June 2009- Issue #47

The Latest Domain Parking Trends by Sector by Howard Hoffman

In my last column, I reviewed some of the reasons that domain parking revenues have fallen. As previously reported, my overall average revenue dropped about 45% between January 2007 and January 2009. First the good news: it appears that domain parking revenue may be stabilizing. Revenue has been fairly flat since December 2008. However, I must caution that I had a previous period, the 6 months from July 2007 through January 2008 where it appeared revenue had stabilized. However, a revenue decline from January 2008 through January 2009, corresponding to the collapse in the US/world economy, followed the 2nd half 2007 domain revenue rally.

To be a bit more specific, my overall RPM (Revenue per 1000 [Unique] Visitors) has fallen from an overall average of $95 to an overall average of $65 from peak to bottom. This has been accompanied by a decline in traffic, which have combined to reduce revenue by about 45%.

In general, my revenue from Yahoo-based parking providers seems to be off by more like 55% (from the January 2007 peak). My revenue from Google-based parking providers is off less, by around 40%.

One sector that has been especially hard hit has been casino/online gambling. In my experience, Fabulous.com has done well with most domains in this sector. As an Australian company, not subject to US law, Fabulous.com has attracted much of the advertising revenue in the sector. Changes in US law made it more difficult for online gambling sites to get US business and therefore, many of the relevant websites reduced their advertising. My casino/online gambling traffic earnings are off by around 55%. Even so, good poker, casino, and related traffic is still among the most profitable kinds of type-in traffic.

The loan and credit card businesses in the US have been hard hit by the US recession. Many financial services companies have gone out of business, usually by being absorbed by a more successful financial institution. However, credit cards are still an important and overall profitable business for US financial institutions. These companies have taken advantage of the economic situation to increase fees and interest rates, even as overall interest rates have fallen. My loan/credit card traffic earnings are off by an average of around 45%, consistent with the overall domain parking decline. This category is still among the most profitable major categories of traffic.

Another important sector is travel: especially hotels and airlines. Air fares have plummeted and so have hotel room rates, pretty much worldwide. People with cash (or intact credit) are taking advantage of record low international airfares. The airlines have recovered a bit from the extremely high fuel prices of early 2008. So, most of these companies have remained in business. Overall my travel traffic earnings are off by around 40% from the peak.

The retail sector is made up of many subsectors. However, the trend for more and more consumers to spend more revenue for online retail purchases has continued, or at least not collapsed like so many other business sectors. So, my online retail traffic earnings are down by around 35%. Subsectors like shoes, clothing, jewelry, and home furnishings still provide healthy returns.

I have never owned a lot of adult traffic. However, this is one sector that has really fallen. A lot of what used to be profitable in the online adult business is now being sold at very low profit levels. My adult traffic revenue has fallen about 70% from the peak. Revenue per click levels in this sector are very low. Typically, my RPC for this type of traffic is around $.05 to $.08. Strong sectors like credit cards and hotels might have RPC values 10 times those low levels ($.50 to $.80 and sometimes even higher).

In summary, the drop in domain parking revenue has been uneven, with some sectors getting hit harder than others. Of course, that is true with the overall US and world economic slowdowns.

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Howard Hoffman has a BS in Civil Engineering from MIT and a MS in Environmental Engineering from Stanford University. He is a serious investor in domains. Based on his early experience as a PPC advertiser, he embraced the income side of PPC and was an early user of domain parking services. He shares some of his recoomendations at PPCIncome.com.

ShoeMoney's Free 12 Week Internet Marketing Course
Grab this while you can. Jeremy "ShoeMoney" Schoemaker is offering a free 12 week class on Internet Marketing. Apparently it will be delivered by .pdf files sent by email.

