Adsense Arbitrage – Just The Facts

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I quit doing video blogging… and i dunno why… it was so much faster. I hate writing.

Btw shout out to Loren Feldman. If you don’t watch his stuff you should its a great perspective outside our normal box.

Links to stuff mentioned –

1) Brian Axe – Google AdsenseProduct Manager on my radio show in which he says they are not against arbitrage and respect it as a business model

2) Kim Malone – President of Google Adsense at Search Engine Strategies in San Jose last fall on the Arbitrage Issues panel says they will use Google Adwords data to determine what Adsense publishers are converting poorly for Adwords Advertisers and from that data determine who should be banned (or can no longer participate in Google Adsense publisher program).

135 thoughts on “Adsense Arbitrage – Just The Facts

  1. Dwight Schrute

    Glad to see someone calming the masses ;)

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but the only posts I’ve seen in the forums about arbi bans are people doing AdWords to AdSense, not MSN, YSM, 7Search, etc. to AdSense

  2. brandon rowe

    like the video blogging, should do some more of them. Also the complete black background is a nice touch. It’s like the Shoe-Lair. Anyways, I did a lot of adsense/YPN arbitrage a couple years ago and never got banned for it.

  3. larry

    Shoe being you own AuctionAds you should be on the other side of this argument instead of telling people to stick with AdSense

  4. Mr. Grown Up Geek

    Yah, glad you got dressed up for us..
    anyway – i think Adsense is going more after the MFA arbitragers than just “all arbitrage” ..
    I guess we’ll know for sure in a few weeks.

  5. CPA Affiliates

    There may be a few people banned but it won’t stop arbitrage (People get banned from YPN they just get another account then roll along for another 6 months to year ;) ) it will be around for a long time untill you can have a perfectly balanced system, which won’t happen unless there is no competition… as long as people are out there and use different search engines there will ALWAYS be some sort of imbalance the key is finding those and exploiting them… when YPN first came out they made this EASY to do, with the overture tool.

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  7. SonicReducer

    If you define arbitrage loosely enough, pretty much all business is doing some form of arbitrage. Wallmart buys a spoon from China for .10, sells it to you for $1. Wallmart made .90 on a market imbalance for spoons.

  8. Dan and Jennfer

    Hey Jeremy,

    Good points, it’ll be interesting to see where this goes.

    Video blogging is awesome! We’ve just recently changed our Dating & Relationship advice column site to be mostly video posts.

    It’s definitely faster to put out content, and much more fun. After all, Jennifer and I have a back and forth discussion on this stuff anyway, so why not get it on tape. :-)

    The feedback from our readers has been awesome, and we also get a lot of exposure to a whole new audience by having our videos up on YouTube and some on the other video sites.

    We’re thinking of getting the audio into a podcast stream too, when we get around to it.

    But the reality is today you do need articles too. So we now get those videos transcribed and converted into articles, and suddenly you have a 75% completed article in addition to the original video.

    Have an awesome day!

  9. coopreme

    i’m “one of those bloggers”

    but, when i wrote about this yesterday (well about 2am this morning) i just stated that we are all arbitrageurs… and that google was just going after the MFA sites, most likely to protect their content network.
    anyway read my post on Arbitrage MFA Annihilated

    oh and the vlog rocked

  10. Online Stopwatch

    wow, video blogs rock!! i must have started reading this site after you did your last one, because this is the first i’ve seen and its soo much better then reading. It feels much more personal. Great info. I read the post on jensense, but as i dont do arbitrage, i wasnt too concernded. (p.s i now know the correct way to say “arbitrage” :-) Next time can you say “niche”?)


  11. coopreme

    ya, i had a guy trying to sell me a YPN account for $1800 the other day over aim, good thing i have my own.
    but i guess google is tired of the MFA, because it’s primarily their traffic that doesn’t convert… plus it scares the rest of us away from the content network

  12. Speaking from Experience

    Well I don’t understand what the meaning of search engine arbitrage is. But I do know one thing, if you don’t like what you do or don’t want to lie for a living their are alot of jobs out their. Nextly anyone can be banned from adsense just run a adwords campaign to a adsense site with the maximum number of adsense units running.

    You will be banned every time if you drive enough traffic their with adwords.

    More interesting ShoeMoney dude, you will only make back less than you spend ( a interesting program ) Something only a governmently owned and operated company can do. If you make enough with adsense you will always get banned. Its a fact that nothing converts and if you think that buying stuff from on adsense ads will help you convert, think again these adsense earners will create so many thousands of impressions resistance is futile. Who will be next? Not sure but I am not worried personally.

    Nice that you take the time to do a live video doesn’t help your position though.


    ” I look forward to killing you soon ”

    -Bouncy the Ninja

    The faces change but the names always seem to stay the same.

  13. Borat

    I hate when people assume things and then blog about it to cause a big stir in the community like jen did. Thanks for really clearing things up shoe!

