How to Monetize now?
Domain parking income is down 40-60% for most domain owners. While parking companies are tweaking their algorithms to squeeze every drop out of parking, there is also a shift toward domain sales as a way to monetize domain names. If you've been in the industry long enough, you've seen this before. This is how many of us monetized before the advent of parking.
Domain sales income has held up better than domain parking income for big companies and small domain investors alike. Sedo recently announced that 31% of it's recent income was from parking, while 69% was from sales. Guess what they will be emphasizing down the road? Despite this disparity, I don't expect to see these companies abandon parking. I do expect to see more parking companies get gobbled-up by the likes of Sedo, Parked & DomainSponsor.
What does threaten domain sales? ICANN's plan to roll-out new TLDs will hurt sales of non .com domains. I've dumped most of my .infos, because I believe that these new TLDs will dilute the market to such an extent that only .com and .org will really be meaningful in the future.
Domain development has even taken a hit lately. Rick Latona recently announced that his company aeiou.com will no longer create mini-sites for people. That leaves companies like Domain Mass Development and MiniSites competing for this market with quasi-development companies like WhyPark and DevHub. Is there money in mini-sites? I haven't seen much there yet. Even full-fledged site development with great SEO does not guarantee an income stream.
My strategy for the future is to get lean and watch for occasional buying opportunities as others get lean too. Forecasters are predicting an economic recovery in 2010, but I don't expect the domain industry to reciver that quickly. Domain parking is in bigger trouble than the economy in general, and many of us have relied on that source of "easy" income for too long. I'll also be cutting some sales prices. Look for more on monetizing through sales in future articles.
The recent Sedo Pro Partner Forum in Key West was an opportunity to learn more about the domain powerhouse that is gobbling-up other parking companies. Sedo is actually part of a giant German Internet conglomerate called United Internet. Check out this page to see how Sedo is related to all of these other parts of this Internet giant. Hint - Sedo is below the fold.
SedoPro members (email for an invitation) are now able to opt-in to have your domains optimized by Sedo in a beta program. For now it appears that Sedo will test your domains for different settings (1 -click vs. 2-click landers, keyword, etc.) and make changes that will increase your revenue. Sedo even allows you to optimize keywords for different countries, which is a great idea if you are fluent in the appropriate languages. If you are not, then check the box and let them do the optimizing.
To apply these beta traffic optimization features to your full portfolio:
1. Log-in to your SedoPRO account and go to the Domain Optimizer Page
2. Tick the “Enable Traffic Optimization for my account (Beta)” box.
Sedo has tuned-up it's parking engine and now offers optimizing based on behavioral patterns, performance monitoring, a semantic engine, and predictive targeting. Domain portfolio owners can influence the "predictive targeting" portion by manually optimizing keywords in their accounts.
In the future you should see some very interesting things if you participate in this beta program. Sedo sources have suggested that CPA offers, shopping portals, and destination-style pages with content may show up in future attempts to optimize domains this way. For now you'll just see tweaks on your pages, but as these other experiments are rolled-out the beta testers will be included.
While Sedo now makes 69% if it's earnings through domain sales and only 31% through parking, they have not stopped working on ways to improve parking income.