2009 was certainly a year of ups and downs. Most of us who have made money from domain parking will agree that it was mostly a year of downs. The year started off on high note with DOMAINfest Global, which included a party at the Playboy mansion. Parking income had already started to slide, but there was some optimism in the air. (Oversee.net is reprising their conference in a different venue, and the Playboy Mansion party will again be included).
Domain development was touted by many as an alternative to domain parking, but domain owners found this to be expensive and time-consuming. Income from newly developed sites rarely reached former income levels from parking companies. Fully developing a domain actually means running an Online business, and owners of multiple domains rarely have time for this.
Some scandals in the larger domain industry also touched the domain parking space. Thought Convergence, parent company of TrafficZ, sued Jay Westerdal for violating his contract with them following his sale of DomainTools. Jay is a bright guy with ambitious plans for future businesses, but you could sorta see that coming. Both parties suffered tarnished images as a result.
Later in the year Oversee.net’s SnapNames service admitted that an employee was shill-bidding against other bidders. The company reported that the shill bids occurred between 2005 and the third quarter of 2009. During that time period approximately 1 million auctions took place; and the employee reportedly bid on about 5 percent of them. Oversee admitted the wrongdoing, most of which occurred before Snapnames was bought by them. The event still tarnished their image.
2009 saw more consolidation in domain parking. Sedo bought RevenueDirect in May, and followed this in September with the purchase of ParkingPanel. Some of the features of these companies (especially RevenueDirect) found their way into Sedo, but for the most part they got more customers.
My business lost money in 2009 for the first time since domain parking came onto the scene. Some of this was my fault, as I continued to spend on conferences and CPA training that I hoped would replace PPC income. I found CPA is a different animal and much harder to do on a part-time basis. For me 2010 will probably be a year of cutting back expenses and adding a focus on monetization through domain sales.