. What is the true scope of this change?
At the narrow end of the spectrum, perhaps Google is targeting a very narrowly defined business plan or a very specific type of arbitrage site -- with little or no real content, using Adwords to obtain traffic and using Adsense to generate revenue.
At wide end of the specturm, this might be an early sign that Google is going to stamp out any business plan that adversely affects public perceptions of its Adwords and Adsense brands.
To enhance and protect its Adsense brand, Google could stop running Adsense on scraper sites, little-to-no-content sites, sites with mostly nonsense text, etc.
To enhance and protect its Adwords brand, Google block these types of sites from running Adwords campaigns, even if they generate their revenues using affiliate programs, display ads, YPN, etc.
Topic 2: What will be the indirect effect of this change on other publishers and advertisers -- those who are not being kicked out of Adsense?
Topic 3: How should webmasters adjust their strategies and business plans, in response to the change and in anticipation of the indirect effects of the change?
There's been some discussion and speculation about all 3 of these topics already, but a more in-depth, thoughtful analysis could be developed if we pool our collective knowledge and insights.
Of course, these 3 topics are related, since future effects and future strategies will depend on what's really going on -- the true scope of this change.
look at the adwords threads on webmaster world, people tend to learn that lesson the hard way. I know we did. We have quite a few businesses and spend a lot on adwords. We opt out of every content network in every campaign. I know that there are good sites out there who would love to make some money from us sending good traffic. Right now the only way we advertise is pay per action. Come June 1st, we are going to give the content side a spin again and see what happens. If it works out, we will continue. If we get crap traffic again, we will turn it off again until google does another round of housecleaning.
I have to dis agree with you, many small businesses pay very close attention to where their dollars go. If they see a waste in money, they just totally opt out.
I'm assuming that if we were to look at a list of arbitrage sites that have been banned and a list of those that hadn't then the difference in quality would be striking in terms of content quality and uniqueness, support pages, user value and features etc. I'm not sure there is any way we can do that though?
Google Under Scrutiny: (from Drudgereport today)
The New York Times today has a piece saying that The Federal Trade Commission has opened a preliminary antitrust investigation into Google’s planned $3.1 billion purchase of the online advertising company DoubleClick.
New York Times piece [nytimes.com]
I do not know if The Federal Trade Commission reads this forum (they probably don't, but then again maybe). For sure this thread has shown that webmasters need alternatives to Google AdSense.
When webmasters are scared, worried and loosing sleep - then perhaps Google has become to powerful.
|For the record, my earnings have gone up since the announcement after being stagnant for a few months. |
I have experienced a very noticeable increase in earnings during the past week or so, although the page views remains the same. That tells me that higher paying ads are now making it onto my website.
Me too ..
|I have experienced a very noticeable increase in earnings during the past week or so, although the page views remains the same. That tells me that higher paying ads are now making it onto my website. |
Up and steady.
I wish wellwell would stop using the generic "webmasters" when he says we/they are losing sleep.
I am enjoying looking at my adsense stats for a change.
|I have to dis agree with you, many small businesses pay very close attention to where their dollars go. If they see a waste in money, they just totally opt out. |
Believe me, a lot don't. That's why they end up coming to me (and other GAPs). And that's just the small percentage who can afford us. I talk to even more who can't.
>webmasters are scared, worried and loosing sleep
Nice image, checking earnings is affecting my sleep, who do I talk to in the FTC?
The people who can not afford the service just end up opting out totally in the long run. I see what you are saying.
That fact right there hurts google in the long run though.
Well, my AS earnings aren't up: they're down a little as I would expect around now when my potential audience (or a large chunk of it) discovers sunshine and amusements away from their keyboards (SHAME ON YOU ALL)! P^O
And I diverted a few more percent of my ad impressions to non-G networks with a small twinge of paranoia, since I now personally know two bona-fide webmasters that have had their AS a/cs pulled...
|The June 1. crackdown is thus another side of the failure of the AdSense algorithm based Smartpricing approach. |
Not really. Smart Pricing adjusts the net price per click to what Google thinks that click is actually worth to the advertiser. Smart Pricing is a valuable tool for use with legitimate sites, but it isn't (and shouldn't be expected to be) a substitute for filtering or eliminating sites that are worthless to advertisers.
|Smart Pricing is a valuable tool for use with legitimate sites, but it isn't (and shouldn't be expected to be) a substitute for filtering or eliminating sites that are worthless to advertisers. |
I agree, and would go one step further. Smart Pricing is a valuable tool for use with legitimate sites, but it isn't (and shouldn't be expected to be) an adequate substitute for filtering or eliminating sites that are of generally trashy, thereby associating the Google brands with trash (absent a filtering program).
|When webmasters are scared, worried and loosing sleep - then perhaps Google has become to powerful. |
It seems to me the only ones spreading FUD and attacking Google over this have few posts in their newly created account. So yeah, I wouldn't use the generic word "webmasters", "MFA sites owners" would be a better term.
