MFA (Made for AdSense) is the past. Say hullo to MFL (Made for Linkbait)

18 Jan
2007

After Google’s AdSense had been out for a few months, the complaints started. People were building skeleton sites and throwing on AdSense on the site, trying to milk as much money as possible. These sites were nicknamed ‘Made for Adsense’ (MFA) and were generally frowned on. A Google search for Made for Adsense incidentally has a Wikipedia entry on scraper sites as the #1 result. Definitely not a popular concept.

But MFAs are in the past. The problem is they require too much effort – sure people are still doing it and making money, but there is a better alternative now.

Made for Linkbait (MFL).

I’ve covered shortcomings of user-generated content sites like Digg before. I’ve pointed out how people quickly jump on a bandwagon without checking facts. It seems one of the first things to go with user-generated content is fact-checking.

And so we have sites that spring up overnight with some sensational headline, grab a ton of links, and then a few months later either have ads thrown all over them or are redirected to another site for SEO-benefits (after gaining a few hundred diverse links).

Just today I saw three perfect examples:

http://automen.blogspot.com/index.html
http://iphonesucks.blogspot.com/
http://bestbuyscam.blogspot.com/

This has been happening for a while. But in the last month it has gotten worse, and it is really starting to appear everywhere now. All these sites follow classic linkbaiting hooks. And while the three links I mentioned were all from Digg, Reddit, Delicious, and the rest all suffer from the same problem.

MFA sites were a problem, but they were Google’s (and Yahoo’s and MSN’s and Ask’s) problem. MFL is a problem for all bloggers. And it is only going to get worse.

8 Responses to MFA (Made for AdSense) is the past. Say hullo to MFL (Made for Linkbait)

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Frank

January 18th, 2007 at 11:15 pm

Hi mate, nice article.

I have to admit that I use digg very little now in favour of reddit, and, like you, enjoy using del.icio.us. I have also noticed some change in copy on forums etc. with more and more attention grabbing headlines etc. etc. But if something is shite and lacking substance then I am just not going to link to it, or digg it or whatever. I hope that this problem sorts itself out.

Do you think it will?

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Chris

January 19th, 2007 at 11:18 am

Not sure those are the best examples, at least for the bestbuyscam site. There are no ads, so what benefit would there be for the webmastrer to attempt link baiting?

Seems silly.

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Ahmed

January 20th, 2007 at 12:12 pm

Frank – I don’t know. Call me jaded, but after the entire Apple/Muslim bandwagon effect, I’m not very hopeful. At the same time, a lot of Diggers are becoming more and more jaded – so we will see :)

Chris – that is the entire point – no ads for now (as most Diggers/Redditers/etc don’t click on ads anyway). After a few months, the MFL creator either 1) Redirects the site to another page for search engine juice or 2) Plasters ads and reaps the benefits then.

Having ads at the time of the baiting can set off alarms. By adding them on later, it is easier to get through people’s ‘bullshit’ detector.

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Avoiding Information Overload - Tech Soapbox

January 20th, 2007 at 4:07 pm

[...] The amount of information whirring around is manic. Furthermore, information is agnostic in value – it can be useful, not useful, it can be true, it can be false, and it can be a combination of all four. [...]

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  MFA Declining, MFL the New “It” Thing? by Blogging Pro

January 20th, 2007 at 4:34 pm

[...] Our sister blog, TechSoapBox has put up a post regarding made for adsense sites, also known as just MFA sites, have started to be replaced by MFL sites, or made for linkbait. A Google search for Made for Adsense incidentally has a Wikipedia entry on scraper sites as the #1 result. Definitely not a popular concept. [...]

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Social Bookmarking Tool

January 21st, 2007 at 9:20 pm

everyone is rushing towards MFL sites…I prefer going the opposite way..where it is not crowded.

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“Made For Linkbait” Is The New “Made For AdSense” » Jack Of All Blogs

January 21st, 2007 at 9:38 pm

[...] There’s nothing wrong with publishing something really useful and having people link to your work. You’re doing a service to the community, after all. But if all you’re doing is some sensationalizing, with having a lot of people linking to you as the primary intention and motivation, then hold up, dude. There’s something wrong with your reasoning. And this is one of the pitfalls of social media, and a drawback of social bookmarking and social news sites. Techsoapbox has this to say. [...]

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What is Linkbaiting, What is Not? » Jack Of All Blogs

February 19th, 2007 at 6:31 am

[...] The Sheriff wrote about a new annoyance we’ve been seeing around the blogosphere today. Made-for-Linkbait blogs and sites—or MFL as AhmedF of techsoapbox calls it. Well, linkbaiting is not actually new, but it seems people are already noticing how increasingly easy it is to take advantage of how bloggers love to link to stuff they find interesting or useful. [...]

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