Adwords Quality ScoreIts 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

OR

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.

By Jeremy Schoemaker

Jeremy "ShoeMoney" Schoemaker is the founder & CEO of ShoeMoney Media Group, and to date has sold 6 companies and done over 10 million in affiliate revenue. In 2013 Jeremy released his #1 International Best selling Autobiography titled "Nothing's Changed But My Change" - The ShoeMoney Story. You can read more about Jeremy on his wikipedia page here.

111 thoughts on “New Adwords Quality Score Bot Aims To Nuke Arbitragers”
  1. This is going to be very interesting to watch. For a while I was thinking that it wasn’t in Google’s interest to pursue click-flippers because of the revenue that it brought to Google. Now, I’m really curious to see how this is going to affect all the folks who have been so go-nuts about click flipping.

    I’ll make the popcorn. This should be good.

  2. […] There’s a post over at ShoeMoney stating that Google may soon send out bots to find click arbitragers. I wasn’t sure if this would happen; Mr. John Chow says the following in this article: [The process known as PPC Arbitrage] directly affects your AdSense income. It also creates a very poor user experience. A user clicks on an ad expecting to find information, not more ads. The funny thing is, Google can easily put a stop to this but they won’t because they make huge money from it – whether the click comes from your site or the MFA site, Google profits. Therefore, they have no incentive to shut this down. As long as Google allows this, you will have more Arbitragers creating MFA sites to take advantage of legit sites. […]

  3. I’ve been watching GoogleBot and they are actually ignoring robots.txt at times. They will crawl, just not put in the public index. So just because you use robots.txt like that, doesn’t mean they won’t find the links.

    I would instead use a form of link cloaking mixed with the redirection. So your redirect link will look at the ip, useragent, and whether the browser accepts cookies. If the IP or user gent show google or the user doesn’t accept cookies (does gbot accept cookies these days?), have that redirect go to a standard domain.com url without the affiliate links. If it looks like a real user, then throw them the affiliate link.

    I would still use the robots.txt, but don’t count on that to work all the time.

    Also note that Google is sending bots not tagged with the proper user agent. See graywolfs comments here http://www.threadwatch.org/node/10124

  4. Shoe, are you talking about people buying adwords for arbitrage or people running adsense who’s traffic comes from elsewhere?

  5. This is about people who are spending money on adwords to make money on contextual or affiliate pages.

  6. They are not going to block them…. Just charge them more 😉

    There is just to much money to be made right now in arbitrage and google wants a bigger piece.

  7. I’m a complete noob to all of this, but sounds like what you describe might be good business practice too – cart.php would keep track of all of affiliate link clickthroughs so you can do an audit at the end of the month.

  8. […] Ein paar interessante Links zum AdWords Qualitätsfaktor: Abakus-Forum, Shoemoney und Threadwatch. Besonders lesenswert ist der Beitrag von Shoemoney. […]

  9. Hi – Just got done reading your posts here, and the comments. I have a question I am hoping someone can answer – Can someone define for me what you mean by “contextual arbitrage”?

    I understand the concept itself – buying adwords ads and pointing the customer to another page with adsense ads. I guess what I am trying to understand is – if your page has very relevant content, meets the TOS, and has everything google expects or wants to see, like at least one outbound link – are they going to have a problem with this? Can someone please elaborate?

    Thanks,
    Michael

  10. Thanks Shoemoney! Great info as always.

    Question: If you had to pick a method of cloaking without php what method would use?

    Thanks in advance,

    JB

  11. Will this affect iframe usage? I.e. I send clicks to my page, that has some nice cloakced SE content, but then just iframes the add link so the user can see it. Will that be bad or no?

  12. You should be ok I would think… I guess you would have to tell us. If your cloaking for googlebot(s) not showing them the framed content then you should be ok.

  13. Thanks Shoe. After years of blogging I am just now setting up a keyword campaign for arbitrage.

    This advice will help a great deal!

