Entries in domain parking (40)


Google Ordered to Release Parked Domain Metrics

Online Media Daily reported on Friday that U.S. District Court Magistrate Judge Howard Lloyd has ordered Google to release metrics related to it's domain parking and "errors" program.  The judge is presiding over a potential class-action lawsuit by search marketers against Google.  According to the report
Google must disclose concerns its assessment of the quality of sites within its AdSense network, including its parked domain and errors pages. Among other information, Google must reveal the "conversion score value of the property source" -- defined in the court order as "a metric Google uses to price clicks from Web sites contained in its network." Also, Google must reveal the "smart pricing discount," or the discount that Google applies to clicks on some of its AdSense properties.
The theory is that it sheds light into Google's pricing formula for its parked domain program.
This battle started in 2008, when several companies filed lawsuits asserting that Google shouldn't have placed their ads in Google's AdSense for Domains and AdSense for Errors programs which often serve ads on typo sites that people tend to visit by accident.  The complaint asserts that these programs include low-quality pages and sites that yield fewer conversions than ads that appear on Google's search results pages.
According to the article
The marketers also said they believed that clicks on ads on parked domains "were unlikely to lead to desirable business outcomes, and that placement on such pages could damage their brands."
Google counters that parked-domain ads "perform as well as or better than ads on Search and Display Network sites."
Read more in the Online Media Daily Article

Comparing Parking Companies

For the last few years we've been comparing domain parking companies at Parkquick.com and NameMonetizer. For the most part we've been manually moving domains from one company to another to see how they do.  We also look at the relative income we get from some of the affiliate programs, and we read the domain forums to see what other domain owners are saying.  We've started using a new tool that is available to all at Above.com.   

Above.com will import the data from most of the major parking companies.  If you choose, they can also try the domains at different companies to see where they make the most money.  Above.com features:

  • A single dashboard for a side by side comparison of all parking companies for every domain.
  • Use your existing parking accounts.
  • Normalized RPMs for real transparency of domain parking earnings
  • Detailed Analytics: geo-graphics, search terms, referrals, URLs visited per domain
  • Automatic optimization of your domains
  • Easily test and compare different parking services on a single dashboard
  • Automatic redirection to alternate parking service if earnings drop

When you allow Above.com to rotate your domains they will test 10% of the traffic with another company to see if they provide better results.  If so - they will send most of the traffic there.  The service works best for domains that get significant traffic.  If you only get 10 uniques a month, their rotation of one visitor to another company won't really tell much. 

Above.com also has an optional "Maximizer" service that will monetize Chinese traffic and other traffic that is difficult to monetize with mainstream parking companies.  They likely take a cut of this traffic, of course, but they do not take a cut of the income from other parking companies.  Above.com is owned by Trellian, and they are providing the service for free as a way to consider your traffic for other Trellian services such as their Direct Search network that sends traffic directly to sites for a fee.  

We are in the early stages of testing Above.com, but I expect that it will be of great help as we evaluate parking companies.  Give it a try if you have a significant number of traffic domains.


We're No Longer Recommending Bing-based Services

Earlier this month 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.


Sedo Cleans up Parking

Sedo has reportedly made some interesting  changes to its parking program .The parking pages were switched to JavaScript at the end of October.  According to Sedo:

A change to a predominantly JavaScript-based advertising feed means that non-human traffic (traffic from bots or scripts that does not lead to sales for advertisers) will be more accurately filtered out, providing you with cleaner statistics. These statistics are comparable to those tracked by standard web analytics tools.

This is good news for honest domainers.  Ads should be better targeted and eventually RPC may even rise.  In the short run expect fewer clicks, though.


Minor Glitches plague Yahoo-to-Bing Transition

Yahoo-based domain services, such as  TrafficZParked, WhyPark, and SmartName, are reporting that their U.S. and Canadian ads are now coming from Microsoft's Bing service.  Yahoo is still running the ad networks in some other countries, and the parking companies have deals with secondary providers for traffic from additional countries. This switch was supposed to be revenue neutral - but when does that ever happen?  Most domain owners and some parking execs are reporting a slight decrease in income.  Donny Simonton of Parked reported on 10/31 that

Since 100% of the traffic is at Bing, our numbers are down quite a bit. But we don't know what is going on either. I have talked to other parking companies and people who have direct feeds with Yahoo and they are seeing the same issues on their side. 

Domain owners have also noted stats and reporting delays.  Bing is said to be sending the numbers to Yahoo and Yahoo is sending them to the parking companies.  This is a new role for the people at Bing, and they may be just working the kinks out. Yahoo and Bing are supposed to be continuing to give companies the same share of total revenue that they did before, but some are skeptical about this.  Apparently singular and plural search terms can sometimes pay very differently on Bing.  Parked reportedly is planning to implement systems to automatically display ads for the better search term - singular or plural. 

Kudos to Donny Simonton of Parked for keeping everyone up-to-date on this change.  SmartName also sent everyone an email letting them know about the change, but not in the blow-by-blow manner that Donny covered this change.