Interesting Questions. Are minisites Dead? How does”G” Really View Domainers and the Industry?

Morning Folks!!


So some interesting questions now arise. Are
minisites dead? The answer is I don’t know but there is no question that some and their
current model may need updating and what worked yesterday won’t work tomorrow. Some of my sites like Widgets.com are licensed and leased. Another was online for 9 years.

Then we shift to Google. The only upsetting part
is that they are judge, jury and executioner. You can’t even defend yourself.
It’s just open and shut. That is my only point here.
So I would understand identifying ones they had a problem with as opposed to shutting down without notice.But what is done is done and I won't look back. While there was little
pain for me, what happens when they do it to somebody that absolutely ruins
their life? Personally, I find it difficult to deal with folks like that and I
will do everything in my power from here on to look for alternative solutions
and never again be dependant on a partner that I truly believe as well as many others that I talk to, has a VERY DEEP
DISDAIN for the entire domain industry. I have seen it first hand too many
times and have always given them the benefit of the doubt. Those days are over.
Many folks are just too intimidated to speak out. I hear that a LOT. You folks may remember an incident at TRAFFIC a few shows back involving Google. We gave them stage time to explain. I think it was a load of crap now that I look back!


We can talk about “Developing” until we are blue
in the face. It is not about developing for the sake of it. The IDEA and the
engine you build to make money go thru your cash register is the key. That is
not easy. It is one of the most difficult challenges there is or everyone would
be successful with all their ventures. As we know, more than 90% fail. Online it is even higher.


Here is what I learned from my minisites portion
of the domains using adsense. The stats to me were more important than the
dollars earned. I was just looking for 1 domain to show any sign of life,
growth, interaction that could be built on and further developed. I would gladly trade the money owed to me (Dollars owed is not an issue) for the stats
that cost me quite a lot to obtain. Unfortunately I was locked out. But the
bottom line is this. In EVERY case, traffic did not grow. In EVERY case traffic
remained the same at BEST and mostly declined. In EVERY case I made less money than PPC. Not the
result I was looking for. I may have some more info later as they are now back
at PPC and we will see the numbers there. Lastly, this is not about me or my business model. So don't get distracted from the real issues here.


Have a GREAT Day!

Rick Schwartz





26 thoughts on “Interesting Questions. Are minisites Dead? How does”G” Really View Domainers and the Industry?

  1. Domain Name Auctions

    Rick,
    I agree that minisites aren’t where it’s at, which is why I build my own custom sites through Joomla or WordPress with at least 10 pages of real useful unique content. They rank well – better every day, and earn good money.
    However, my problem right now is Google’s over-reaching on these accounts. Just last month I lost 2k because G suddenly decided I violated some archaic clause without warrant.
    This is the time to sue Google and change the way it does business. I am more pained by the loss of statistics than by the loss of cash. How can I sell my site based on prior revenue if it never existed?
    If we can get the domaining world to wake up and file a class action, we can cause major pain here for years to come. G is now a real monopoly and it is set against domainers. If we don’t fight back, it will get much worse. Imagine if Google decides to de-index all of your websites simply because one site violated their expectations of”good webmaster content”.
    It’s not that far off. Think about it.

    Reply
  2. Eric Shannon

    I don’t know the details Rick, but my experience tells me that in the vast majority of cases, search engine traffic will not grow unless your site steadily attracts high-value links pointing to it. Without an effective strategy to build strong back links, most websites are DOA. Too much competition these days for it to be any other way. -Eric

    Reply
  3. owen frager

    No matter how you cloak it (minisite etc), made for adsense makes no sense. Because if your only goal is to make money off Google, they don’t need you.
    Take Ron Jackson’s recent piece on development and my piece about him.
    Ron IS the point. A shining example of what’s possible with two hands and a modem when a man sets out to make a difference, not money. Follow your passion and the money will follow.
    Too many domainers have it the other way around. Whatever you call their sites the business plan is”made for adsense” makes no sense because that’s what Google’s made for… why do they need to share with you?