  14. […] Just saw over at Shoemoney about a Google Quality Score Bot that is aimed at giving MFA and Arbitragers a huge bitch slap. 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! […]

  15. you could even go a step further I guess and cloak the link so the google bot sees a fatty content page.. iplists.com

  16. […] Shoemoney has written about a new AdSense quality score bot that will deal with arbitragers and made for AdSense (MFA) sites. Of course it’s no secret that Google has been working on a new bot to evaluate the quality of pages that host AdSense ads, people on the major webmaster forums have been discussing it. […]

  17. I thought Google should get rid of this ads for ads program because it does not serve the end user. But it just makes too much money so you hit the nail on the head when you said, “They are not going to block them…. Just charge them more”. Thank goodness their motto is don’t be evil and not don’t be greedy. But isn’t greedy, evil?

  18. Do I still have to disallow any directories or files in robot.txt if I mask my affiliate links using .htaccess?

  19. That is a good questions chad. but I think that tiny url is a 301 redirect which technically if they followed it would show the same… still better then straight affiliate links

  20. pertaining to this post you would only want to disallow your “jumpscript” if you will. If your using .htaccess then your sending a 301 redirect which for linking purposes might get you in trouble… but again better then linking directly.

  21. hmm adsense is like 90% of googles PROFIT. they are not going to abandon there cash cow 😉 Would you ?

  22. If my site already has a low landing page quality score, can I rework the the page to increase the score? Do I need to scrap the domain and go with a new URL?

  23. Google adwords just totally SUCKS! I’ve been running a campaign for months now and just a couple of days ago I added a few words to it and, boom, they started upping my bid prices by 50% to 100%. I must have tripped some filter because I’ve been running this campaign for more than 6 months. I can’t even get them to answer my emails. Google is evil!

  24. Just to be safe, I’ve hidden my links (.htaccess). I’ll let you know how the landing page takes the hit (if it does at all, 0 effect so far).

  25. Shoemoney, how do you mask your links if your landing page has Adsense? What strategy would you take?

  26. […] Well, Shoemoneys latest post explains “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 scoreâ€?. There is just to much money to be made right now in arbitrage and Google wants a bigger slice.” […]

  27. thats a good question… I think I would first try a new domain and see how it went. If all else fails new adwords account.

  28. I would not suggest cloaking and no use of the robots.txt for declining access to the specific files, as long as it looks for G like you have your affiliate links on another page than your landingpage you’re OK! Best is, if your affiliate links are far, far away from your original landing, i dont hide anything from google nor do i make use of robots.txt or some other methods and my average cpc got lowered after the recent algo change, even my rankings are better than before and my overall traffic has increased =)

  29. What if I am not doing a 301 redirect just temp redirect. Do you recommend doing it your way with that “jumpscript”. If so why? Thanks shoemoney!

  30. I’m a noob here, but does this apply to adwords that link straight to affiliate page (without landing page)?

  31. Arbitreurs and Affiliates Must Build Better Sites To Lower Costs…

    ShoeMoney, through a contact at Google, has confirmed that recent changes to AdWords are specifically aimed at arbitreurs and affiliates who buy pay-per-click traffic and send them to “low-quality” (in Google’s eyes) sites. The arbitreurs make their…

  32. […] Update: Just saw this article on ShoeMoney about how Google is going to try to combat the MFA sites using a quality score bot. We’ll have to wait and see if it works or not. Till then, I plan to continue using the AdsBlackList.com site for my competitive ads filter. […]

  33. was your close friend at google vague about specifics or are you being vague on what you’re passing on to the outside world? 🙂

  34. Google Adwords – It’s All Gone Pete Tong!…

    I think I picked a good time to redesign my website, as it looks like I may have had to make quite a few changes anyway! There’s been a lot of talk about Google changing the quality scoring for landing pages, mainly targeted at arbitragers (see the v….

  35. Internet is business. Websites are business. Landing pages sell products (otherwise who’d pay for PPC?).

    Does google honestly expect people to pay for PPC and provide free “informative” site that is not commercial or who’s sole purpose is to sell something? LoL

    They will never remove commercial sites that sell products, it’s just a nature of the game, especially that yahoo and msn are catching up.

