The Kinds of Search PPC Arbitrage That Are Not Dying

I got a bit of flack via email about saying that Google and Yahoo! were killing off arbitrage. I think, more accurately, I should have said something like they are trying to kill off most forms of garbitrage and click to click arbitrage...the type of stuff where there is no value add AND the affiliate has no brand.

CJ just announced that Yahoo! changed their policy and is allowing affiliates to direct link to merchant websites. From the most recent Commission Junction newsletter:

After more than six months in the making and much customer feedback and testing, we are pleased to announce that Yahoo! Search Marketing (YSM) has recently updated its editorial policies and will now allow U.S. publishers to direct link to their advertisers. In the past, YSM's editorial policy prevented publishers from linking directly to their advertiser partners and required that traffic be sent first to the publisher's Web site. The new policy eliminates this restriction and opens a much broader search marketing opportunity for publishers.

After you look at the fallout of recent changes, it appears many thin arbitrage sites still are fine advertising, but the ones that are still doing well are typically associated with larger brands. The following arbitrage sites are still bidding on a wide array of keywords

A few of the other big arbitrage players like and and some other MeziMedia/ValueClick sites still seem to be directing ad traffic to their sponsored search results.

Google and Yahoo can not clean up all the arbitrage at once because that would have hurt the ad networks too much. They started with many of the more open and potentially abusive relationships and will work to keep elevating the value add of partner sites by bringing more content directly into the search results. Consider how aggressively Google integrated local results in their organic search results and that Google is now testing displaying video ads in their search results.

Published: February 15, 2008 by Aaron Wall in marketing


February 15, 2008 - 12:09pm

I think if Google adds video to search results, that will hurt them a LOT, it will make the process of simplicity disappear and will also make it a little bit disturbing for the users.

February 15, 2008 - 12:17pm

I don't think the videos will be added to the ads by will be a drop down option that you can click on. And most advertisers likely will not take advantage of them.

February 15, 2008 - 2:02pm

Something I've been thinking about for a little time now, and since you're the author of SeoBook, I thought I'd run it by you.

I see alot of articles and posts through out the Internet that address PPC and SEM, and how to make the best use of those vehicles as a way to drive traffic to one's site. My question is, does anyone rely on just natural organic visitors anymore? Is the SEM industry becoming as overloaded as the SEO industry in your opinion?

I think that I have finally committed myself to relying on organic referrals from the search engines, instead of paying for advertising to have visitors hit any one of my sites. Granted, I don't have any products to sell (except for what I mentioned in private earlier and it being BIGGER then youtube, heeh), but my goal is to have QUALITY content, and ads based on that content, which is where the revenue comes from. If it doesn't perform well naturally, then oh well, why spend money to promote it un-naturally? heeh.

I just wanna say thank you for being one of the few resources I use to help improve my endeavors to dominate the SERPS with relevant content, and I look forward to the modules that you'll be introducing. And thanks to Uncle Sam for the $1500 rebate I'll be getting in May which will help me get my very own copy of SEOBOOK. And the kicker about that is, I didn't learn about SEOBOOK from an ad, but through visiting various sites out on the Internet and seeing it mentioned. Ultimately, I intend on relying on Brand name recognition and SERP domination instead of any form of advertising.
Ya think it's possible?
Have a good weekend everybody.

February 15, 2008 - 6:19pm

Hi Jake
I think the ads raise mindshare and awareness and aid usage...all those drive more organic citations, etc.

February 15, 2008 - 6:19pm

Wow. That ASK page is ridiculous. I guess we can't expect too much of a company whose main sources of income are toolbars bordering on ***ware.

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