Link Love and Adsense Arbitrage

I wasn’t going to do this, but for the sake of the project ….

I’ve begun a new project with some inspiration from a fellow MindPetal blogger/entrepreneur, Robert DeVore. The inspiration came from DollarExposure, and is most simply termed “Adsense Arbitrage“.

What’s “Adsense Arbitrage”?

To start let’s take a high level view of what AdSense arbitrage is and how it works. The basic principle is to pay for a low price for keyword in an advertising program like AdWords, Overture Yahoo Search Marketing, or MSN AdCenter and direct users to a page with AdSense or another contextual advertising program on it that has higher payout. You can either bid low on the same term, looking for keywords with a large bid gap (more on that later) or you can bid on very specific keywords with little competiton and drive them to page with ads for a more general and competitive term.

Greywolf’s SEO Blog

Ethics of Adsense Arbitrage

I’ve never been one to really think of this as a way to make money. For some reason, it just doesn’t seem legit. But, the more I think of it, the more sense it makes, under certain conditions.

I have a feeling ad arbitrage isn’t thought of too highly in many circles. I think the reasons are relatively unfounded. The few things that made me feel uneasy were:

  1. Putting up stupid/bad/unhelpful content just to get people to click on an ad
  2. It feels like stealing from the person who put up their advertisement on Google’s Adwords
  3. Anything this easy has got to be wrong in some way

Well, I’ve made an adjustment or two to the typical arbitrage, some with DeVore’s help, and come to the conclusion that it’s not all bad.

  1. I’m actually going to use decent content. Something of value to the visitor, and more than one page of it too.
  2. Every retailer and wholesaler works exactly the same way in terms of buying low and selling high.
  3. Just because it’s “easy” doesn’t mean it’s wrong. Find a better reason.

Beyond the Ethics

Now that I’ve gotten past the ethics issue, on to the business of it. I’m still learning, but I have a few tricks up my sleeve too (being as I have years of experience on the SEO bit).

DeVore wrote on his blog:

This website will chronicle my journey to making 1,000 websites that each make $1.00 per day! The idea isn’t new, but to me, its a goal I plan on achieving. This goal will come from 1,000 websites that have NO traffic unless they are from SE’s. I already have a couple with #1 rankings in google, and a few sites close to the $1.00 per day goal already.

ust do the quick math on DeVore’s attempt. If it actually works for him, he’ll have somewhat-passive income coming in of $30,000 per MONTH. Not per year, folks. Per month.

And, now that I’ve actually created about 6 sites, I can tell you, it’s not difficult to replicate and make something that big happen. I would be happy with about 200 sites or so. That would give us a livable wage. At least where my wife would not have to work. She would be able to follow her dreams – and that’s a novel goal.

So, 200 sites it is.

With a little limon twist

DeVore is using a small twist on the typical arbitrage model. He’s not paying for his placement. I like that idea because I don’t like money going out, especially for an attempt at a novice project like this. The bill could get run up pretty quickly, and the checks won’t show up for at least a month after the invoice is due.

So, he is buying up .info domains for about $3 a pop. I am going to try subdomains (free). Both of us are attempting SEO strictly by counting on people misspelling words, phrases, and names. We’re both attempting the celebrity names for starters, although I think we could do better by trying other things (DeVore already has started doing this).

I started as a WordPress MU installation, chose a theme that I think (1) is decent looking (not sure if this is a good thing or a bad thing in this business), (2) has space for advertisements, and (3) can easily be judged as a valid website, rather than an obvious attempt at arbitrage without added value.

I suppose I’ll keep you all updated on how this little side project goes, if you’d like (leave a comment, please).

So far, the site hasn’t even been indexed yet and it’s been 3 days since the beginning of the project. I pinged google yesterday with a few sites, so hopefully it starts working soon.

If you have any questions, comments, or advice about how to go about this to make it a success, I’m all ears.

Side Note: I haven’t gotten the subdomains working properly quite yet. I think it will take some .htaccess hacking to get just right. But, for the time being, here’s a few of the sites I started:

(update: site has been repurposed)

[tags]adsense, arbitrage, popularize, celebrities, misspellings[/tags]

Nate Ritter lives in the Pacific Northwest (U.S.), popularized the #hashtag and creates web applications for a living. He also does miles and point hacking to enable cheap travel for his family. More here →

25 Comments on "Link Love and Adsense Arbitrage"

  1. Ahoy Matey says:

    There are quite a few holes in your approach. I think you\’ll find out in a few months that your SEO \”experience\” is much less than you thought. Good luck gaming the engines. I can already tell you that your strategy is set to fail.

  2. nate says:

    Are you just a hater, or can you be a little more specific? How/why is my strategy set to fail? Do you have any experience in SEO, yourself?

    Ok, let’s just put this out there for now. I really do want constructive criticism. “Constructive” being the key word here. If you’re just trolling your comment will be deleted.

  3. Andrew says:

    You’ll be lucky to see $0.02/day, which (with 200 sites) I guess is still a whole whopping $120/mo. But why not just have one good idea, avoid being riddled with ethical contradictions, and risk wasting time and reputation?

  4. nate says:

    Ok, I understand the ethical questions, which I thought I had discussed lightly. Are there some others I’m missing?

    Going the one good idea route seems all nice and pure, but the problem is it takes time to build, people to help, etc. And then, once you’re done, you are forced to maintain it. Flipping is just the digital world of manual labor. Almost anything else I can think of requires plenty of resources. I’m trying to use my personal resources as efficient as possible without.

