Skip to content

Why I Love PPC “Arbitragers”

I love AdWords/AdSense arbitrage. It’s the greatest thing to happen to SEO since Florida.

Everyone knows from experience that PPC basically stinks as a traffic source. Sure it can be good traffic, but when it is it suddenly becomes expensive traffic. And when it isn’t, it very slowly becomes inexpensive traffic, and most likely expensive again when the landing page quality idiot says you need to pay more to play. I don’t know a single person who is willing to say PPC is a good deal. Not one.

Now organic traffic, like the kind that comes from a good SEO initiative, is excellent traffic. It’s “free” of middlemen, and when it ceases to be valuable, it is adjustable. There is no quality idiot stepping in and saying “your referrals are good, but your site isn’t good enough so now pay more”. If it doesn’t convert for me, I recycle it as exit traffic for someone else to take a shot at. The waste lies with Google. At least so far.

So why is PPC arbitrage good? Because it is THE high-profile, rags-to-riches dream story that everyone wants to believe. The arbitrage guys flash the bling bling and show the big checks and all the common dreamers hear is “PPC…riches….success…PPC”. Adwords and AdSense and profits….profits…profits. They don’t connect the two. The think AdSense…profits. AdWords…profits.

Every time I hear another big shot bragging about the riches he made in PPC I smile. That’s another few hundred webmasters who will start paying Google for traffic, stop competing in the natural SERPs, and forget about me. And on top of that, if enough webmasters confuse arbitrage with profitable PPC advertising, Google will remain flush with cash and not think about throttling the organic traffic stream it is forced to send my way for free, so it can continue to claim to be a search engine, and take all that PPC money from everybody else.


  1. “Everyone knows from experience that PPC basically stinks as a traffic source.”

    I disagree with the above statement. I use PPC to drive traffic to new sites. The sites often have AdSense on them and I at least break even. I consider this free traffic and therefore a good deal. I keep my bids low and if that means appearing in slots 4 or 5 on search results pages, so be it. I also don’t raise bids to the minimum just because Google says I have to for the keyword to become active. Instead, I just move on to cheaper terms.

    But otherwise, I agree that organic traffic is the better alternative and where I focus much of my efforts.

    Saturday, January 27, 2007 at 8:17 am | Permalink
  2. JLH wrote:

    Deep down in the deep recesses of their heart and in closed board rooms I’m sure that Google likes arbitrage just a little bit too.

    Wednesday, January 31, 2007 at 2:47 pm | Permalink