  36. I have been hearing about $10 min bids in Adwords for some time now, but it had not affected me. Not sooner did I read this article, watch a few eps of this seasons LOST, did I see a bunch of $10 bids. LOL. Sheeeet. cart.php sounds about right to me.

  37. The term “CPA Arbitrage” is a little bit frustrating. It basically says that affiliates in general really aren’t welcome to advertise. Of course, I can get behind that from a user experience standpoint, but it’s just so hard to let go!

    Of course, it’s out of situations like this that opportunities for crafty people often arise!

  38. If I am using a clickbank affiliate link page, can the google bot crawl through that to see that the affiliate page has sufficient content on the page to make it have a quality score?

  39. If you have $10 ads you have been “slapped” becasue of low QS or poor click through rates. It can also happen if several affiliates use direct links. Or maybe Google just doesn’t like you!

    Good Luck!

  40. i always thought the purpose of adwords was to purchase advertising in order to sell a product, why should an affiliate be discriminated against. What the hell does Google want Adwords to be used for.

  41. The losing battle that Google and other SE’s will have is the affiliate marketing model is not going away. As Shoe noted in another entry, it is a beautiful dynamic for the businesses because they have fixed marketing costs. So they are not going to stop doing it, and risk the ups and downs of only running their own campaigns. So some middle ground is going to have to exist where affiliates can continue to succesful market on the search engines.

  42. Some people should consider taking off conversion tracking – If Google’s going to price gouge us, there’s no reason to make it any easier on them in determining who’s doing well with AdWords.

    I suppose if anyone plans on cloaking, consider sending your affiliate links to somewhere offsite for the redirection decision to made.

  43. I wonder why Google is concerning themselves with how users utilize Adwords to monetize their marketing efforts. Adwords have already become an over-priced platform with an hoard of invalid/fake clicks, so I assume this would make the Adwords platform less appealing if they increase your click price because the landing page contains affiliate or other PPC ads.

  44. I pulled conversion tracking off my sites about 7 months ago.

    Google wants to know everything about you and then they use it to raise prices- why give it to them.

    You think if they find out you’re paying $1 per click to sell a $2000 product they’ll let that slide?

    IMO this move is to soften people up for CPA- the totally invasive and final Google “slap” that will require advertisers to open their books totally to the Goog.

  45. […] ADDED: Jeremy Shoemaker posts that Google’s quality changes are especially intended to hit arbitrage users – ie, a business model that relies on paying for low-cost PPC keywords, to direct traffic to sites displaying high-paying PPC ads. >> Discuss this story in the Platinax Business Forums […]

  46. In response to Google’s new landing page split testing tool.

    Once again Google is providing tools that allow them to collect as much private company data from you as possible and close the customer loop.

    Just follow a typical surfer as he enters your site.

    Google Adwords – clicks and cost per conversion recorded

    Google Analytics – detailed click information recorded

    Google Website Optimizer – page elements recorded

    Google Checkout – product or service sales price recorded.

    Google now has your:

    * Avg bid price $.40
    * Avg blue widget cost per conversion $80.00
    * Avg sale price $120.00
    * YOUR PROFIT MARGIN $40.00

    Google now understands your ad budget, your cost per acquisition, product or service sale price, and detailed customer information.

    So with you and thousands of your competitors providing this free market data from advertising to sale, the loop is now closed, allowing Google to make arbitrary judgements on bid prices based upon the FREE and PRIVATE information you have provided.

    One can argue that the market will determine Adwords bid prices however we already know that with Google’s landing page quality update this is simply not true. Bid prices escalated dramatically for advertisers that were deemed unsatisfactory by Google’s standards.

    I would be very wary about providing so much private internal marketing data to a company that is charging you for advertising. As marketers we should know that providing your most intimate details for that “t-shirt” is simply not good business.

  47. Good post Jeremy. Also saw this coming for a while now. Arbitrage in general will still make webmasters millions a year (combined, not per webmaster), but now it will make the really lazy ones wisen up and do some real work. It’s not even all that much work, but it’s truly amazing to see how people can be so lazy when the chance to make so much goddamn cash is right in front of their faces, and all they have to do is be a little creative and spend a tad more time with their links. I’ll bet we’ll see lots of people all over the different forums bitching about this and how they never saw it coming either. Fools!