The outline:
Week 1 - The Beginner's Guide To Internet Marketing
Week 2 - Affiliate Marketing 101: Everything You Need To Know To Start Promoting Products
Week 3 - Market Research: How To Crush Your Competitors And Discover Hot Niches
Week 4 - Pay Per Click: How To Earn Cash With Each Click
Week 5 - SEO: How To Rank Higher And Increase Traffic
Week 6 - Site Creation: How To Build A Site With Zero Programming Knowledge
Week 7 - Content Creation: How To Create Articles That Attract Users And Increase Sales
Week 8 - Marketing: How To Use Social Media To Spread Your Brand
Week 9 - Make That Cash: 10 Ways To Monetize Your Site And Increase Profitability
Week 10 - Testing & Tracking: How To Optimize Your Site & Make Sense Of The Figures
Week 11 - Building Your Team: How To Network With Others And Find Long Term Partners
Week 12 - Launch Day: How To Kick Start Your Business And Manage Your Projects
Sign-up Here


Stealing Ad Campaigns - Is this Ethical?

Chris Carpenter caused quite a stir with Google Cash Detective 2. After the first version tanked, he came back with a hosted version that has several months of very up-to-date data on PPCAdWords campaigns in every conceivable keyword. Think of this as SpyFu on steroids. If you've ever tried SpyFu on your own ad campaigns you have noticed that the data is usually several months old. You get useful data, but you have to be aware that it is not up-to-date. Google Cash Detective 2 has up-to-date data on almost every keyword. It is a massive database, and you do pay a significant sumfor this ability (around $100-$150 a month, depending on how you pay).

Google Cash Detective 2 allows you to completely copy a competitor's AdWord campaign, down to their complete keyword list and all of their ads. You will see which keywords they are using right now, and which ones they have used for the past two months. This is legal - since they are just massively mining the publicly available AdWords data. Isit ethical?

Download a free report and videos

The links for Google Cash Detective 2 are affiliate links. I paid for this and I will continue to use it. If you sign-up through the links in this newsletter I will send you two 40-60 page bonus reports - one on CPA arbitrage and one on starting an Affiliate business. These are both profitable online fields that domainers are entering in order to supplement their parking income.Just send me an email after you have signed up along with a copy of your confirmation letter.

Sedo Swallows RevenueDirect, Incorporates Template

Sedo announced last month thatthey haveadded the first template that they have taken over from the defunct RevenueDirect service that they acquired. They characterize the "Direct Blue" template as a "visually simple template with a high performance rate."

The template does have a clean look and feel. The graphic adds to the attractiveness of the page without detracting from the one-click links that are featured. Some research suggests that blue pages have higher click-through (go figure), so this may be a profitable template partly for that reason. If you have domains parked as Sedo that aren't living up to their potential you should give this template a try.

The writing is now on the wall. RevenueDirect is closing down and all of their domains will be consolidated at Sedo. This makes sense from a business point-of-view. Why operate two competing platforms? Here's an excerpt of the email I received in May:

As a valued RevenueDirect client, we´d like to welcome you into Sedo´s family of brands. For your convenience,as we further integrate RevenueDirect clients over to Sedo,our expert account team has already placed your parked domains into your Sedo account. Also, to keep this process as simple as possible for you, your domain traffic has been automatically transferred over to Sedo´s secure monetization platform.

Although you can still currently navigate through and edit your RevenueDirect account, none of your edits or actions will affect your domains. After May 21st, 2009, the RevenueDirect platform will no longer be operational. Please log into your RevenueDirect account to download your existing parking statistics prior to this date.


The Jay Westerdal Flap

Most of the domain blogs have covered the dispute between Thought Convergence, parent company of Trafficz and Jay Westerdal the founder of DomainTools. I'm not sure how Andrew Allemann finds the time to cover this stuff, but I thought he did a good job of covering all angles (once he got all the info). You can see his coverage here:

http://domainnamewire.com/2009/05/13/jay-westerdal-and-thought-convergence-part-ways/
http://domainnamewire.com/2009/05/29/thought-convergence-amends-lawsuit-against-westerdal/

http://domainnamewire.com/2009/05/13/thought-convergence-sues-westerdal/
http://domainnamewire.com/2009/05/13/thought-convergences-releases-statement-about-westerdal-termination/

Domain Parking Recommendations

See You Soon?
I'll be at Domain Roundtable in 2 weeks. I hope to see many of you there.