Google cracks down on made-for-adsense sites, but will this extend to domain parking pages? If we don’t police ourselves…
The internet marketing community was abuzz this past month as Google sent notices to some of its Adsense publishers informing them that their accounts were being terminated. The crackdown was against publishers with so-called “Made for Adsense” networks. These sites include very little content — much of it “scraped” — and the sole purpose is to get visitors to click on Adsense ads. Many of these sites were advertised in Google’s (NASDAQ: GOOG) Adwords program. Advertisers would pay a few cents for clicks from Adwords and make a bit more when visitors clicked ads. Google’s theory is that this doesn’t provide a good user experience.
In this case Google was cutting off the revenue at the publisher side. It has also taken steps to stop advertising of arbitrage sites on Adwords. (By manually stepping in Google appears to be saying that it can’t solve the problem with technology and had to resort to manual methods.)
Is Google right? Does pay-per-click arbitrage and made-for-adsense sites provide a poor user experience?
Sometimes it does.
If you’re a Gmail user then you’re probably familiar with the ads Google shows at the top of Gmail. Here’s an example:
If you click on this ad you expect to find a company that provides same-day Nevada limited liability formation services. You also expect it to be a reputable firm that was featured in USA today.
Not so. If you click the ad you’ll end up at a domain parking page:
The parking page is hosted by Hitfarm and belongs to a company in Minnesota. (All of the examples in this article appear to be the same group and hosted at Hitfarm.)
If the ad read “Information about forming an LLC in Nevada” then it would have been more accurate, but the ad clearly tries to trick people into thinking they are going to a business’ site.
Here are some other examples:
You won’t find any comparison shopping at this parking page!
Notice the misspelling of “intelligence”.
Sorry, no 50% off webhosting offer at this site.
There are legitimate ways to advertise a parking page if it results in good returns to advertisers and doesn’t involve trickery. In fact, domain parking company Parked allows you to advertise parked pages on Google and Yahoo. But Parked won’t let you advertise them with misleading ads.
It’s misleading ads and games like this that give the domain parking business a bad name…and could ruin it for legitimate domain owners.