The Rise of MFA Sites and What Advertisers Can Do About It

Woman on a yellow couch looking at a tablet screen with several ads

March 20, 2024

In the current state of digital advertising, there’s one abbreviation sending shivers down the spines of ad tech professionals and marketers alike: MFA, or Made for Advertising. With the sustained push for transparency in the programmatic advertising supply chain, the spotlight has never shone so glaringly on MFA sites and their implications. This blog dives into what MFA is, why it's a cause for concern, and how to pivot in a more aware and ethical digital advertising ecosystem. 

What is an MFA site?

The term Made for Advertising, also referred to as Made for Arbitrage, summarizes websites that exist primarily to host advertisements rather than deliver content. This unapologetic focus on revenue generation makes MFA sites a focal point of digital advertising strategies, often as loopholes. Advertising space is bought by publishers to drive traffic to un-indexed pages that are packed with a high volume of ads which reload frequently. 

For marketers and advertisers, these MFA sites pose a catch-22 scenario. On one hand, they promise to cut high advertising costs and deliver wide, 'cheap' reach. On the other, they represent low-quality media and, therefore, hold the potential to severely damage brand perception, as well as provide little to no genuine engagement with the target audience. 

What constitutes an MFA site? 

MFA sites have a few telltale signs that set them apart. They typically: 

  • Prioritize real estate for ads over content 
  • Often engage in ad stacking and pixel stuffing to inflate their ad views 
  • Have low engagement metrics from actual site users 
  • Engage in practices that compromise user experience 

These digital platforms are created explicitly to monetize ad revenue, often at the expense of user experience and advertiser integrity. 

Proceeding with caution 

MFA sites exist because of the ongoing pressure from some advertisers to achieve cheap reach. This poses a profound question to the advertising industry – what's the balance between cost efficiency, quality, and ethics? The question is tricky because the so-called MFA sites are technically legitimate considering they deliver real ads to real humans. This makes them hard to define clearly, resulting in many of them slipping through even the smallest of cracks. Some ad vendors claim to be MFA-free, not bidding for ad spaces on these sites, but it's not always avoidable. There are almost too many to keep track of now, and they're only growing. Luckily, the answer is not an outright avoidance of innovative digital avenues but a strategic approach that prioritizes informed choices and partnerships with platforms committed to media quality control. 

The importance of whitelisting 

When deploying a programmatic campaign, many marketers opt for blacklists, a list of sites that your ad cannot be served to. These are usually sites known for being irrelevant or inappropriate in some way and often include MFAs. However, with the increasing number of MFA sites, creating an effective blacklist has become even more challenging. Instead, a proactive and more effective defense against MFAs is whitelisting. Whitelisting enables businesses to curate a select roster of high-quality, reputable sites that ensure their messages are served alongside high-quality media only.  

The Multiview solution 

Multiview tackles this challenge head-on by employing strict whitelisting practices to prevent client ads from appearing on MFA sites. We focus on delivering ads to highly selective professional audiences using exclusive first-party data. In other words, we do not believe in cheap reach and leverage unique whitelists for each programmatic campaign. Choosing Multiview means safeguarding your programmatic ad spend and ensuring that your brand is showcased alongside premium content to the most relevant, hand-picked audiences, driving impactful results and maximizing your ROI. 

To learn more about Multiview's programmatic solutions contact us



Through the collective action of advertisers, like-minded publishers, and dedicated ad tech companies, a safer, more accountable ecosystem can be fostered. It's dependent upon all those invested in the advertising space to remain educated, adaptable, and discerning. By doing so, businesses can help manage the surge of MFA sites while elevating the industry to new heights of genuine impact and audience engagement. 


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