Its been no secret that Google has been working on launching a new quality score bot. I have read threads about it on pretty much every forum. I have also been getting tons of emails about the subject asking me what I think is going to happen.
I talked to a close (anonymous) friend inside Adwords and she tells me the big changes are purely targeted at the arbitragers. This really again should come as no shock. She was super vague on specifics but did tell me that they were fingerprinting (my word) links and text on page that would indicate the page was a landing for contextual search arbitrage or cost per action arbitrage. For those in Rio Linda that means if your running a landing page and directly linking with your affiliate link or running a scraper with nothing but Yahoo/Google ads then YOUR IN TROUBLE!
People inside Microsoft AdCenter ( btw <3 u guys @ adcenter ) also told me a while back that they had finger printed affiliate links and were going to start penalizing (denying or making you pay more) those that were doing that.
Soooo what does all this mean? MASK YOUR LINKS.
If you have a landing page for products for science sake (anyone watch southpark in the last 2 weeks will get that joke) DO NOT directly link with your affiliate code. Make sure you have your own internal redirection system.
For instance if I was paying for Google Adwords to goto shoemoney.com and on shoemoney.com I had offers for RING TONES with AzoogleAds.
I have 2 ways to link to AzoogleAds Ring tone offers.
http://c.azjmp.com/az/ch.php?f=3375&i=12345 –> THIS IS BAD
http://shoemoney.com/link.php?go=3375 –> this is GOOD!
Then of course in your robots.txt you disallow link.php
Ohh and for those of you doing contextual arbitrage…. unless your cloaking your content prepare for impact.
Keep in mind Google is not going to stop letting you do this… They are just going to charge you more cause of your “quality score”. There is just to much money to be made right now in arbitrage and Google wants a bigger slice.