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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.
>Could we start something new on the broader subject
Not before we learn more about MFA2.0 please, or shall we start a new thread?
|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. |
I think MThiessen was right with his comment about "thin content" sites. I also think there's confusion here about what "click arbitrage" is.
When NYTimes.com advertises its travel section on vacation-in-elbonia.com, that isn't "click arbitrage," because the NYTimes.com travel section has real content and isn't just flipping traffic (even though it does run AdSense ads). PPC is merely one source of traffic, and not the most important one.
When Bubbas-barcecue-recipes.com attracts traffic via AdWords, YPN, etc. and sells clicks via AdSense, the situation is a bit greyer, because Bubba may not have earned the kind of "TrustRank" and/or authority status that NYTimes.com has earned through years of accumulating inbound links from other trusted sources. Still, Google probably has formulas in place to gauge whether Bubba fits an "arbitrageur" profile: Is he buying clicks low and selling them high? Does he attract organic search traffic? Is he using original content or boilerplate content that's on a zillion other sites?
|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? |
In the short run, publishers whose revenues have come mostly from MFA ads are could be hurt--or maybe not, for reasons that were discussed earlier in the thread. In the long run, a rising tide of advertiser confidence should lift many (if not all) boats.
A more important question is whether "grey area" sites like Bubbas-barbecue-recipes.com may get swept up in the anti-arbitrage/thin content net because they're buying traffic through PPC ads. If I were Bubba, I'd be worried about the risk of collateral damage--especially if I depended heavily on PPC traffic to earn my AdSense revenues.
[edited by: europeforvisitors at 7:54 pm (utc) on May 25, 2007]
MFA2.0 is already underway. What seemed odd to me when I got banned was why they gave me until the end of the month and not just cut me off in 48 hours. I could have stopped my Adwords campaign in under a few hours. Two weeks give you enough time to test out your new model get your ducks in a row and begin MFA2.0. The thing about lazy arbitragers is that they made money enough money to hire people to do the hard work and still make dough. You can hire a freelance editor a good freelance content writer and a part time project manager for under 50K a year. If you can get back to making 50K a month clear it is worth while doing as you diversify your portfolio.
That is where the new issue is what distinguishes an old arbitrage MFAer from a new arbitrage MFAer. You can stay clear of the tell-tale signs and dial back the PPC traffic and still make money. Many made their sites ugly on purpose because that lead to higher CTR but you can still get a 20%-30% CTR on a site that looks and smells like an honest to goodness site. So build an honest to goodness site and drive traffic through alternate channels.
I am in no way saying it is right all I am saying is that the rules changed but that does not mean the players have quit the game. I for one have quit but I know of others that have not.
It's a pity we are not seeing more post from Freddy81 and other abri/mfa AdSense account owners - I remember reading his first comment on this tread with real interest.
If somebody thinks for other threads/topics go on, but I am sure this one will be HOT till June 1st or may be until a week later...
Do not get me wrong, but if you are not an arbi/mfa we all know how you feel (300 post of it) about it.
Personally I am more interested in the arbi/mfa-member's post, than what others .... - of course if a AdSense representative does not think its time to say something. :)
Do not wanna hurt anybody's feeling, I am just reader - number 37823.
need2bdiscreet - did not saw your last post, sorry
|So build an honest to goodness site and drive traffic through alternate channels |
I still have a problem understanding how this would work for people used to making quick bucks.
need2bdiscreet, I am sure you know how long it takes for a new site to build momentum and gain organic traffic, I am also sure you are already aware that Google monitors traffic sources.
I don't think there is any fast solution to this.
Gepoman no problem. I kind of agree with you. Hey if you dont like Arbi/MFA cool I can understand why. If you want to know what version 2.0 is going to be or could be then start a dialogue. MFA/Arbi-2.0 is going to go forward with or without anyones blessing if you feel it takes away from your users experience or might then lets talk about a way to stay clear of it. I for one get the point MFA/Arbi not really popular here parasites, lazy, cheaters, killing the Internet, robbing the honest publishers gotcha I for one am not here to sell anyone on the idea. I started to speak up when I saw people posting about how they are scared to death that they are going to get the dreaded e-mail. Hey man I know that feeling and if you are not doing anything wrong but feel you might be a bit in the gray then I thought I could shed some light on what was going on.
