A consortium of four leading ad trade associations this morning released a common set of characteristics defining so-called "made-for-advertising" websites that a recent Association of National Advertisers (ANA) report estimates represent 15% of total ad spending, but are a waste in terms of advertising value.
One of the associations -- the American Association of Advertising Agencies (4A's) -- went a step further, explicitly defining MFAs as "made-for-arbitrage," borrowing a sometimes pejorative financial industry term for profiting by buying and selling the same asset in different markets.
MFA sites "are created for that singular purpose -- to simultaneously buy and sell advertising inventory," ANA and 4A's said in a joint statement with the World Federation of Advertisers and the Incorporated Society of British Advertisers, adding that they "typically use sensational headlines, clickbait, and provocative content to attract visitors and generate page views, which in turn generate ad revenue for the site owner."
While the associations did not provide a succinct statement defining what constitutes an MFA, they described them in schlocky terms that "usually feature low-quality content and may use tactics such as pop-up ads, auto-play videos, or intrusive ads to maximize ad revenue.
They also provided an explicit list of five common MFA characteristics (see above).