Google AdSense Cracking Down On Arbitrage

May 19, 2007

Google is beginning to disable “arbitrage” AdSense publisher accounts. Although I use Google Adsense myself, I read “arbitage” over at JenSense and thought, what’s that?

So here’s the low down, with images of arbitrage varieties at Marketing Pilgrim.

Judging from the information there, Google seems to be cracking down on “Arbitrage 1.0,” which is a web page with little or no content, whose only purpose is to get people to click on the ads.The only way to leave the site is by clicking on an ad. I’m sure you’ve seen sites like this, I might call it a “spam site” or if it were a blog, a “splog.”

“Aribtrage 2.0″ is still somewhat annoying which means there’s some form of content but there’s some ads mixed in, in kind of an annoying way, where you might click on an ad by mistake. What’s really lame is when the “content” is just an RSS feed or blatantly copied off of someone else’s site or blog.

This is also compounded with the arbitrage site using AdWords themselves, advertising on AdSense to get people to visit their splog site. And if you pay less for running said ads than what you recieve in clicks, that’s profit, and the definition of arbitrage.

Personally, I think it’s good for Google to crack down on these sites. I can’t imagine it helps the advertisers much, because when I click on a link on a site like this it’s usually by mistake, and so I’m pretty much guaranteed to click back and not even look at the site the ad is pointing to. Meanwhile, I make a mental note of the site as worthless and vow to never return again on my own volition.

Secondly, as a blogger, whenever I find a splog linking back to this blog it really pisses me off. I’ve also found several blogs that trackback and basically lift the first paragraphs of my posts to create their full post. One seemed to be taking my posts and running them through a thesaurus to create some kind of strange doppelganger “original” content.

So I won’t mind if these arbitrage sites go away, both as a publisher and a reader. The web certainly doesn’t need more empty shells with nothing but ads to offer people. I can get that experience just opening up the latest issue of People Magazine.

Anyhow, if you really want to get uber-nerdy regarding website monetization and how scary Google emails keep some up at night, check out this thread over at Webmaster World.