Does filtering MFA sites helps?

When I first heard about Emir Pilavdzic’s project – adsblacklist.com, I was a bit sceptical. Even though I did hear some positive feedback on the results, I had my own reasons not to trust his filter. First – his previous website was banned, together with his entire AdSense account, so naturally you want to ask – “he got banned himself, how trustworthy are his advices?”. Secondly, those who know how AdWords advertisers’ bid works, know that MFA (Made For AdSense) websites cannot possibly get through irrelevant keywords with a low paying bid. Lastly, even if we assume that low paying keywords somehow did bypass the high paying ones, and got displayed though your code, filtering them will result in other irrelevant ads displayed, and even if the bid for them will be higher, what’s the use, if on a tutorial’s page you have an adverts for digital cameras? How fat is the chance that they will be clicked? These questions worried me and I decided not to give up to the massive “Filter-mania” and leave the ads the way they are, but…

Then, a week ago, I have received a warning from AdSense, where they asked me to commit some changes in one of my websites in order to comply with the TOS (it has nothing to do with a filter, just the visual appearance). Since I was already about to make massive changes I thought let’s look into this whole MFA sites thing again. I noticed that some URL’s indeed point to totally pointless and unrelated websites. It was obvious that some advertisers just spam the high paying keywords, creating these “contentless” websites just until their first payout, then disappear and make a new site, on an .info domain. Why .info? Because they are dead cheap, additionally to all.

Anyway. After asking for an advice on a few webmasters forums and receiving my blessing, I added 160 urls to my filter. Some were generated with a bit of help from adsblacklist.com, others collected from my own experience.

The result:

  • The amount of clicked halved, together with the revenue. I am serious.
  • Some ads are now totally ineffective (i.e. non-related to the content).
  • I still do get .01$ clicks.

This is was my objective impression after 2 days, and I was already about to delete the entire filter list, but then I stopped and thought that one week of lower revenue won’t hurt me, let’s leave it for a week and see where and how it goes. I can’t say that my CTR changed, neither did eCPM. The only change I noticed was that if beforehand i could roughly estimate the earnings judging by the CTR / eCPM, now I cannot, as every day brings its own surprise.

The bottom line is, I run AdSense on over 12 websites, most of which are related to webmasters and tutorials, however some deal with art, history, freebies, articles, SEO, and other services. None of the sites were specifically targeted for HPK (High Paying Keywords) so maybe I can’t complain about having 1-cent-clicks in the first place, however, I can say with full confidence that filtering low paying adverts did not increase my revenue at all. I know I am going to raise a riot here; so many people are thanking adblacklist.com with tears in their eyes for 200% increasement in their revenue… I believe it may be effective on some sites, but it was not on mine. Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against Emir and his project, on a contrary, he is doing a wonderful job, all I am saying is that it is not a magic stick that works for everyone. I’d be curious to find out why I did not accomplish any boost myself, though I am guessing it has to do with the keywords in the first place.

Just from briefly going over the BlackList I can undertake that this list would work best for Travel, Hosting, Education, Topsites, Search, Directories, eCommerce and Online Revenue. Try it, maybe it will do wonders on your account. It is not against AdSense TOS, so don’t have any doubts there. Myself, I did keep the ads filter on because it prevents my visitors from been redirected to some garbage websites without content. At least now that I have tried and found out that filtering MFA sites at best keeps my income stable, I wouldn’t envy those happy webmasters who had the guts to try and proudly announced a “mere” 400% boost in their clicks cost.

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5 Responses

  1. Vincent says:

    I myself do filter MFA sites. One of the reason is obvious, to have higher paying ads, which I’m still not sure if it really works until now. The reason I still filter MFA sites even I’m in doubt is to prevent junk site’s ads to appear on my sites. This might hurt my site’s reputation and visitors might learn that all links are the same and won’t bother to look at them anymore.

  2. Vyoma says:

    I am still not sure how those low paying Ads win the bid against the high paying ones and come up on our pages. I mean, the different ads compete for a place on our page, and the highest bidder gets the impression on our pages. How is it going to decrease our revenue by not blocking these MFA sites?

    Ofcourse, I would block them, if I have to consider what I am serving to my visitors. Most of my visitors do know that the ads are ads and the content is my responsibility. But, may be, later when visitor base increases to those with lesser knowledge, I would require to block these MFA sites.

    But in terms of revenue, I do not see how these low bidding ads even come on our pages. Any relavations you want to share, Lorelei?

  3. admin says:

    Yes Vince, the problem with MFA sites is that new ones pop-up every week, and if you want to keep up with the filter, you have to keep track with them and check the URL’s on a weekly basis. If it really effects the revenue I believe it’s worth it, but like in my and your case it does not worth the hassle.

  4. in some ways it helps but you might filter out those legit ads too.

  1. March 10, 2009

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