I hear ya takes a long time. However put it this way if you start out with no money in your pocket and make a million bucks doing MFA/Arbi - then the rules change and you realize you can make honest money maybe not at the same rate but still make money why not pay someone to do it. You make a quick buck as fast as a quick buck can be made if it takes a little longer but you are still making money then there is the drive to still do it. We are/were arbitrageurs we were making money a penny at a time go from 1 penny to 0.5 a penny you still make money. Perhaps there is this perception that the MFA/Arbi guys also #*$! out hookers and traffic in cocaine or something and now that the gig is up they are going back to street crime, (tongue and cheek). The reality is the rules were lax if you got away with making dough doing the least amount of work some people took that route now it is harder to make money do you give up? I am giving up but others are not. Does anyone really think this is the end of the line for this? If you stashed away half a million bucks you can spend a year figuring out a new strategy.
Not condoning it just speaking from the other side of the proverbial fence.
P.S. How do you make those gray boxes around sections of the quoted text I know RTFM just point me to the M ;-)
Here's the M for you ;)
The above sounds like good neighbors after rehab, how is this MFA2.0?
I think I've been pulling off some arbitrage (not on purpose) the last few days.
I run a small adwords program +- $100 to generate sales for a small site, that generates all traffic from adwords, but I do have adsense on there as well.
I run adwords to the home page, hoping they'll surf around. It's a "content" site.
Well, generally my ratio was 1:1 with adsense and adwords, so the sales were the profit.
The last few days with the pool of adwords advertisers declining (presumeably), my ads are being shown more and thus my sales are up, but so is my adsense.
My adsense has hit all time highs(on this site) the last few days, while sales have increased slightly as well.
Now my ratio of adsense to adwords is like 3:1. Yikes!
I feel like an arbitrager now.
|Now my ratio of adsense to adwords is like 3:1. Yikes! |
Welcome to the club! ;-) just joking. You have to stand back and say what am I selling? Why did I create this site? What does my gut say when I turn off the Adwords Tap and know I am leaving money on the table and walking away. I went from coffee money a day to paying my monthly mortgage a day and it was all because of making these kind of decisions admittedly the wrong ones.
|The above sounds like good neighbors after rehab, how is this MFA2.0? |
MFA2.0 will be like that the Internet will get cleaned up not so clean you can eat off it however some people are going to make more money with the traffic on their sites than others will. If that is cool with everyone then we are all done here. Except the old Arbitrageurs are going to pay pennies a click and more of your users will click on them and your revenue will be lower. However the user experience will be better so really based on what I have heard nobody will be upset if that is achieved.
Very interesting conversation.
I just wanted to say that while I can't provide any new information right now about the decision to close certain AdSense accounts, I am following this thread closely, along with many other people from all parts of the AdSense team. This decision was a long time in the making, and your thoughts and feedback are quite valuable to us.
Nice and very surprised to see you here AdSenseAdvisor.
|This decision was a long time in the making |
Bygones now, just make sure to analyze why it took so long and the next critical decision don't take another 3 years pretty please.
Thanks for dropping by, and it's good to know that G is reading all sides of the story.
Personally I think G has gotten one closure wrong (not me!) but probably most right.
No one reads 500+ posts
but 10% are by farmboy, so perhaps some do :-)
I do. I've tracked this thread from the beginning. It's fascinating - I've never seen anything that has stirred up this much discussion. It's just awesome.
This decision was a long time in the making, and your thoughts and feedback are quite valuable to us.
I'm sure all wemasters would be happier if we knew the specific reasons for accounts being disabled rather than just the speculation we've been indulging in.
* Is it because Google now has a problem with people using Adwords to drive traffic to sites (even good quality sites) with adsense showing?
