Name Monetizer - September 2008 - Issue #38

Parking Income Down - Has it Hit Bottom?
 
 
Most of us have seen parking income drop in 2008.  The decrease has not been obvious on all domains, but portfolio averages are down.  Google AdWord and Yahoo/Overture ad rates don't seem to have decreased on most search terms, so there is speculation that Google and Yahoo may be keeping a bit more of the income.  There is no way to really verify this, of course. 
 
Dark Blue Sea, the parent company of Fabulous, reported a decline in domain revenue of almost 50% from first quarter 2007 to first quarter 2008 (Report here - pdf file).  Tucows is perhaps best known as a shareware resource, but they are also a bulk domain registrar and the owner of 150,000 domain names.  They reported in August that their revenue from domain parking dropped 12% in one quarter.  Their CEO,  Elliot Noss also said that parking revenue may have hit bottom.  (Thanks to Andrew Allemann for reporting this in DomainNameWire.)   Noss believes that "Google and Yahoo have pushed back on the payouts, they have also started to get more aggressive with some of the grayer parts of the market and long-term that affects us positively because we’ve got a very clean book of business. The more sort of bad traffic and bad clicks that are pushed out of the system, the better it is for us in the long-term.”
 
 
Parking Panel gets a Facelift
Parking Panel announced in August that they have new features, new templates, and a new feed provider.  Apparently they lost their primary feed provider back in March, when ParkingDots went out of business for the same reason.  Their new templates offer a large number of searches for people to click on.  Some of the text does not seem to fit the container perfectly in Firefox, but expect some tweaks over time.  Their "autopilot system" appears to learn what people are looking for and give them that.  An example of their new templates can be seen at DiabeticHealthcare.com.
 
More News from the Parking Companies 
 
Phishing affects NameMedia 
 
NameMedia uncovered a 'phishing' scam targeting GoldKey and its customers.  This is the second attack on a NameMedia property this year, following a similar attack on SmartName in July. According to NameMedia:
"We have taken some defensive measures to ensure that this phishing scam is stopped, and we are also actively working with the registrar and hosting company of the fraudulent website www.goldkAy.com to resolve this issue.

As a proactive measure, we also wanted to make our customers aware of this situation and encourage you to:
  1. Login to your account and ensure that your information is correct.
  2. Always ensure that you are logged into the SECURE site (https: instead of http:).
  3. Change your password on your account, just to be safe. "
SmartName adds AdSense Ads to their Shops
 
SmartName now lets you put AdSense ads on your SmartName shops.  This means that your Smart Name Shop can be monetized by both Shopping.com and Google.  You can see these AdSense ads on sites such as TechnologyLiquidators.com.  Adding this capability seems to have broken the header and footer text blocks for Smart Name Shops.  In some cases header text shows up as a footer, and calls to external images, which worked before, no longer work.  SmartName Shops is an intereesting and innovative approach, but you should currently treat it as beta software.  Don't expect it to work perfectly. 
 
NameDrive eliminates their Searchbox Template 
 
NameDrive announced on August 8th that they had dropped their "Searchbox" template.  This was a nice template for parked domains that simply offered a search box on your domain.  According to NameDrive
"Our ad provider has requested we disable our Searchbox template with immediate effect.  We have unfortunately had to remove this template from the following domains and have replaced it with Marquee II Portal. This template also has a large search box at the top with some generic portal links and is our closest template to Searchbox. We apologise for any inconvenience caused and hope that we can announce a replacement for Searchbox shortly."

Oversee.net cuts Staff

Oversee.net laid off 10% of its staff in August. The company blamed recent problems in the economy. A spokesperson told SocalTech “the cuts were in response to the general economic weakness and pressures in the industry.” According to the report cuts were made across the board at SnapNames, DomainSponsor and Moniker.  Early reports suggested that some executives were also laid off, but the company later denied this.  Oversee still plans a DomainFEST Global conference in January.  I hope to attend.
 

Recommended Services - There were no changes in our recommendations this month.