Google To Shut Down AdSense Arbitrageurs

May 20, 2007 • 10:05 am | comments (26) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under Google AdSense

A WebmasterWorld thread that I have been tracking for a few days now has been getting a lot of attention over the weekend. In short, there are rumors that Google will be shutting down AdSense arbitrageurs.

Arbitrage and AdSense has been an issue basically since the day Google launched AdSense. Arbitrageurs would use Google AdWords and other means to send traffic to their site, and monetize that traffic with Google AdSense.

So if they paid $0.20 per click on AdWords and made $0.25 per click with AdSense, they made $0.05. Simple concept.

We discussed this way back on December 1, 2004 with In with Adwords, Out with AdSense. Chris Boggs then took two looks at it with Publishers and Arbitrage: Sucking the Life Out of Search Results? and Revisiting the Subject of AdSense Arbitrage. I also wrote about it again at MFAs (Made for AdSense Sites) Targeted by Google?

Well, it seems from the WebmasterWorld thread that those MFAs and AdSense arbitrageurs are being shut down.

They told me my account will be disabled at 1st June, and also added that I'll receive payment for all outstanding earnings in accordance with the standard AdSense payment schedule.

Starting June 1, this individual's account as well as many many others will be terminated. They will however receive all outstanding earnings that are due to them.

Many more publishers received this email from Google on Friday.

I to got the "friendly account disablement" email today, May 18. It came out of the blue. It says my business model is not a good fit for AdSense and that the account goes down on June 1. Payment will be made normally though. I am a UPS club+ size publisher.

I will be the first to admit that I have been running substantial arbitrage and MFA sites. They have just grown exponentially lately due to all the efficient AdWords tools. Yet, MFA and arbritage is not a breach of TOS in and of itself right?

I admit that they are not the greatest user experience out there. Yet I do believe they do comply with the specifics of the TOS, there are no blatant breaches. I run dozens of sites/domains with AdSense and I have been careful to abide with the specifics in the letters of the TOS.

Some of these publishers are earning $70,000 per month or more. And they also will be terminated.

Got the same email here. I just reached my 70k-month.

I am confident, these AdSense publishers will adapt.

There has been no official word from Google on this. AdSenseAdvisor has not made any appearance in the forum to confirm or deny these emails.

Forum discussion at WebmasterWorld.

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05/21/2007 04:56 am

It's called frigging GREED... these friggign guys are making 70k a month thats more than i make in 3.5 years at my day job! Yet their launching more and more of the damn sites to continue to try to earn more of course the da*n bubble was going to burst. had they kept it somewhat reasonable it would have lasted and continued, but noooo we've got idiots with 1.5 million MFA sites, and 4M page arbitrage networks pulling in 50-100k a month and they wonder why googles shutting them down. Hell if i hit 3k a month in adsense reliably in white/gray/blue hat hell i'd stop right their, why because the more you push something the more you draw attention.


05/21/2007 05:16 am

I had 3 of my premium 1-word domains shut down this week by Google. I went to Yahoo instead. The jury is still out on what the % loss on CPM I will see. :(

No Name

05/21/2007 05:22 am

If some one cam make a scam it will be done. but $70,000 a month? I wish I made $70 a month.


05/21/2007 05:29 am

I see how it works, but $70K a month would require a million dumb people continously clicking on the same frickin ad


05/21/2007 05:57 am

so just use overture to advertise and adsense to monetize.


05/21/2007 07:10 am

It's late for google to squeeze out Arbitragers: The Income per Click is down to less than one third on the content network in May. It does not make sense to keep Adsense on a legimate site when eCPM is down to less than 1$.

Thomas Brakar

05/21/2007 07:11 am

I applaud Google for doing this, and I agree with Chris. Of course it's painful when the money stops flowing in, but whining about how they conform to the TOS is just unmanly. They had to know the bubble would burst. Deal with it and move on.

Sarthak K

05/21/2007 07:24 am

Thank God its finally ending. Was fed up of those MFA sites eating into revenues of decent blogs and websites. May their soul rest in peace (forever)


05/21/2007 07:45 am

For instance someone might gross 50k a month doing this, but since they paid for all their traffic they might have expenses of $45k, making a nice net profit of $5k total.

No Name

05/21/2007 11:05 am

Google lives up to their slogan of do no evil. Clap-clap!


05/21/2007 12:15 pm

I dont get what is wrong here? I mean people pay for advertisement to gain profit isnt it? I dont want traffic for nutts do i. Its called business investment, and if thats wrong, does that means adsense is only made for product sale? And if i do publish ads on my site, i should not use adwords.