    Reply
  4. Dominik Mueller

    You’re asking whether minisites are”dead”, but were they ever really”alive”?
    Minisites have always looked like an interim solution to me. They’re built around simple templates used for hundreds of other sites and the content is often mediocre at best. Overall, the user experience is dismal.
    That’s why I don’t think spending money on minisite development is the right response to the downturn of domain parking.
    Personally, I have had great success with building websites around WordPress. But I keep buying content and sometimes write articles myself for those sites if the topic interest me, and this way the sites continue to rank well in search engines and regularly get fresh content. So those aren’t minisites, but I make sure they grow. Some even have a good number of subscribers by now. All of them are cash flow positive, even when built on not-so-good domains. WordPress websites tend to get into search engines quickly compared to simple HTML or PHP sites, at least in my experience.
    Your money is probably better spent when hiring a good content writer and then using that content for a nice WordPress site. I haven’t spend any money on minisite development and I’m not going to do it in the future. This will only make those self-proclaimed developers richer, but it is, as said, only an interim solution.

    Reply
  5. dnClips.com - More than just domain Feeds

    Some of my sites are minisites type, some full fledged sites. Though I develop the sites myself and take utmost care not to offend google, Now I’ve removed adsense from all the minisite types. Don’t want to take risk. For developers like me, there is no other better option than adsense. I’ve tried others before, and was dissappointed. When i see adsense and google grow, initially I used to feel good. But now I feel scared. Every new change in their terms and conditions, I accept without any questions. I’ll have to continue this way as long as I don’t find a good alternative.

    Reply
  6. Tia Wood

    Rick,
    “Mini sites” describe exactly what they are: little sites that don’t scale. My comment on Acro’s blog was a reference to a good portion of the domain industry, not to you yourself. Honestly, you could probably publish the worst”under construction page” possible on most of your domains but it wouldn’t matter. You have a great portfolio. You have domain knowledge. You know what you are doing.
    Others, however, are using mini sites as an investment without having a good domain to back it up, without knowing what they are getting themselves into and without having any real plan to turn a profit, scale or increase value.
    That is the message I have been trying to get across to people.

    Reply
  7. Helder

    Google doesn’t like domainers, because google doesn’t want type in traffic, google wants to decide who gets traffic, they want to control the internet.
    Sometimes i look for sites that i know exist, and google doesn’t want to take me there, the site doesn’t show up, and they keep giving me sugestions, so they really want to decide who gets traffic.
    The worst part is that all webmasters become submissive to google, well does anyone remember how internet was before google? How did you find sites? Type in and links were and are the answer, the internet is a web of sites connected by links made by people for people.
    Google has power because it was given by all of us to them, but we can take their power.
    Why does everyone say google it? start saying type in, bing it, yahoo it, whatever
    Take power from google, don’t use google. Use all the rest but google.
    Another thing that i believe is a”false” question, big sites or mini sites, a lot of good content or not?
    It’s not about that always, you can have a one page site making a lot of money, and you can have a very good big website, loaded with great content that doesn’t make money, so that’s not the real question IMO.
    Though i agree that spending money with some mini sites companies out there is a waste of money and time, build your own mini site if you like with wordpress, and it’s free, and probably much better.
    Some of those mini sites services are so praised just because they belong to some famous domainers, but they’re not worth it.

    Reply
  8. Scott Alliy

    two points to add to the conversation Rick
    1) I have not heard the term monopoly tossed around and I think it is high time that the domain industry ICA and others begin to look seriously at this situation.
    2) I too had been affected by Google powers. Our news release site was suddenly and without warning dismissed as a Google News Source. The reason was that somebody (who they would not say) said something derogatory about our service. After much ado we were able to be reinstated but it pains me to think of the ease in which the general public can effectively and immediately squelch your business presences with Googles assistance.

    Reply
  9. Amanda

    Google HATES MFA sites – not domainers. Build a REAL quality site with fresh interesting content (like this one) and you will be fine. In doing so you will be aligning your objective with theirs which is to serve the best relevant results based on the intent of the searcher.
    Maybe many domainers have difficultly with Google because most just throw up parked pages and MFA sites that litter up the web instead of taking the time and effort to put out something worthwhile.
    I don’t get why many of the domainers that have plenty of financial resources don’t have REAL sites built on their web properties. The potential opportunity is absolutely huge if you know what your are doing…

    Reply
  10. Acro

    hello Rick,
    Your previous blog post spawned mine, which apparently in turn was the reason for this write-up. That’s the great result of interaction, even at a”virtual” level :)
    In my post at Acro.net I wondered why would you pay so much money to have minisites created; when the obvious – at that price range – would be to hire a web developer for the job. That, along with the fact that Google owns both the pie and the knife tell me that MFA sites (low level minisites made for Adsense in mind) tell me that domainers need, above all, to be educated on the options that they have. Monetization works in several layers and since we are not a unified industry we should educate those not aware of the better options out there, as opposed to the quickest and cheapest ones.

