November 2010

November 2010
Minor Glitches plague Yahoo-to-Bing Transition

Yahoo-based parking companies made the switch to Bing this month.  Domain owners saw stat delays on TrafficZ, Parked, SmartName and WhyPark as these changes took place.  U.S. and Canadian ads are now coming from Microsoft’s Bing service rather than Yahoo.  Bing also uses Greenwich Mean Time (GMT or UTC) for their reporting, so these services have had to standardize on this – making the month of October a few hours shorter than it would otherwise be.

I expect that we will see yet another ratcheting down of domain income from parking.  The major players, led by Google, seem to look for any excuse to improve their bottom line at the expense of affiliates or others downstream.  There may also be some shifts in certain verticals as different ads come online. 


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. 

Don’t Logon to eNom or GoDaddy on an Unsecured HotSpot
The new FireSheep FireFox plugin is reportedly capable of letting another user see and change your eNom account if you are logged-into an unsecured wifi hotspot.  If you log-onto eNom and they are running this plugin they are also logged-in.  They can push your domains to their account, change your password, disable security settings, and wreak all kinds of havoc.  The creator of the plugin is reportedly targeting GoDaddy next.

Many websites, like eNom, use SSL for their login process.  Once you are logged-in, however, they send you a cookie with your account settings in a manner that is insecure.  Hackers have always been able to read this cookie, but now 300,000 other people who have downloaded the FireSheep plugin can also do this.

The fix – Don’t use unsecured wifi hotspots.  Steve Gibson, well known PC security analyst is on record recommending that Starbucks secure all of their hotspots and just require people to login with the password “Starbucks.”  That’s all it would take.  The destination website itself, such as eNom, should also stop sending an unsecured cookie.  Like banks, they could simply encrypt everything.   That is the best fix – and all domain registrars need to set up full https encryption across their sites as soon as possible 



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