Recently one of our AdSense sites had a lot of poor ads on it that we filtered out, but it is hard to keep up with all the new ones. Some of them are so bad that you know they are junk just by looking at the URL.
Danny recently highlighted how Ask.com is becoming a big arbitrage play, but I am seeing lots of arbitrage ads from smaller advertisers as well...ones that would have been filtered out of Google a year or two ago (unbranded sites, cheesy universal subdomains, subdomains of subdomains, .info thin content sites, sites which act as a portal that link to domain lander pages that use a 0 for the o in the domain name, Overture feed sites, adsense sites with robotic content, etc etc etc) are now showing up for many Google searches. Google has begun running their own arbitrage ads for things like credit cards and car insurance. Some people have even noticed graphical ads selling people and sites distributing spyware.
To appreciate how bad this is here are a couple examples...
- On one major keyword I saw all but one ad being from an unbranded thin arbitrage site.
- On one search I clicked from Google into an arbitrage site that lists links to niche domains with domain holder pages. On those domains there were Overture advertiser links. I clicked one of those and ended up on a site that was a thin crappy AdSense arbitrage site. That AdSense ad I clicked on landed me on another domain lander page powered by Overture. That domain lander page had ads on it for the domain name I just came from...and then I fully appreciated the absurdity of it all!
I could make a video showing examples, but did not want to out people. I just find it lame that Google polices organic results so aggressively and then let their ad network devolve this far this fast. They were pretty strong 6 months ago.
I suspect that Google is trying to goose revenues for this quarter (or is trying to use the downturn to be aggressive with experimentation). I can't think of any other reasons why they would have done such a major retracement on their quality score algorithm and click arbitrage front. Essentially they are paying people to generate garbage AND eat up a lot of their revenue while providing zero value in the transactions.
Have you been seeing a sharp rise in garbitrage?
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