* Is it because disabled sites all had thin content or were scraper sites?
* Is it because disabled sites had poor converstion rates for advertisers?
Any sort of indication would help us - because at least then we would have real criteria by which we could judge our own sites. For example, when I doubled CRT on one site by placing the ads in a much more prominent positions, I made a lot more money. But what if the advertisers didn't? Am I at risk of losing my account because of a falling conversion rate?
I want to play within the rules, but to do so, I need to know what they are and whether they're changing. I'm sure all webmasters would welcome further guidance on this issue to help us all stay within the rules.
I didn't need Google come to tell me to conclude it was because:
* Sites all had thin content or were scraper sites
* Sites had poor conversion rates for advertisers
Nothing to do with arbitrage specifically, but arbitrage in combination with other factors:
I mean IF arbitrager were giving good conversions for advertisers you would be safe.
IF arbitrager had a good recognized website with good content it would be safe as well.
That's why there are survivors yet. As some have admitted here being doing arbitrage and still running. They must either have a good authority website, or at least have good conversion rates.
All I had to do is to read all the 500 posts here and the others in other forums for the last 7 days.
|Am I at risk of losing my account because of a falling conversion rate? |
Read the thread, it seems to be mostly about lack of real content and user experience, not conversion rate. In any case, you might get smart priced, but not banned.
I think we do need guidance from Google - sure, we can all make our own deductions from what we have read, I know I have - but what we have read here and elsewhere may not be the full story - AND there may be misinformation aplenty.
We need to know:
* If Google is now throwing out people for poor conversions, that's a concern for everyone. Who knows where the hammer will strike next? because, as publishers, we don't know what our conversion rates are. Is Google following the lead of YPN who seem to have been terminating accounts for low conversion rates? If so, many of us might, unknowingly, be on shaky ground.
* If on the other hand, Google is only throwing out people who have driven adwords traffic onto adsense ads supported by scraped (or non-existent content) then, please, just tell us. Then those of us who've never done it can relax and anyone else who has done it can stop (if they've not already had their accounts cancelled).
[edited by: Doug10 at 11:18 pm (utc) on May 25, 2007]
Doug10, the answer today is b,
how can you miss it?
now chill :-)
[edited by: Hobbs at 11:20 pm (utc) on May 25, 2007]
|when I doubled CRT on one site by placing the ads in a much more prominent positions, I made a lot more money. But what if the advertisers didn't? Am I at risk of losing my account because of a falling conversion rate? |
Even if this isn't a reason for the end of accounts on June 1, it's still an important issue Google needs to address. It is important to the advertiser and publisher alike.
Publishers are so in the dark on this, it's crazy. We aren't told what CTR would be too high and we aren't given any conversion rate data for the ad campaign.
So we have to wait until we're smartpriced. That's the only information we get from Google, but even that isn't clear, because there's no notice 'you've been smartpriced,' and in fact it's all guessing, because we never even know for sure if we've been smartpriced.
Or the advertiser doesn't contact you and say, 'Hey, that last change you made on ad unit placement just isn't converting for us anymore. In fact, your CTR may be higher, but we'll probably have to ban your site.'
Sure, you can say, it's none of our business to see the advertisers' data. Their conversion rates are confidential. Fine. But just once I'd like to see a study by one advertiser and one publisher who communicated with each other and shared their data so the rest of us could get a better heatmap that makes the Adwords-Adsense program work better for everyone. Google should start a beta group of advertisers and publishers to run this testing.
Right now there's this huge wall between Adwords and Adsense which obscures the idea that at the end of the day we are all a partnership (Google-Publisher-Advertiser) trying to make money online.
It will be interesting how far they take this, if they are serious or just doing it for show.
Ultimately the litmus test has to be "Why is this site paying for traffic."
If you can't reasonably answer that by viewing the site it needs to be suspect. I don't know if any algo is capable of this analysis. However, my point is, nobody is going to pay for traffic just to get people to read articles. So if someone is PAYING for traffic, with the resultant outcome being thin content and ONLY ads as a source of revenue, they would become suspect.
