Donny Simonton shoots straight. After trying to spin the horrible numbers domain owners were seeing from domain parking company Parked this past month he finally came right out and sait it – “Bing Sucks.” (Read down this thread to see the transformation in his attitude.)
Domain monetization companies such as Parked (and WhyPark), TrafficZ, and SmartName, have depended on Yahoo’s ads to power their services. Yahoo switched their ad inventory to Microsoft’s Bing service in November and lots of problems cropped-up.
Domain monetization is new for Bing. They have had an AdWords-like platform for some time, but they have not worked with domain parking companies. It seems that their stats reporting system was not up to the challenge initially. They had to start from scratch figuring out issues like traffic quality – a multiplier they use based on how likely they think your traffic’s clicks will result in an actual sale. In most cases they seemed to estimate low, and there were reports that these quality scores would change on a daily basis for no reason.
I reached out to Parked and WhyPark, TrafficZ, and SmartName with some questions about their experiences to date. Only Parked and WhyPark have responded to date. Donny asked Craig Rowe of WhyPark to respond for both services, since they work together to optimize their Bing feed.
Here are Craig’s responses to my questions:
How are RPM numbers holding up?
We’ve always been sticklers on traffic quality, so fortunately our RPM has been holding up and increasing again in the past week or two. There were definitely bugs that impacted us late October and we notice when something new has been added. We try to adjust as quickly as we see data though. We’re fortunate that we’re a part of Parked, who really did all of the heavy lifting in the migration and Donny has been submitting feedback and bugs to Yahoo and Bing constantly. So, we’re in a good position that we have access to so much more data, and any changes that Parked makes benefit us as well.
I understand that the categories/keywords have changed too – and that this has impacted 2-click landers. Can you explain what you have seen here?
The way keywords are handled is another major change. With Yahoo, terms like “world maps”, “world map” and “a world map” would all be the same. For Bing, those are all different terms with different advertisers. So, it’s a matter now of finding out the best terms to display. For us and Parked, we had to ditch just about everything we had optimized over the years and start anew. We rebuilt our keyword matching completely using Parked’s new keyword data and then manually optimized tens of thousands of the top domains and continue to do more each day. So, we continue to see improvement as our systems learn more.
What other problems have arisen?
It wasn’t a seamless migration by any means. It would have been nice to test smaller markets, certain customers or domains first and be able to provide more feedback. One issue earlier on that seems to be getting better is just getting access to the stats in a timely manner. It’s tough to make adjustments on our side when we don’t have the data to react to. It’s like hitting a moving target and doing a lot of guessing. With so many moving parts, it’s hard to tell if the change you made was beneficial or not.
What pleasant surprises have you seen?
We’re still in business.
Have things settled down to the point that you can make any generalizations about changes domain owners should make to maximize traffic under Bing?
It’s definitely settled down, but the TQ scores are still all over the place. I think it’s still a little early to say if this will bring in new revenue, same as before or a decrease. If your traffic quality is low, then you’ll definitely be seeing a decrease. We just continue to focus on quality since the traffic as a whole affects all of our customers’ revenue.
We’re quick to block any junk and dump poor quality accounts.