  48. Shoemoney: What about using CSS to make a page more relevant and maybe using text-indent, visible, display to hide text like navigation or h1 tags? Can google bot recognize these techniques?

  49. business in general IS arbitrage (buy lower, sell higher)

    of course it will make trillions a year lol

  50. What if you placed the contextual ads on your landing page inside a frame? Would the Google bot still see them?

    Thanks

    J

  51. […] 5) Shoemoney a scris un post pe acesta tema sub numele: “New Adwords Quality Score Bot Aims To Nuke Arbitragers” in care relateaza chiar si o discutie avuta cu un prieten din birourile AdWords pe aceasta tema. […]

  52. Lets learn how to run an affiliate campain with PPC shall we kids? - Page 4 - WickedFire - Internet Marketing Affiliate Webmaster Forum says:

    […] Originally Posted by juniodude so if you use php redirects, is that saying that you dont need to have a quality built site? if not, what does the php redirect do for you? Shoe explains it here. Search DP for masking affiliate links and you should find the code for it. __________________ Always Be Closing. Follow my progress- Call Me Dru. […]

  53. […] Google changes their algorithm for search, Google changes their PPC algorithm (and then lies to everyone), Yahoo changes their whole Search Marketing system. […]

  54. FANTASTIC! I love that your going to have to use cloaking a redirection now. Just makes the barrier to entry for new people, more complex.

  55. Wow…I have a lot of URLs to rewrite. 😉

    I can’t wait to see if my existing sites are effected after the which or if I will need to just use new domains.

  56. […] Looks like Google Adwords decided to do something about PPC Arbitrage as well as promoting CPA offers on landing pages with no or little content, webmasters who setup pages with their affiliate links or with contextial ads without any content will most likely be paying more per click, shoemoney covered this topic well on his blog post here. […]

  57. When changing your urls by using php to redirect affiliate links, what is the best way to write that php script? What I mean is what is the best method for redirecting, not for writing the script.

  58. What about GoTryThis. Has anyone used this redirect program? Is it any good, and would it work for CJ link redirects?

  59. What about the rest of us who use Adsense standard not premium?
    We can’t mess with the codes for cloaking… Does anybody have an idea or just wait for them to swallow us in full?

  60. actually I think using these services is a bad idea since they use a 301 redirect. Might as well be the regular link.

  61. ShoeMoney – Will the Real ShoeMoney Please Stand Up!…

    Anyone who has been around affiliate marketing for any length of time has probably heard of ShoeMoney at one point or another. Jeremy Shoemaker aka ShoeMoney is an affiliate marketer and has a podcast on Webmaster Radio called Net Income…….

  62. this whole page is funny…

    if there weren’t so many people creating sites with no content, and only adsense ads (so called mfa sites). using adwords to cheat people into going to their sites, so they can try and get rich quick for doing nothing isntead of getting fof their butts and finding a real job, none of this would even be a discussion.

    I personally know alot of people who use adwords to get trraffic to their sites, that dont display any ads at all. I also know people who use adsense for sites where they sell products. they are real sites, with real content, and a real purpose other than cheating people out of their money.

    As a publisher, i’m rather lucky with adsense.. I display the ads on pages with certain keywords and cotnent, and use the filter to block ‘mfa’ sites and sites that have nothing but links and no content (and no real purpose for those who visit them)

    I strongly back google on it’s quality bot for adwords subscribers, and having a human in the mix to make sure the system doesn’t confuse mfa sites with real sites. It may not be a perfect system, but it’s a start, and shows google is aware of the people who are trying to take advantage of it all.

    If you really want to make money from google adsense, and benefit from adwords advertising, make a real site, with quality content. Put some of the thought and energy being ut into making a nothing site to cheat the system into something people will want to visit, isntead of tricking them into it.

