Rumors flew in July about possible plans by Google to eliminate domain parking for domains that do not get type-in traffic.   Julia Mackenzie reported that Google will only serve parking ads to domains it thinks to be capable of receiving type-in traffic and conversions.  According to MacKenzie Google's new system "will assess all domains calling their parking feed and immediately give domains either a “pass” or a “fail” score. Meaning that if Google decide your domain has little chance of type-in traffic or if it scores low on conversions, it won't serve you a parking feed."
 
How will this affect domain owners?  A lot depends on how high they set the bar.  If the bar is set high, allowing parking income only on one-word generics, for example, then Google-based domain parking is over for a majority of domain owners.  If the bar is set relatively low, allowing ads to be served on 2-word keyword .coms that get small amounts of genuine type-in traffic, then this may actually help most domain owners.  Parking feeds will disappear from long-hyphenated domains and nonsense domains, while maintaining this source of income for legitimate lower-volume domains. 
 
Keep in mind that this is all a rumor.  While MacKenzie has been right in the past, there has been no confirmation from Google.  It is consistent with changes occuring throughout the industry as parking companies become more selective under presssure from Google and Yahoo.  As this issue goes to press she has issued an update, but it does not really explain what will actually happen.

Changes at Sedo

For at least the last 4 years Matt Bentley has been the public face of Sedo for many domain owners.  Sedo and Matt issued statements announcing that he has left the company; with both parties describing this as an amicable parting of the ways. We'll probably never know the whole story.  For the last two years Bentley was Sedo's Chief Strategy Officer, and earlier this year he was still speaking for the company.  From 2004 - 2006 he was CEO for Sedo.com - the US subsidiary.  He started his career at Sedo in 2002 as Director of International Operations when the company was still very young.  Matt Bently released the followint statement "I'm definitely going to miss working with the many great people there, but the time was right for me to find a new challenge.  Sedo is a strong organization, and I expect to see the company continue to thrive at the forefront of the domain industry."

It will be interesting to see how domain parking unfolds at Sedo.   I always had the impression that Matt provided a lot of the long-term strategy for Sedo's domain parking.  With rumors that Google may limit domain parking to high quality domains that they believe will get type-in traffic, Sedo's domain parking may take a big hit.  Their SedoPro product initially required that you own 200 domains or make $200 a month in parking income.  Recently they raised the requirements to "at least 1000 domains or €200/$300 in monthly earnings". You need an
Endorsement Code from an existing SedoPro member in order to join. 
 
 
 
RevenueDirect has joined the ranks of parking companies hoping to get you to switch some of your domains to their service.  They will pay you 100% of the revenue for the first 30 days when you transfer domains to their service.  According to their site
From now through August 11th, add any new .com, .net, or .org domains to your RevenueDirect account and receive 100% of the PPC earnings associated with those domains for a full 30-day period. Additionally, any .com, .net, or .org domain already in your account, but not pointed to RevenueDirect is also eligible for this promotion. Just update your nameservers to RevenueDirect and start earning 100% of the PPC earnings associated with those domains immediately. Don't pass on this opportunity to maximize your domain monetization revenue.  
 
 
NameMedia reported that some of it's SmartName customers were hit with phishiing emails in July.  This follows a similar attack on TrafficZ They made the following statement:
We have taken some defensive measures to ensure that this phishing scam is stopped, and we are also actively working with the registrar and hosting company of the fraudulent website www.smartnEme.com to resolve this issue.

As a proactive measure, we also wanted to make our customers aware of this situation and encourage you to:

   1. Login to your account and ensure that your information is correct.
   2. Always ensure that you are logged into the SECURE SmartName site (https: instead of http:).
   3. Change your password on your account, just to be safe.

If for any reason you cannot login, or suspect that your account has been compromised, please contact support@smartname.comThis e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it immediately or contact your account manager directly.
 
TrafficZ has been dropped from the list of recommended services this month.  Customer service has slipped a bit, and several emails have gone unanswered.  They still have a lot to offer, and I do not recommend that you move domains away if you are happy there.  SmartName continues to impress with their shopping template.  While CPC rated do not quite equal those from Google- or Yahoo-based templates, these full ecommerce sites have staying power and SEO potential.  We have had a number of people complain that they were turned-down by SmartName.   If this happens to you, you can get most of the same benefits by joining Active Audience or GoldKey (but not the ecommerce system).
 
Donny Simonton from Parked explained how their 404 feature works in a NamePros post.  According to Donny "When somebody goes to http://www.computer.com/ we show the normal landing page and we register that as a visitor.  When somebody goes to http://www.computer.com/lkajsdlkjasldkjasldkj, we show the normal landing page, but that is registered as a 404, and not a visitor. If that person does anything, then they are registered as a 404 and a visitor.  404s are good to let you know which domains are getting a lot of error traffic and you can potentially optimize that traffic for the domain better. It will make more sense once we have the domain level searches and 404s available in a few days."