    Reply
  11. Ritz

    the internet is not Google.
    domoaners [not a typo] rely too much on it, making it more powerful. its time to turn this around. get off your bum and start proper development. there’s no such thing as easy money.
    lets not help make google the internet.

    Reply
  12. Aditya

    Hi Rick,
    I can understand how you feel about Google shutting you down without any notice or warning.
    But I am unclear about certain things, I’d appreciate it if you could clear this for me.
    1) Has Google shut your Adsense account?
    2) Have certain domains you own been banned?
    3) Has Google pushed your mini sites into their supplemental pages?
    4) What kind of content did you have on your mini sites, just articles, other media, what niche were they targeting?
    5) Most importantly, I’d like to know, why you think mini sites are dead because Google has shut your Adsense down, aren’t you willing to try other monetization options?
    Thanks,
    Aditya
    P.S. I develop mini sites for a living.

    Reply
  13. Teahupoo

    I have been feeling this same thing for years now.
    I had a partner a few years ago whose Adsense earnings dropped from 30k a month to around 3-4 k a month overnight because Google decided that his linking system gave him an unfair advantage.
    He actually took it all the way to a meeting with the FCC and other alphabet agencies with Google legal representation there as well and was basically told”tough shit”. That’s the way it is.
    What MANY in this country don’t realize is that the U.S. and the world as a whole have become controlled by powerful corporations that tell the governments what to do.
    Google was allowed to become as powerful as they are while Bill Gates got slapped with Anti Trust suits left and right.
    We should have stopped Google when it was a monkey begging for peanuts, now it is the elephant in the room eating everything and it will be very hard to do anything about it.
    T

    Reply
  14. Dave Wrixon aka Rubber Duck

    Minisites are junk that clogs up the Internet and especially Internet search engines. They (Google) have a legitimate interest. The argument that they are against domainers is a little perverse. They have always been the mainstay, but in a arguably one sided relationship.
    However, the elimination of minisites means that the numbers of clicks that Google would receive would drop very significantly. It must, however, be their objective to raise revenue by increasing quality. Advertisers are clearly unhappy about paying for junk.
    This could and should mean that the value of PPC goes up. It is not Google per se that has been diluting your earnings. It is the propagation of junk development that has been watering down your beer.

    Reply
  15. williamhite

    Hey Folks we can simply implement another system drop ppc and think out side the box!! The entertainmnet and Radio Industry does. We don’t have to reinvent the wheel I have blogged here before with no response, Folks just consider my blogs-“Spam” We can do better to help the domainers bottom line. Thoughts from williamblairpinc. We have many test sites for the domainers must see to believe. Can’t show to must because the software pirates would steal our ideas. From WilliamH

    Reply
  16. GOOLIES

    All as I can say, retribution is only a click click click away.
    Besides, some website owners will be very happy for it.

    Reply
  17. williamhite

    Folks Millions of domains will be happier and you will control your revenues!! Hint_”Point of Entry” Many think ppc is the only way to make money thats all most of us know 1996-1998 Bob Olson idealab gave life to the ppc industry and companies have built software to better drive these systems, others use other systems but r very quiet not to let the cat out of the bag..Domainers we can do better. WilliamH

    Reply
  18. EM @ KING.NET

    This serve us a clear indication that everyone must have a backup plan.
    I have websites with adsense but I also entertain direct advertisers. Hopefully, will become 100% direct advertisers.
    Cheers to all.

    Reply
  19. Dave Wrixon

    The big problem with Minisite development is that this traffic revenue has effectively been open to anyone. You didn’t need a quality domain, just a keyword rich domain, which are ten a penny. For those who have quality domains with direct traffic this has to be good news.

    Reply
  20. Tommy

    I posted a comment on DNMedia’s blog post about you and it wasn’t approved.
    All I said was that I found humor in there Motorsports.com title tag,”#1 Source for Motorsport Information”. With a 10 page site the information demand for motorsports must be weak to be the #1 source.
    Amazing comment denied. Hypocrites!

    Reply
  21. Ahsan

    Hi,
    I wanna be a domainer. Rick, please guide me with your precious knowledge & experience…
    Regards

    Reply
  22. Keral Patel

    Sorry to bring in another point of view but, mostly minisites sucks a lot. They have no chance competition with authoritative site in that niche.

    Reply

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