February 2011 - Issue #66
 
We're No Longer Recommending Bing-based Services

In late January I dropped my recommendation of Bing-monetized parking companies Parked and SmartName. Income has just not rebounded Since Bing took over monetization of these services from Yahoo. As of this month I recommend the Google-based services DomainSponsor, NameDrive, and Sedo/SedoPro.   

Income has been dropping at Google services too - but it's been a slow, steady decline. Income at the Bing-based services fell off a cliff.  I know that people at these services are scurrying to work on ways to increase income. Another Bing-based service, TrafficZ, announced a new diversified platform that they expect to implement in the future.  

What should domain owners do?  Carefully evaluate what has been happening with your domain portfolio. Compare domains from month-to-month, but also from year-to-year. Some domains are likely doing a little better at Bing, so you shouldn't move everything to a Google-based service. In addition to their Bing "ad feed" SmartName has a "Shops" feature that builds ecommerce shops monetized through Shopping.com.  If you have product domains, consider switching to this type of landing page.  WhyPark has a similar feature, although other features at their service are Bing-based.

If you still want to keep some domains at a Bing-based service, I'd recommend Parked as the one to stick with. Their leadership has consistently demonstrated honest, ethical dealing with domain owners when some other services have changed the rules with no advanced notice.  Donny Simonton is creative and accessible and I'm sure he is scrambling to find a way to move Parked back to the top.

Google Strikes Out at Content Farms
 
Domain owners are caught between a rock and a hard place.  Bing has cut income from many parking companies, and now Google is taking new measures against spammy content. Ironically, Demand Media is about to go public at the same time that Google strikes out against content farms like eHow.  Google's efforts should also affect content farms that domainers use, such as WhyPark and Epik.  
 
Matt Cutts explained Google's efforts in his blog:
We’re evaluating multiple changes that should help drive spam levels even lower, including one change that primarily affects sites that copy others’ content and sites with low levels of original content. We’ll continue to explore ways to reduce spam, including new ways for users to give more explicit feedback about spammy and low-quality sites.

As “pure webspam” has decreased over time, attention has shifted instead to “content farms,” which are sites with shallow or low-quality content. In 2010, we launched two major algorithmic changes focused on low-quality sites. Nonetheless, we hear the feedback from the web loud and clear: people are asking for even stronger action on content farms and sites that consist primarily of spammy or low-quality content.
Most of us have given-up on getting undeveloped domains listed in Google.  That's probably how it should be.  I know that I get annoyed when I get a scraped nonsensical blog post as a top search result.  It still happens too often, but that may be changing.  If your domains don't get at least some type-in traffic or expired traffic, then you should probably not expect to earn income while they await sale.  
 
If you do use sites like WhyPark and Epik, consider adding unique, valuable content to your domains there.  It takes more work (or more money to pay somebody to do the work) but it may pay off.
 
Take the Survey

Here's your chance to share your opinions of domain parking and more.  Andrew Allemann's 2011 survey can be found here. Take a few minutes and share your opinions.