"When MFA sites owners are scared, worried and loosing sleep - then perhaps Google is cleaning up its act."
In the Oct 2006 Time interview with Eric Schmidt, I thought this was interesting quote...
"Another example of a question that we are debating right now is: we have this amazing product called AdSense for content, where we're monetizing the Web. If you're a publisher we run our ads against your content. It's phenomenal. How do we make that product produce better content, not just lots of content? An interesting question."
As an advertiser what does "smartpricing" mean to me? Do not just look at "smartpricing" from a publisher aspect. What would it mean to you if you were an advertiser?
Good question Trinorthlighting. Smart pricing on the Adsense side, should mean cheaper prices on the Adwords side when opted into the content network. From what I can tell I've been able to see this (amazing cheap prices on the content network especially when accepting global traffic) Don't mistake this for high quality Google search traffic, however it can be very advantageous if you're trying to build a global brand. I think when you're building an Adwords campaign at the bottom where you select (or unselect) Google search, Search network, and Content network it should look like this:
Google search = $$$ = Best
Search network = $$ = Better
Content network = $ = Good
But lo, this is not the thread for that conversation.
Google is cleaning house in preparation for Adwords content network transparency which I'm going to welcome with open arms, and is part of a more general push to raise the quality of the content network. Doing it at a time to least effect its stock prices, and in a way as to not offend the offending parties. It's still business as usual for the salt of the content network. Prepare ye, prepare ye for the day that online performance based advertising crushes the head of the PPC beast (at least for the average small business owner)
This is also coming well in advance, in preparation for the holiday shopping season.
I know, I had to completely pull Adsense off all of my holiday pages, there just wasn't enough time in the day to spend the entire day (and night) putting sites on the filter. And it was plain that what would appear to replace was the same deceptive crud as what had just been put on the filter - same design, same Adwords account, just different .info names.
|I wouldn't use the generic word "webmasters", "MFA sites owners" would be a better term. |
[edited by: Scurramunga at 7:46 am (utc) on May 30, 2007]
|When webmasters are scared, worried and loosing sleep - then perhaps Google has become to powerful. |
I for one am sleeping better this week upon hearing the June 1st News. My sleep became even that much better after Google sent me that rather extensive questionaire.
Here's an interesting thread from the AdWords Forum:
It's about a change in the AdWords quality score for "CPA arbitrage affiliates with insufficient content," so it's only tangentially related to what we've been talking about here, but it does suggest that "thin content" sites are being culled on both the AdSense and AdWords sides of the aisle.
I think the only people running scared are the ones who know they've been earning a slightly less than honest dollar. Personally, I'm thrilled that Google are taking the advertisers and genuine publishers views seriously. My earnings have been up since the announcement, and we're heading for our second highest month ever. Bring on June 1st. Actually, bring on July 1st too, as not only will I have been paid for June, but it will be the UK smoking ban ;)
|it does suggest that "thin content" sites are being culled on both the AdSense and AdWords sides of the aisle. |
If that is so, does anyone think theres a real possibility that content scraping will rise dramtically? Webmasters with "thin content" sites aren't just going to pack it in.
|If that is so, does anyone think theres a real possibility that content scraping will rise dramtically? Webmasters with "thin content" sites aren't just going to pack it in. |
Could be, and then we'll see a lot more teeth-gnashing in the Google News forum by scrapers who wonder why their high-quality directory sites can't get anywhere in the SERPs. :-)
---does anyone think theres a real possibility that content scraping will rise dramtically? ----
IT IS Already on the RISE
EV1 got a new IP Range since the merger.
Schlunds Folk are back.
I see a lot more "squid" proxies are popping up
Folk from India are looking to exchange links like never before
What I did see that impressed me was an AUP of one hosting company that said something like "we will disable your account for scraping"
Now if we could just get RR in US to be more Proactive on Abuse issues...
[edited by: blend27 at 3:35 pm (utc) on May 30, 2007]
|Could be, and then we'll see a lot more teeth-gnashing in the Google News forum by scrapers who wonder why their high-quality directory sites can't get anywhere in the SERPs. :-) |
Maybe so, but If you leave a lot of open containers of food all around your house, and then you get mice everywhere; who’s fault is that? In a way, you can’t really blame the mouse now can you. That’s been the core of a lot of the problem in my mind. Google created Adsense, and it was inevitable that all kinds of entities would come along and feed off it. It literally takes a few minutes to put Adsense on your site and begin producing revenue. A technological wonder for sure, but now were all, including Google, dealing with the reality of it.