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  15. CPA Affiliates

    so true… I think more than anything Google is making an effort to try to clean up the Garbage on search… Unfortunately at times that effects the true marketers out there….

  16. SEO blog

    Shoe, does Google take into account the advertisers’ overall conversion rate? I mean if someone has a site that just converts like crap that wouldn’t hurt me would it?

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  18. Dave

    Thanks for the video feature. Its a nice break from reading stuff and it seems like you can provide more information to everyone (more content).

  19. ToddW

    It’s nice to work from home and sport the white t-shirts. Hell, I probably have over 50 normal white t-shirts… you don’t need to be fancy.

  20. Jonathan (Trust)

    What I really don’t hear much discussion about is the end user, the customer. They search for something, click on an ad and I think they hope to find what they were actually looking for, not another ad. Time will tell if this is just a warning shot from Google.

    This example didn’t make sense:

    “If you define arbitrage loosely enough, pretty much all business is doing some form of arbitrage. Wallmart buys a spoon from China for .10, sells it to you for $1. Wallmart made .90 on a market imbalance for spoons.”

    Look at it from a customer point of view. If someone goes to Walmart to buy a spoon, it’s there, they grab it and pay for it. They don’t go to Walmart to the spoon section and find a sign that says, go to Target to get it.

  21. Bulbboy

    I quit doing video blogging… and i dunno why… it was so much faster.

    Tell that to Robert Scoble. He says that he want to be “known for his video work but…video takes longer so you’ll never be first”. Maybe he’s trying for a more polished output.

    Give him the Shoemoney guide to video. :)

  22. John Gall

    I’ve done some limited arbitrage and only found one or two sites actually work but they are content sites and so i’m guessing this is why i’ve escaped the Google hammer as it relates to this issue.

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  25. Ali

    Just yesterday my wife was browsing around and searching for something, she saw so many of these MFA sites that she would never click on any of the ads but instead closed the site altogether.

    Users are becoming slowly aware of these type of setups and I’ve seen a few good MFA sites coupled with a decent design and some “actual” content. Most probably they work better than others.

    But for the most part using the default Google colors and auto generating pages to show useless content along with two blocks of code are just the type of people I hope Google bans.

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  27. SEO blog

    True but Google has a history of throwing the baby out with the bathwater. Surely you can understand people’s concern.

  28. MrMean

    I don’t personally believe Google will even be excessively bothered about ROI for Content Publishers, its not in there best interest to care to much. They’re recieving what I would imagine to be a majority commision from clicks Content sites give.

  29. SEO blog

    Yeah that’s true.. I was just thinking that people might abuse the site specific stuff in order to screw over a publisher they didn’t like etc. Probably would be more trouble than it was worth though.

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  31. flypitcher

    Hi Shoemoney maybe off topic here, but look at Google and adsnese profiteers making money of the little girl who vanished on holiday from the UK in Portugal. An official website has been set up for her and receiving millions of hits as it is very big news in the UK just now and some scumbags set up similar sounding sites typo errors etc.
    Now of course these people are scum but Google is aware also but still makes money from the adverts. The kid was a three year old girl who was taken from the holiday apartment.Any shareholders of Google out there let them know please.

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  35. Lorenzo

    Great video blog shoe! One of my favorite posts by you. I don’t know how your friends invest 6 figure sums a month, with confidence. Tell me there ways!!

  36. jim

    It’s this exact response that Google is looking to get rid of, if people give up on Google because of all the MFA, then their market share drops and they lose money.

  37. Wealth Junkie

    Does the content network really need to be fixed? Sure, the CTR is a lot lower, but I’ve found that the traffic can be cheap and convert well depending on the offer.

  38. Wealth Junkie

    I agree. It is a fine line between user experience and Google’s earnings. But since they intend to “do no evil”, it ought to be straightforward for them.

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  40. Carsten Cumbrowski

    It swallowed my comment, probably because of the links.
    I removed the http so you have to copy and paste it.

    Kris Jones created a great video explaining Arbitrage.
    I blogged about it and the issue that Google does not treat all marketers that do SE arbitrage the same.

    My Post at ReveNews

    Kris post and Video at the Pepperjam Blog

    Check it out.

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  42. Brian Mark

    I do lots of audio podcasting now, and it’s a ton slower. For OneBoxer, I write the post, then use that for the audio. For the Beginning SEO Podcast, it takes forever to edit things, mostly because things stray so far off topic and I have to edit it out.

    As for arbitrage, it is actually really good for many marketers. If they’re not so good, the arbitragers get those phrases that the marketers don’t really target and get the traffic to them anyway. They fill a need for many PPC marketers.

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  44. ceetee

    Google need to redesign the campaigns page before they do anything else. Most advertising on content produces huge numbers of impressions and small click volumes. This isn’t neccesarily a problem but when they’re added to the search stats on the campaigns page, it is. I’ve now got to click through to get a meaningful overview on search – result I don’t usually bother with content.