  63. […] I read this Shoemoney post on how Google was penalizing sites with a large number of affiliate links. […]

  64. […] 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 […] Read more… […]

  65. Cloaking Arbitrage Content to Avoid Smartpricing? - WickedFire - Internet Marketing Affiliate Webmaster Forum says:

    […] Clarification of Shoemoney’s Arbitrage Cloaking Sorry guys, I was a bit tired when I wrote this & went to bed early. What I meant was that I read the following post on Shoemoney’s site New Adwords Quality Score Bot Aims To Nuke Arbitragers especially the following quote Quote: […]

  66. What’s a good cloaking script? I use ccount, but don’t like the idea of a flat text database.

  67. In the past search engines have had trouble executing javascript. If CJ is still worth using, based on your recent post a big if, then would using their javascript URLs be a quick and simple way around having too many outbound affiliate links?

  68. I’m new to this adwords and affiliate stuff. I set up an ad. Everything worked well. When I logged back in, my keywords jumped to $10! This may sound like a stupid question, but hopefully you will see me ignorant of the terminology and how the internet works. My question is: Does the dramatic increase of my cost of keywords have anything to do with the arbitrage and adsense stuff you are talking about? The site I am affiliated to does not have any ads.
    I’m trying to make adwords work, but I’m failing miserably. My husband is ready to strangle me because I keep trying, but if everyone else is making money, then I can too.

  69. […] Back in November, Shoemoney recommended that everyone needs to mask their affiliate links in order to avoid penalites by Google Adwords or MSN AdCenter. Although he provided a quick example, it is quite obvious that lots of people still don’t understand how to perform this task (just take a look at all of these threads on Digital Point). […]

  70. […] Wall Street reports that Google recently changed their internal focus from deploying more products to improving core services and making them integrate better with each other. You can read the subtext here: improve the quality of their core products, and their central product is search. They’ve also turned attention to the quality of pages that the ads running on their network are linked. Jeremy Shoemacher (aka “Shoemoney”) and others have only just reported that Google is now rating the Quality of AdWords landing pages. (Read the AdWords blog entry on the subject, too.) This is another indicator of their dedication to the quality of user experience — they’re essentially penalizing their advertisers who have lower quality. […]

  71. […] any code that could be attributed to an affiliate network or PPC Search Engine – use a simple java script redirect for affiliate […]

  72. […] New Adwords Quality Score Bot Aims To Nuke Arbitragers – ShoeMoneyâ„¢ (tags: adwords) […]

  73. […] about all his posts, but some are more useful to internet marketers than others. Jeremy goes over cloaking and Google’s Quality score which was a huge blow to a lot of affiliate marketers. He also explains why affiliates are so […]

  74. […] about all his posts, but some are more useful to internet marketers than others. Jeremy goes over cloaking and Google’s Quality score which was a huge blow to a lot of affiliate marketers. He also explains why affiliates are so […]

  75. […] If you have some experience in affiliate marketing you know why is so important to cloak mask your affiliate links from bots and humans. If not you can find some info here. […]

  76. IT is funny how sooo many Ads are out to sell you a systeme that Google is trying to kill. Promising you riches and gems and sharks with Lasers…

  77. […] If you have some experience in affiliate marketing you know why is so important to cloak mask your affiliate links from bots and humans. If not you can find some info here. […]

  78. 21 Shortcuts - Arbitrage, Google + Tempo, SEO Tools, Blogger Ethik, 4 SEO Tipps, Keyword Tool, Quaero, Webkataloge etc … | SEO BLOG says:

    […] demnach deutlich anspruchsvoller gestalten und die Affiliate-Links maskieren … via shoemoney.com… Nachtrag 26.11.2006: JoJo hat eine Möglichkeit beschrieben, Affiliate Links zu […]

  79. Happiness is very much like an arrow through air. It happens at the weirdest, unexpected moments, but it’s also very much a mental state. Like this guy says, “Happiness at work is an emotion – an internal state. You feel it or you don’t.

  80. Your job is important to us. We are a fast response plumbing repair company and we do our best to attend your job on the same day you call. Where this is not possible we will attend on the following day.

  81. what’s up! Linkbuck and adfly was pretty good in the past but a lot of people are moving to bee4biz. They pay way better and you get paid for each unlocked link too. I started making at least 220% more after switching to bee4biz. take it easy! PS: your page is loading a bit slow this morning

Comments are closed.