Google Shuts Down Arbitrage and MFA Publishers

I talked about Making Money With Arbitrage in my last post and I touched on the fact that some people may see it as “shady”. Like it or not, arbitrage has a negative stigma. Based on the comments on my last post we have people on both sides of it. But it looks like the most important opinion is out in the open: Google’s opinion.

Unless you’ve been in a cave the last day or so, you’ve probably noticed the amount of talk on Google’s decision to disable publisher accounts of those who are engaged in arbitrage and MFA (made for Adsense). They seem to be going after the bigger fish in this market and accounts have already been shut down and given notice that by June 1st their accounts till be terminated. Though they are going to pay these publishers as per their agreement this sends a loud and clear message: Adsense Arbitrage and MFA sites are not ok according to Google. So if it wasn’t clear before, it is now.

If other PPC providers don’t follow suit it could mean more money for them as these sites shift to using those providers. On the Google Asense side it could mean more dollars in normal publishers pockets as advertising money isn’t being quickly gobbled up by highly optimized arbitrage and MFA sites.

What do you think about Google’s decision?

H/T to Matthew for the link.

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  • http://www.ryanprice.ca Ryan Price

    It makes sense to me. Google is already displaying what its algorithms deem the most suitable ads to its users based on their search. I, for one, tend to trust that their algorithms are fairly optimized.

    The sites are making money in this manner change the keywords on their site to display higher-priced ads. This is essentially just altering the user’s search and therefore providing them with information that is less useful compared to those that would’ve appeared on the original search page.

  • LYM.randy

    While I’m sure google didnt do this for moral reasons, Arbitrage as a theory IN TOTAL is WRONG (by most extended european reason and logic based systems of morality).
    Your supposed to make money by being productive…even art properly seen is supposed to add to the cultural education of man, thus improving society. It doesnt matter how hard you work at it, or how much you perceive all parties involved benefit.

    Think of it this way: I’m the US money supply. All productivity and consumption levels affect the value and integrity of who I am. If 2% of me is circulating in the black market involved in narcotics, that’s effectively a form of artificial inflation, because the activity does not reflect investment return and added value.

    This actually happened to nations like France and Italy a few decades back, when so much of the franc and lira was being speculated against overseas. This caused enormous unfair inflation to a currency whose domestic economic policy was quite sound.

    Blah /rant off
    apologies from an econ geek,
    LYM.randy

  • haidoura

    i think Google has found that there is a huge amount of money has been blocked or in other mean has been excluded out of their MFA / Arbitrage service & was went to the publishers accounts in an expected way..

    so from a business prospective i found google’s step normal trying to avoid huge amount of this money leak.. but for a publisher its unfair cause he joined this service in a legal way and used this system.
    so if google stopped it , i think the publishers should ask Google, to pay at least their lost money expectations

  • http://www.SitePoint.com Matt Mickiewicz

    About time!

    I’m sick and tired of seeing these MFA sites which add no value to anyone (besides their owner) and which clutter search results on Technorati and other search engines and fill the web with duplicate, useless, or outright stolen content.

    I only wish Blogger and its competitors would be more aggressive in cracking down on the MFA blogs that seem to sprout up like weeds.

  • Anonymous

    Arbitrage is not wrong per se. Although in this case it may be immoral. In financial markets arbitrage keeps markets in check, its a good thing, and ensures that the price you pay in london is equivilent to the price you pay in london. So lets not throw the baby out with the bath water. Arbitrage can eliminate information asymetrys, and that is usually a good thing, and it often (unlocks latent value, although it may not directly create it).

    Financial markets are arbitrage.

  • Anonymous

    err, the price you pay in chicargo is the price you pay in london perhaps….

  • agentforte

    I agree with Google’s decision.
    Arbitrage is sleezy. (not stupid, sleezy… like immoral talent agencies that make you pay them in advance for the chance to get a job. They only care about their own hides and say “screw you” to the artist or in this case, advertising business)

    I explained a few points on how this is true. See my post on
    (posted May 25)

    -Frank

  • Steve

    With all this talk about Google banning MFA sites, I have to also wonder about how this will affect blogs. I searched for “google, mfa” in Google’s search box. I have now read over 10 blogs that have pretty much the same content….some that are pretty much cut and paste posts which add little value. More than a few of these blogs run Adsense as well. There’s a lot of redundant content on the blogosphere as well. Some bloggers best skill seems to be ” copy and paste”.

  • LYM.randy

    saying that arbitrageurs help market equilibrium, is like praising the charles manson for alleviating the concern of overpopulation. First off, being twenty something, I can honestly say I never asked for radically free markets, and I certainly did not ask for unregulated, floating exchange rates. Secondly, assuming that I DID want open markets and values for everything determined by a supply and demand marketplace, how does an inadvertant side effect make the fundamental premise behind anything, OK? I’m curious how many arbitrageurs really were inspired by the wish to create market efficiency. :/

    -Randy

  • Publisher

    June !st was a flop. If Google killed off a few MFAS, then no one will notice because there are armies of them left behind that are regrouping and stepping up. If I was an Advertiser the last place I would want my ad to appear would be an MFA.