Friday, December 09, 2005

AdWords Quality Ending Arbitrage?

Google sent some shockwaves thru the AdWords community yesterday claiming that they're going to base how much advertisers are charged on the quality of the landing page! The reason for this change is described as how Google is trying to "improve our users' experience" and rambles on about people not finding what they're looking for when clicking on an ad.

So what exactly does this mean?

If you land on a page full of Google ads, affiliate banners and links is that not what the user is looking for?

Big shock.

Perhaps Google is targeting the most heinous of the misleading landing pages where the user clicks an ad for "Baby Stollers" and lands on a page for those high paying mesothelioma ads.

To clarify what is meant by a quality landing page there's this nifty new web design tips page that makes it all as clear as mud. What you really have to love is that Google has raised the bar of ambiquity to an art form so they can charge whichever advertisers they want whatever they want or drop them altogether as the guidelines are meaningless.

Considering advertisers don't spend money unless they're making money in return (ROI) the misleading landing pages would seem to cause their own demise from being economically impractical. Therefore, these so-called misleading landing pages must be converting visitors by getting them to do something that the advertiser wants. The only thing that comes to mind is AdSense and affiliate arbitrage where an ad drives someone to a web page with nothing the visitor is directly looking for except more ads to click on that will theoretically get them to the actual products, goods and services.

Well, what's wrong with that?

Arbitrage, for those of you new to the concept, is when an inexpensive ad is purchased to direct visitors to a page or website full of better paying ads. For instance, the advertiser pays $0.05 to get a visitor to click on someone else's ad paying $1.00 and gets the profit share from AdSense.

More importantly, at some level these arbitrage advertisers may be performing a valuable service to get visitors to the right advertisers, as their bids are too low to compete and display on the same page, meaning these visitors are already landing in the wrong place when looking for something.

The only thing to do is wait and see how these new cryptic rules will be applied but it appears that AdSense arbitrage, unless being done extremely well, may be heading for the history books.

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