    Is this something to ask about when you talk to Google?


    Very nice. I’ve never seen one of your video blogs before. The one thing that I’ll not (and yes, this is off-topic relative to arbitrage) is that while video might be faster for you the publisher, it’s way less efficient for the end user, as I can’t skim the piece and digest the highlights. I have to sit through it in its entirety — not that that’s always a bad thing, but I’m often pressed for time. Plus, there are times during the day when I can read stuff, but I can’t listen to stuff out loud (nor can I throw on headphones). Anyway, as long as you don’t go to a majority of video blogging I’ll still find the time to

  46. Ginene

    I think video blogging is better as long as you aren’t camera shy. It makes it more inviting for readers to interact.

  47. Can

    ‘Wallmart buys a spoon from China for .10, sells it to you for $1′

    There is no spoon ;)

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  50. Brent

    This begs the question, why doesn’t Google provide Adsense publishers with a conversion score? As a pbulisher, I’d really like to know.

    I’m still learning Adsense (and always will be) but it seems to me that if my site’s Adsense clicks produce a high conversion rate for the advertiser, then I should get higher paying ads on my site, right? Or maybe it’s just that only particular ads convert well, and they happen to be low paying.

    Either way, if Google tells me, the Adsense Publisher, that my site is converting very well for advertisers, and what Shoe is saying is true, then it would almost be like giving the green light for arbi, right?

  51. CPA Affiliates

    I agree completely they tend to over react… heck many affiliate marketers got hit BIG time by the last target to reduce “MFA” type search results. or atleast had to rework their sites.

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  53. Link Snitch

    They can only really catch Adwords to Adsense unless they use referrer information from Adsenses itself. Which could be possible.

    Definitely going to be selective removal. No broad strokes to the real problem.

  54. Charity Hippy

    This just seems wrong to me. Surely Google is aware of this. Aren’t they?

    It doesn’t exactly contradict “do no evil” but it isn’t doing good either.

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  57. Success Online

    I love the idea of video. I have been working on it already even though I am relatively new to using this type of technology to help others. Great post as always!

    Stephen Welton

  58. Javi

    Jeremy – can you put the previous posts by date back up? I was reading all your old posts month by month to get up to speed, but they’ve disappeared!

  59. Dan Abbamont

    Everyone still seems to be missing the point. I’ve done both arbitrage for myself and lead gen for clients. I’m a stickler about the details of the contextual traffic I buy, so I pretty much check every URL. Adsense arbi sites have been some of my top performers. When I check the second level of referring URLs, it seems like these sites always get their traffic from HIGH QUALITY, RELEVANT SOURCES.

    Buy crap traffic, try to get the visitors to click expensive ads and it’s obvious you’re trying to “beat the system”. You don’t create value, you just suck money from advertisers.

    Find an untapped source of quality traffic, position yourself to link it to advertisers and you’re creating value for the traffic source, yourself and the advertiser. That’s how it’s done folks.

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  61. Jeremy

    I can definitely say that from my experience, I have been banned before by google for doing some arbitrage. I was buying traffic from some of the 2nd tier networks and converting it with adsense. It lasted for about a month until it was time to pay out and then they banned the account.However, what I can say is that the account I used was a new account, my partner who’s account we were rotating did not get banned and he had an older acct… 2 yrs + .. something to think about…

  62. Gary Lee

    I’ve been really thinking about doing a video blog too. It’s just that I have a really monotone presentation style that bores even myself!

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  75. medina

    oh, so even though thier rules say – no MFA sites, they only care about the ones who convert badly. How does that help the advertisers?
    and by convert – I don’t believe google can know if a click creates a sale on the advertisers site??????

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  79. Truth Be Known

    Joel Comm’s recent blog post on the subject indicates there is something afoot whereby some of the rest of us will get hi as well:

    “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.”

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  85. Gerri

    I have been wondering a lot about this and this has been one of the most useful bits of information on the whole issue. Thanks a lot for that.

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  87. Matthew Thompson

    Interesting video, thanks for posting it.

    For anyone who is unable to view the video or would just prefer to read the content in text form, we have created a transcript of the video here:

    Thanks, YouTranscript

  88. Optin Profits

    Not too excited about Video blogging, takes alot of time-bandwidth for the visitors. I wouldn’t want to spend so much time sitting through and watching videos, would prefer reading them.

  89. Business Virtues

    About year ago I wrote an article about Google Arbitrage and still do testings with adverticing Adwords and publishing Adsense. As told on video its unfair business if big players are allowed to it, but smaller are not. I think its much of which content networks traffic comes cause I got an complain from Google year ago. I shut down certain campaign and they never complained again. Well so far ;) As with SEO this is somewhat risky game, you never know how and when they change policies and algos.

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