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:
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.