Thursday
Dec082011

Tim Schumacher Steps Down at Sedo

Sedo announced this week that co-founder and CEO Tim Schumacher is stepping down at the end of January. Schumacher was one of four co-founders of Sedo in 2001.  He is resigning for personal reasons. 40-year-old Tobias Flaitz becomes the CEO and a board member on February 1, 2012. Flaitz comes to Sedo from Hubert Burda Media where he has been in management since 2007.  Schumacher is still a young man at age 35.  He was named “Entrepreneur of the Year” by Ernst & Young Germany in 2007.

Sedo
 has consistently been one of the top domain name marketplaces and monetization platforms.  They still outperform most parking companies. 

Tim emailed Andrew Allemann of DNW.com about his future plans:

I have been actively involved as a Business Angel for quite a while, and I might increase investments there and/or dive in deeper into one of my startups, once I have found ‘the next big thing. 

Wednesday
Dec072011

Google Officially Drops Parked Domains from their Index

Now we know why Google demands that domain parking companies use nameservers to direct traffic to their services.  It makes it very easy for Google to detect and de-list parked domains. 

It always seemed like Google's intent to not index parked domains.  You've probably had it happen to you (although not recently).  You do a search and find a result that appears promising, only to land on a page full of ads.   It's not a good user experience.  On December first Google announced that they now officially remove parked domains from the index.  They are now being very explicit about at least some of the changes they are making.  Notice the third bullet point:

  • Related query results refinements: Sometimes we fetch results for queries that are similar to the actual search you type. This change makes it less likely that these results will rank highly if the original query had a rare word that was dropped in the alternate query. For example, if you are searching for [rare red widgets], you might not be as interested in a page that only mentions “red widgets.”
  • More comprehensive indexing: This change makes more long-tail documents available in our index, so they are more likely to rank for relevant queries.
  • New “parked domain” classifier: This is a new algorithm for automatically detecting parked domains. Parked domains are placeholder sites that are seldom useful and often filled with ads. They typically don’t have valuable content for our users, so in most cases we prefer not to show them.
  • More autocomplete predictions: With autocomplete, we try to strike a balance between coming up with flexible predictions and remaining true to your intentions. This change makes our prediction algorithm a little more flexible for certain queries, without losing your original intention.
  • Fresher and more complete blog search results: We made a change to our blog search index to get coverage that is both fresher and more comprehensive.
  • Original content: We added new signals to help us make better predictions about which of two similar web pages is the original one.
  • Live results for Major League Soccer and the Canadian Football League: This change displays the latest scores & schedules from these leagues along with quick access to game recaps and box scores.
  • Image result freshness: We made a change to how we determine image freshness for news queries. This will help us find the freshest images more often.
  • Layout on tablets: We made some minor color and layout changes to improve usability on tablet devices.
  • Top result selection code rewrite: This code handles extra processing on the top set of results. For example, it ensures that we don’t show too many results from one site (“host crowding”). We rewrote the code to make it easier to understand, simpler to maintain and more flexible for future extensions.

As new parking companies spring up, some of them will temporarily miss the "classifier" - but not for long.  If you want to be in Google, then you should consider building a site with some content.  

There are some unanswered questions.  Where do content-like "parking" services such as WhyPark fit in?  You can actually host unique content-driven sites on such services  

Wednesday
Nov302011

Renew your Domains Soon to Save Money

VeriSign, Inc. announced back in July that they would be raising feed for .com and .net domain names effective January 15th 2012.  The registry fee for .com domain names will increase from $7.34 to $7.85 and that the registry fee for .net domain names will increase from $4.65 to $5.11.  That means that your registrar will be raising price to you.  The new prices are likely to be between 50 cents and a dollar higher, and they may vary depending on the tier of service you are on.  If you own 1,000 domains you can save at least $500 by renewing your domains before the January 15th deadline.  

 
You should also read any email announcement closely.  For a time I had an account with an eNom reseller which routinely raised their rates at least 2 weeks ahead of eNom and Verisign's actual date.  If your budget allows it, renew soon!
Thursday
Nov242011

Above features new Parking Companies

Above.com is a good way to try your domain names at different parking companies.  Andrew at DNW.com noticed recently that they have integrated three new parking companies into their platform: VoodooParkingCrew, and TheParkingPlace.  

I probably won't be immediately trying these services out - but it's interesting that new domain parking services are trying to make a go of it in a tough market.  If you have some of your domains set-up at Above.com you may want to give these new services a try.  

Saturday
Oct292011

Sedo and Google Switch to Estimated Stats

Sedo announced this week that they are going to display stats that they receive from Google first, then adjust them to delete "spam" clicks.  In their words, initial estimates stats will be "based on the exact figures we receive from Google, our primary ad provider."  One intertesting aspect of their announcement is that they publicly identify Google as their primary ad provider.  In the past this was understood but not explicitly stated in their public statements.  

Parking companies are caught in a tough spot right now.  Google seems to be the only player that is paying even halfway decent income, and some formerly Yahoo/Bing-based parking companies have started using Google as well. The best approach for monetization these days is still to diversify.  Develop your absolute best domains and monetize through AdSense or other means.  Park most of the rest.  Actively market your domains for sale to end users.