  5. Web Enterpriser says:

    I’d suggest focusing on one site and build from there. Look at the Roman Empire…when you become too big, it’s very difficult to remain in control and successful.

  6. nate says:

    That’s a good tip Web Enterpriser. I appreciate your response.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Man, I applaud anyone who will try something new but when I go to a site about angelina jolie i expect to at least SEE a picture of her, but you have none; come on give some eye candy to spur me on with some bikini clicks!

  8. I am just now getting into the website adsense game. I am designing a site concept that will hopefully incorporate a little of your concept, but with a little of my own. I want to create a public interest site around hobby article content. Does anyone know how to incorporate a blog on everypage of your website? If it has say 100 pages or more? Or should it be a forum, concept.

  9. nate says:

    You got it. I’ve been thinking of putting a few photos up. Give me a few days and I’ll have some lovin’ there for ya.

    I’m not sure what you mean by “incorporate a blog on every page of your website”. A blog is a type of website. Can you be a little more specific as to what you want from your visitors/users?

  10. nate says:


    Here you go man:

    Check out the photos section.

  11. littlemoney says:

    i’ll check it out.thanksssssssss

  12. nate says:

    Update: This domain has been repurposed. Links have been changed to point to the main site. I think you’ll find this version of the site (1) more entertaining and (2) a little more on the positive side of the ethics question.

    But, I haven’t given up on the money side of things yet. I now have a team of 3 (including myself) blogging there. Please, enjoy the humor and fun.

  13. mj says:

    want to take advantage of this idea? common mispells are a good idea, randomly generated content is what works best with interlaced keywords. unless like you said you still want to stick to’real content’ and avoid ‘real money’. easily enough you could produce a stack of 200 sites generating atleast $1 a day a piece. I’d like to thank the fine folks in Turkey for clicking their way to buying me a new Silverado.

  14. nate says:


    what do you mean by randomly generated content? I’m relatively new to the space, so any definitions or “how to”s come in handy not only for me, but for my readers.


  15. mj says:

    nate, look up “content spooler”.. it takes an article and based on keywords changes it around to make upwards of 1000 articles from the same content giving you around 1000 UNIQUE pages with similar keywords. pushing you up in the SERPs. OR you could make a meta SE like ( ) and allow the quereies made by users gen content for you.

  16. nate says:

    mj, looks interesting. I’ve never seen those before – although I have to admit, having been in the web biz for 10+ years, I figured they probably did. The content spooler seems interesting. I’m amazed that kind of thing still works. But, I guess it does mainly because information workers haven’t figured out the reverse the content spoolers and take that into consideration.

    I guess content spoolers and meta SEs aren’t bad, but they don’t necessarily add a ton of value, especially in the long term. The content spoolers fix the problem with getting search engine rankings for a site/domain. And the SEs are one of a few options to solve what to do with the visitor when they come. Overall, though, I think it would probably a three punch knockout if you had a great domain name (one people typed in directly instead of relying on search engines). Wouldn’t you agree?

  17. nate says:

    So I’ve looked around a bit, and I think I’m going to try my hand at a WordPress blog with a content spinner. The thing is, I haven’t seen any plugins for content spinning/spooling that go with WordPress. Do you have any links to share in that regard? Or any other suggestions?

  18. nate says:

    Yea, I doubt that’s gonna happen anyway. I’ll believe it when I see it.

  19. mj says:

    yeah andrew, they might do something against large scale arbitrage sites, but average joe making $1-$2k a month will go untouched IMO so long as they have other legitamate domains pulling reasonable traffic. Also, i believe they are targeting Adsense Publishers publishing for the same keywords that they are advertising in Adwords. hence the arbitrage. What we are talking about, is MFA sites with good SEO and zero adwords spending

  20. Aequitas says:

    Nice post about Arbi but something caught my attention and that was the name DeVore, what a small place the internet has become that I would come across that name once again.

    If its the same person I know he is a scam artist and has made a lot of people mad with not following through on the work that has been paid for, but I’m not here to pick on or attack anyone I’m just here to check out the other blogs and see the what level of content people are pushing out these days.

    Good work by the way you’r up their but not at the top yet, although I shouldn’t speak I’m no where near the top right now.

  21. nate says:

    Thanks for the comment Aequitas. I haven’t bought anything from DeVore, so I wouldn’t know about him too much. I was just trying the tactics he had blogged about, and it seemed like they took too long and weren’t completely doable so far. I’m trying some modifications of them, but I don’t know yet.

    As for being at the top, I’m ok if this blog isn’t exactly there yet. But, I surely don’t mind it either. :)

  22. James Wayt says:

    There are so many different programs being offered to make money with Adsense and Adwords it’s hard to decide which way to go. At least is was for me. However I found one I decided to try that is now actually providing me with a regular monthly income. What I have learned is that you simply have to decide to try “something” and then commit yourself 100%. My biggest problem was that I found myself jumping from program to program. I finally realized I was not going to get anywhere this way. That would be my advice to everyone. Pick a program, commit and execute. If you don’t get the results you are looking for then begin the process again until you find your success. Best of luck to you!

  23. nate says:

    James, thanks for your advice. I appreciate it, and I’m sure others who read this post will as well.

  24. nate says:

    Regarding James’ comment, I wrote another article that has to do with sticking through. I think there’s some insight you might like over on my article about Free Book Fridays in relation to not giving up until you hit a criteria you’ve already planned and thought about.

    (Side note to “Jackie Ford @ Cpxclick”, I deleted your comment because it was spam. If you want to comment on my blog, be thoughtful and helpful. Otherwise, pay me to put an ad here. Your comment about context is quite ironic in this case… spammer).

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