Someone might say, well the Ny Times would fall under this, but they go beyond just selling ads. They have a tangible product you can buy, and a service and product you can subscribe to online. So I think in the long haul, if they were serious they would have to limit anyone who is not offering to sell a tangible relevant product or offering other means of recouping revenue from just selling ads.
If they wanted to do it right, Ads to ads would be a no-no.
|Am I at risk of losing my account because of a falling conversion rate? |
i don't think so. but here is rule of thumb. if you remove AdSense from your site and what is left can still stands on its own, you are probably safe. if on the other hand after removing the ads, there is no use for the leftovers you are better looking at a new business model.
thanks Google. i was advocating for this for few years now!
Hey fellow MFA haters. Its time to start reporting those MFA's ads that shows up on your pages, just to make sure they all get eliminated!
|However, my point is, nobody is going to pay for traffic just to get people to read articles. So if someone is PAYING for traffic, with the resultant outcome being thin content and ONLY ads as a source of revenue, they would become suspect. |
Someone might say, well the Ny Times would fall under this, but they go beyond just selling ads. They have a tangible product you can buy, and a service and product you can subscribe to online.
Nytimes.com registration is free, and THE NEW YORK TIMES monetizes its site with ads just as we do (though not only with AdSense ads, as some AdSense publishers do).
What differentiates NYTimes.com from thin-content-arbitrage-site.com isn't the fact that THE NEW YORK TIMES has a print edition; it's the fact that the site has real content and plenty of "TrustRank" because it's been around a good while, has quality inbound links, etc. A site like THE NEW YORK TIMES--or an established mom-and-pop site with decent inbound links--can be given the benefit of the doubt, because it has a track record. In contrast, thin-content-arbitrage-site.com may need to prove itself before earning decent revenues from AdSense.
>"* Is it because disabled sites had poor converstion rates for advertisers?
Any sort of indication would help us - because at least then we would have real criteria by which we could judge our own sites. For example, when I doubled CRT on one site by placing the ads in a much more prominent positions, I made a lot more money. But what if the advertisers didn't? Am I at risk of losing my account because of a falling conversion rate?"<
I think this is one of the most important issues mentioned on this and the prior thread! (yes I read almost ALL 500 posts over the last week).
As Advertisers get more and more detailed info, publishers get nothing new to balance the equation. Many of us publishers simply want to keep the status quo, but often become overly cautious and likely lose a lot of money for ourselves and G by being paranoid. For cripes sake you can't even get a correct direct report of how many adlinks topics are being clicked to help optimize placement! So we just took them all off!
Yes, maybe it would help scammers, but it would also help legit publishers further optimize their sites to increase conversion rates for the advertisers, which would far outweigh the negative since their indicating scammers DON'T convert... or at least so they say. Isn't that what G wants? Happy converted advertisers? We'll be happy to do it FOR you. Even CJ and other affiliate programs let you see your conversion data as a publisher (even if it isn't always accurate), which is still the one advantage THEY have over G and why we haven't left that option. With affiliates, if your impressions and clicks don't produce revenue with a particular advertiser (you're not a good match or their site sucks and doesn't entice visitors to buy) you scrap them and show a different one. So in that perspective whose interests is G really protecting here? Obviously THEIR OWN right to continue displaying ads at cheaper and cheaper rates for crappy advertiser sites which will never convert!
Since they're reading, To G: PUBLISHERS NEED MORE SPECIFIC DATA AND TO KNOW WHERE WE STAND ON THE STATS THAT YOU USE TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE IN OUR LIVES.
As a side, if advertisers are now or soon allowed to know exactly where their ads are appearing and even more specifically target sites, and then to arbitrarily feedback negative conversion data, it seems it will make it extremely easy for competitors who are advertising to smartprice a competing publisher into oblivion. Likewise they could easily raise their own smartpricing by doing the opposite and advertising on their own sites... or is that what this is already all about?
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