05/21/2007 02:13 pm

Google only likes the right kind of arbitrageurs. They have said in the past that they have no problem with the model itself - they simply don't like sites that exist for that sole purpose. We ran a network of 15 sites that were written by professionals in their industries and Google effectively shut us down a few months ago. We were spending around $12k per month with them at the time. Also, one hand does not know what the other is doing at Google. Our rep had told us our sites were perfectly fine and then one day we were basically cut off at the knees. Our rep couldn't even tell us why except that the directive "came from the top." So now we don't employ anyone. Nice, eh?


05/21/2007 02:16 pm

I think this is very good. This will give legitimate sites with good info more opportunities.


05/21/2007 03:04 pm

bye bye MFA, welcome good site, we do appreciate your work :-)


05/21/2007 05:58 pm

This is not the end of MFA sites. Very far from it. What Google is doing here is they are only removing the arbitragers with the parked domain sites that buy massive amounts of keywords for between $0.01-$0.10 per click from Adsense mostly, but also for some longtail keywords on AdWords. Are these guys making $70k a month or a year? Yeah, I happen to know a lot of them clearing the $30k+ makr every month. In fact, when I was doing it last year, we had one month where we were focusing primarily on high search volume keywords that paid us at least $0.60 per click, and never once spent more than $0.08 per click. Then again, I refuse to "crap where you eat" and did not buy traffic from Google to arbitrage right back onto Adsense. There are plenty of cheap places to buy traffic from, where their users are clicking maniacs. Before Adsense started the whole "smart priced" ordeal, we were seeing our normal avg CTR from adsense at 40%-60% and higher.. then after we figured out how NOT to get smart priced, they never went that high again, but it was always over the 15% CTR mark. But back onto topic here, what I like to call Arbitrage 2.0 is not what these domainers do. It's when you make an actual site, filled with content, and place your Adsense ads in places that people have been known to click, but not excessively. Instead of buying Google traffic and sending it to a MFA page/site, you buy from some cheap place, and send them to your much nicer looking MFA page/site. Sure, you may not get AS many clicks on it, but you can still target it pretty nicely, and make one hell of a profit from it. The real beauty of the sites is that they don't look or feel like MFA's whatsoever. Just so long as you stick to your guns and do it that way, you'll be safe. It will probably take Google another 5-7 years to figure that out (if the traffic sucks, which it may or may not, too early to say really). Ah how I miss the arbitrage days, before the rest of the world figured it out. But hey, like I said, there are still plenty of people out there absolutely BANKING on the stuff I spoke about above (and on my blog showing people how to do it). And as long as you remain more creative than greedy, and add some smarts to it, you can go on doing this for many many years to come. Remember.. Google Adsense isn't the only fish in the sea. /long comment

Daniel Travolto

05/21/2007 06:21 pm

Well yes it was a serious problem in their system. Its surprising how long they allowed it to stay in the system

Brian B

05/21/2007 09:02 pm

Sell short!


05/21/2007 09:03 pm

I think this is related to Google giving full content stats to advertisers:

No Name

05/29/2007 07:12 am

Apparently these changes will affect non-MFA publishers as well, at least for a while. On his blog regarding this subject, Joel Comm says, "Google's initiative might mean a short dip in our earnings, but if it brings more advertisers back and fewer wasted clicks on the network, then that's good for all our futures." A "short dip" for some of the rest of us. I've heard that Google accompanied this letter with some other changes, removing "spammy" sites as well, but it is evident that some of these sites are not so "spammy."

No Name

08/14/2007 02:54 pm

google is slowly starting to dictate what you can and can't do in a free market economy. Next stop - court a la Bill Gates.


08/16/2007 04:42 pm

Google danced your keywords out of organic Search results. Now you can't buy your traffic from them! What does Google want? To close the Internet to small players altogether and leave only Fat Cats? "Do no evil"? Please!!

Danny Tuppeny

08/27/2007 02:48 pm

Google should make it easier to report MFA sites :(

PPC Manager

09/04/2008 06:55 am

I don't see it has happened as of now,, Its Sep now... ?? was that a spam mail ?


09/13/2008 06:21 pm

Adwords steady decline in CTR & IMPR this year 2008. Simply put their performance rating sucks more each time they shut down for maintenance.

No Name

03/11/2009 08:29 am

Google lives up to their slogan of do no evil. Clap-clap...thanks


06/14/2011 05:40 am

Do not work with Google Adsense they will steal from you with no remorse. I had over 30 sites running on Google Adsense under one account and after a year of doing business they shut down my account. They owe me a total of $270,000 and I have not been able to get an answer of why my account was shut down or any response from them. This is a ton of money to be out and it is horrible how Google steals from small businesses. I would highly encourage everyone who has a site to look at other alternatives. Do not take the chance with Adsense like I did. They say they do no evil but if this is not evil I do not know what it. Email me if you have questions and I will fill you in

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