GrayWolf and Shoemoney on Arbing


Michael and Jeremy are both on Forbes talking about Arbing and how Google has changed the PPC Arb business for some whilst still leaving it for others.

Google giveth, and Google taketh away. Kris Jones’ shopping-review Web site,, used to earn $15,000 to $20,000 a month by drawing traffic with Google advertising and linking customers with online merchants. Then one day last July, Jones got an unpleasant surprise: Google hiked his advertising price rates from about 35 cents per click to $10.


Shoe throws down the

Shoe throws down the gauntlet.

Schoemaker insists he and others have in fact found a way to circumvent the crackdown. He says he uses techniques like “cloaking” to fool Google’s algorithm. Arbitrageurs know the search engine’s IP addresses, the fingerprints that reveal the source of any Web page visitor. So Schoemaker says he sets his web pages to automatically display legitimate content to the Google spider, while giving other users the ad-filled arbitrage page. Schoemaker says that makes him virtually immune to Google’s quality-regulation measures.

Google's my beyotch!

Yeah, that's quite a beyotch slap. Though it raises an interesting point. Gotta be careful about cloaking your main sites because there might be a hand review and resulting deindexing. But would they/do they bother checking adsense sites for something like this? Who would even know?

And more importantly, what are those 'other techniques'? Cough up, shoemoney :).


Shoemoney - "You've heard the saying, 'Give a man a fish and he'll eat for a day, teach a man to fish and he'll eat for life'. I believe if you teach a man to fish, he'll steal your fish!"

Comment on Seomoz post 'Overheard at SES Chicago'

Will Google make an example of Shoe... they did the E of G a few months back? Poor Earl.


Manually Checking for Cloaking

I thought I remember Jen saying something about manual adwords checks. If they where not already checking for cloaking at the same time, I'm sure they might start now. It's not to hard when you can pull up what Google sees to compare to what the reviewer is seeing.

Also, I know someone posted some ips that Google was using to spider adsense pages that where not identified as G's bots.

I know they manually check

I know they manually check landing pages, so even if cloaking worked, I imagine it wouldn't work for long, jmo.

No need for manual check

I've never understood how cloaking could work if any of the search engines decided they wanted to crack down on it. All Google would have to do is spider a site with a bot using an IP address that isn't listed on the various cloaking IP lists. How hard would it be for Google to buy a previously-unused range of IP addresses and spoof Googlebot's user agent? Not hard at all, and this is all they would have to do to detect cloaked sites.

I have no doubt that arbitrageurs are making money, but I have trouble getting my head around the claim that they're maximizing profits by fooling Google with cloaking. If cloaking does indeed work --- and by that I mean cloaking actually fools the Google --- it would seem that it only does so because Google really doesn't care. In the case of arbitrage, this might actually be the case. The dirty little secret is that as all the arbitrageurs laugh their way to the bank, so do the search engines...

Contrary to the official line, the Quality Score is not about stopping arbitrage. It's about increasing revenue.

Red herring

"if you teach a man to fish, he'll steal your fish!"

If Shoe said and feels that way do you really think he would tell everyone how he is playing the game?

The best tips are found between the scoffing of the pros.

Spoofing Googlebot?

Why would Google spoof Googlebot's user agent from a different block of IPs?

They know that many of us BLOCK Googlebot when it comes from a different IP address and just recently told us how to validate Googlebot with DNS:

NEXT theory that won't float....

Cloaking landing pages

they manually check landing pages, so even if cloaking worked, I imagine it wouldn't work for long

Google do manually review ads and landing pages, but it's far from instantaneous. On Monday, I noticed an AdWords ad cloaked by user agent for a highly competitive (and banned by AdWords T+Cs) site.

The ad came down today. I suspect the advertiser was $1000s up and one AdWords account down, given how blatant the deception was.

Why would Google spoof

Why would Google spoof Googlebot's user agent from a different block of IPs?

If you were Google and you wanted to know which sites were cloaking their AdWords landing pages and which were not, how would you do it?

Good Cloaking...

Is a lot more than IP delivery...

IP delivery + useragent + reverse ip lookup + referer + javascript + cookies + ip history (on your site(s)) can all be employed at onces to determine whether or not a visitor is a bot or a person.

Additionally, while it would not be hard for Google to purchase a new set of IPs, they would have to double-cache the entire web with a bot that mimics a browser (complete with javascript) to effectively combat cloaking. This would be a massive undertaking and probably cost in the billions.

Cloaking is here to stay.

AdWords Landing Pages != Whole Web

There would be no need for Google to "double cache" the entire web in order to detect cloaking on AdWords landing pages? Google could easily create a bot that has all the capabilities of a regular browser, then sick that bot on every new AdWords landing page as ads are approved. Automated detection of the presence of cloaking on AdWords landing pages would be trivial. If people are getting away with cloaking their landing pages, it seems logical that Google simply doesn't care.

Toolbar Data

Has to be handy in comparing the experience of a user vs the experience of the bots but then you can always check cloak for the toolbar too :). Totally cat and mouse forever.

"Google hiked his

"Google hiked his advertising price rates from about 35 cents per click to $10."

Well, Google is not condemning the practice only upping the ante.
An expensive slap on the wrist, an attention getting crop to the haunches but not a ban!

Forbes misrepresented his interview

Shoemoney has a reply to the interview which gives it some perspective.
Read it here.

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