>content scraping will rise
Nowadays I'm swatting double what I used to months before, it is real pain.
Side note: Not all MFA owners are vermin, and probably the majority of them will not resort to low life scraping, I would characterize them as just lazy or easily corruptible.
|I would characterize them |
I would categorize them as business people and internet entrepreneurs taking full advantage of a marketing opportunity that has been made readily available to them. If theres any blame to be given for the present situation, lets be sure to spread it around.
[edited by: randle at 3:59 pm (utc) on May 30, 2007]
|Webmasters with "thin content" sites aren't just going to pack it in. |
Unquestionably, there will be a reaction from the people who have been booted out, and many of them will try to get right back in, using a new Adsense account and slightly different business plans/techniques.
If they think only pure Adwords/Adsense arbitrage has been hit, they may try other methods of getting traffic (e.g. advertising on other ppc networks).
If they think "thin content" is the problem, they may try creating lots of content, but of extremely low quality. From a profit maximization perspective, it doesn't take a genius to figure out that the worse the content, the higher the CTR. Besides, scraped or auto-generated garbage content costs a lot less to create.
The key unknowns are the true purpose and scope of this change, and how serious Google is about carrying this change through to completion.
If the true focus is much broader than arbitrage, and the concern is protecting the Google brand, upgrading the content network, and making the world a better place, then we will eventually see efforts by Google to expel all forms of very poor quality content, and sites without any real conent -- including the scrapers, and the sites that are filled with nonsense text, etc.
Perhaps the Oct 2006 Time interview with Eric Schmidt provides some insight into Google's thinking about this issue.
|"...we have this amazing product called AdSense for content, where we're monetizing the Web. If you're a publisher we run our ads against your content. It's phenomenal. How do we make that product produce better content, not just lots of content?" |
This doesn't tell us whether the latest changes are part of a major strategic initiative or just a minor experiment initiated by a couple of guys on the Adsense team, but at least it suggests we might be seeing the opening maneuvers in a much larger plan.
If so, this suggests we might be at a critical crossroads, where the long term winners are going to be those (like EFV) who take the path of investing in quality content, and the losers are going to be those who spend too much of their time and energy chasing after short term rewards without building toward survival in a future competitive environment which punishes trash and rewards quality.
Many aspects of Google's algorithm-oriented philosophy have long had the unintended consequence of offering the greatest financial rewards to people who put most of their energies into "gaming the Google system", rather than those who concentrate on building great websites that offers the greatest possible value to their users.
This tradeoff is nothing new. It's been well understood for years -- think about the many debates about whether or not "content is king" and the tough choices we are forced to make concerning how much time we should spend on SEO versus creating content -- and the tradeoff between adding more quantity of content versus improving the quality of the pages we add.
The SEO winners are no longer the pages with the highest keyword density, or the largest number of irrelevant links, but that has not always been the case.
While the flood of MFAs (of all types and styles) which has been encouraged by Adsense may not qualify as "evil" (I suppose evil, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder), it surely is not the sort of thing that your average billionaire would list at the top of their life's greatest accomplishments.
Perhaps this is just a tempest in a teapot.
Or, perhaps it's the opening phase of a grand plan to steer towards a better internet.
Based on Schmidt's comments, as well as the cryptic comments posted earlier in this thread by ASA, as well as my intuition about Maslow's hierarchy of needs, I'm betting on the latter.
|If they think "thin content" is the problem, they may try creating lots of content, but of extremely low quality. From a profit maximization perspective, it doesn't take a genius to figure out that the worse the content, the higher the CTR. Besides, scraped or auto-generated garbage content costs a lot less to create. |
Of course, high CTR with low conversions is a recipe for "smart pricing" and (in the coming months) for being left high and dry as advertisers get better referral statistics and the option of site-targeted CPC ads.
The other challenge is acquiring traffic. Does anyone here seriously believe that Google's crackdown on the AdWords/AdSense side will be accompanied by an "anything goes" Google Search policy?
Will we see a new wave of MFAs?
Sure - no doubt about that.
It has started already. Yesterday I came across a new site ("beta") that had scraped zillions of photographs from a huge photo community. No attribution. No link back. No nothing. They just put the photos on their site, next to... Google Adsense ads.
I'd say pure MFA, with little to no value added by the scraper, other than an empty "community framework" for user generated content. They used the scraped content to disguise the fact that they do not have any content of their own.
|Yesterday I came across a new site ("beta") that had scraped zillions of photographs from a huge photo community. |
Easy to catch with an MFA hunting algo that measures growth rate. But the Google PhDs aren't all there yet. Matt is on vacation.
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