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I was a teenage MFA-er

     
3:04 pm on Apr 27, 2008 (gmt 0)

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A few years ago, I was one of the first people in my country to make MFA's. I made crappy sites with hardly any content but Adsense ads. I bought cheap Adwords traffic to feed the sites with visitors who had not much choice but to click my ads or leave my sites.

I know this business model is not considered to be ethical. But it was legal and it made me a good deal of cash. The kind of cash that could buy you, for example, a second home in Spain.

We all know about Googles crackdown on MFA's. It ended my MFA-business long ago, but such is life.

When I google the obvious MFA-niches today not one single MFA turns up in my results. Then why do I hear some people still complain about MFA's on their sites?

[edited by: martinibuster at 3:41 pm (utc) on April 27, 2008]
[edit reason] Removed specifics. [/edit]

3:38 pm on Apr 27, 2008 (gmt 0)

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When I google the obvious MFA-niches today (get rich quick, accident lawyer, weightloss, etcetera), not one single MFA turns up in my results. Then why do I hear some people still complain about MFA's on their sites?

Because MFA's tend to occupy any niche, not just the obvious ones. For example, for a page on Widgetville, a well known travel destination, I get the following ad (as per the preview tool):

Cheap Widgetville Hotels
Save 75% On Cheap Widgetville Hotels!
Quality Rooms @ Lowest Rates.
www-widgetvillehotels.com

This leads to a crappy page containing nothing but "sponsored ads" or "related searches". Pure MFA.

I think the crackdown was done to keep a serious face to the outside. If it was a crackdown, it went not far enough. But the reality seems to be that Google is still making some money from MFAs. It is not in their best interest to enforce their own quality guidelines.

3:50 pm on Apr 27, 2008 (gmt 0)

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I saw one last night with close to 300K pages. Ghastly!
3:55 pm on Apr 27, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Google is not the internet. ;) There are other search engines, too.

The MFAs people are complaining about are the ones showing up on their sites, not on the actual search results. MFA is also a term used loosely that may encompass sites people don't like, not simply one that is practicing arbitrage.

>>>I think the crackdown was done to keep a serious face to the outside.

Nope, it had an effect. At the height of the scraper phenomenom I was getting scraped so hard my site would go down after midnight every single night. For those who keep track of their backlinks the amount of scrapers populating a backlink search has gone down dramatically. It's a huge difference, like night and day.

7:22 pm on Apr 27, 2008 (gmt 0)

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The MFAs people are complaining about are the ones showing up on their sites, not on the actual search results. MFA is also a term used loosely that may encompass sites people don't like, not simply one that is practicing arbitrage.

Absolutely! And the ones that are using arbitrage may be doing so without AdSense on their sites. Lots doing it with only affiliate banners or click schemes.

4:15 am on Apr 28, 2008 (gmt 0)

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I personally don't mind MFA (Made for Adsense) sites all that much. They do give all of us on the adwords side a bad reputation, but overall they don't hurt my reputation with my visitors. Stil when I run into one I do report them to Google.

That changes quickly with the lousy advertisers, and those MFAs doing 'arbitrage' are what I consider bottom feeders and I wish Google did give me significantly better tools to fight them off of my sites.

I do not want to have ads for obvious scams, for dead-ends created by a 'arbitrage MFA', for impossible things (abstract therms you cannot possess being advertised as being auctioned on one of the largest online auction sites), ...
Fighting them off is mission impossible for now.

7:22 am on Apr 28, 2008 (gmt 0)

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I do not want to have ads for obvious scams

These are the most serious problem from the point of view of a publisher. Most visitors don't realize that we don't pick the ads that go on our pages. So crooked ads make us look bad.