Morning folks!!

The move by Google is potentially the most sweeping change to come to
domainers since the inception of the industry. Earlier this year I believed and
was told directly that there would be a major shakeup by Google. Abuses in the
industry were so bad and our 'Partners' were putting the entire industry at
risk. I was told directly that if the domain industry did not clean things up,
Google would. Of course I had no idea in what form that 'Clean up' would come in
but it was clear that the industry was not focused on cleaning it up

We may have the economy to thank for saving us because Google did what I
believed they would do, just did it to the parking companies which they too must
have believed was a big part of the problem. They did this in spite of the
relationships with the ppc companies. (Maybe some of those relationships were strained) This showed that business trumps those
relationships with the parking companies. That was an overwhelming move.

The real reality is the MOTIVE behind Google's move. If besides cleaning things up it is to have a
more direct relationship with domain owners? Than we are big winners. If it is
to stop the abuses going on by some parking companies, then domainers are the
big winners. If it is to get rid of the TM traffic, domainers are the big
winners. If it is to get rid of the CRAP traffic that parking companies have
mixed in with our PURE traffic then domainers are the big winners.

Now if you are a conspiracy type guy than there is a host of issues where
domainers could be losers. That would take quite some time to fully explore. I
have yet to even go down that road in my mind yet. I am still wrapping my head around what this move means. There are so many facets on so many fronts. It will take all of 2009 to see the full impact.

Right now the big losers seem to be the parking companies IF they continue
their present formula. Parking companies provide a service. I am willing to pay
for that service and continue using it, but transparency comes in many forms and the curtain on this
has been pulled, exposed and all are about to see things they never saw before.

People LIE......NUMBERS don't. Parking companies have long thought of
themselves as our 'Partners' and they got their 'Partner' share. Today the
equation changed and now they are folks that provide a SERVICE. How much is
their service worth? 50%?? NO! 35%? NO! 25%? NO! We all know what a reasonable
number is and the parking companies that choose the right number will survive
and maybe even thrive while the others are SURE to collapse. Here is what I said
in a interview in August:

'Here is the bottom line. There is going to
be a new solution come to domainers that will knock PPC out of the box
unless things change. I am going to do everything I can to make that
happen until our “Partners” act like partners. Until then, they have REAL REASON
to be concerned. PPC companies provide a service, but without our traffic
they have nothing
. Is that service really worth 50% of our revenue?
35%? Until now we have seen huge growth in the PPC companies. It is the
domainer fueling their growth while sacrificing our

Parking will survive, many of the players won't. See there is
only one way for parking companies to survive and that
is to assume their proper role in all this. The
companies that do not embrace the new reality are doomed. Not because I say so,
doomed because no company can make the wrong choice on this one and survive.
Parking companies provide a 'Service.' How much is that Service worth? Today,
less than yesterday and those parking companies that don't figure this out I
believe will collapse.

I think Google may have realized that it may be easier to deal with 20
parking companies, but in the long run they have little or no control and no
real relationship with their 'Clients' that are the ones they are actually doing
business with that provide the TRAFFIC. If they don't develop and nurture that
relationship it leaves the door wide open for a challenge. This takes the domain
channel out of play to a large extent or at least strengthens their position against any upcoming challenge. This prevents a parking company from
jumping ship and moving millions of daily visitors from going to a potential
competitor. This move is so big and so bold that it may be months before we know
the full extent of the impact. This has the potential to be the single biggest
game changer in the history of the domain industry. Never been a better time to
shake things up.

Google has changed the game and in a dramatic way with this bold move. It
was long overdue. I really never thought they would do something so drastic and
domainer friendly. I won't deny I was concerned about Google cutting off the
entire domain channel given the depth of the abuses. I think they have been
wrestling with how to handle this all year. Google sent enough warnings that if
the domain industry would not clean house, they would. Well, they did just that.
But the change they made is so sweeping I really never thought it would
happen. They have embraced good domain traffic in a very big and dramatic way
while planting the seeds of cleaning up the unproductive traffic that hurts
everyone. For now, domainers have gotten a great Christmas gift. I think this
may be just one step in a series of steps to shake out the crap and reward the
gold. That said, I still think parking companies have their role and we will
just have to see what exactly this shake up leaves in its' wake.

One thing for sure, the entire impact of this can not be articulated in one
post or even a series of posts. This opens things up in a way that creates
competition and competition will create opportunity. But it will take a long
time to get our heads around this and to see the impact it will have. As I
stated in the DNJournal article last week, 'I think the numbers will tell
the real story.'

Have a GREAT day!

27 thoughts on “

  1. owen frager

    Great post Rick and great to read a post again from you.
    I think Google’s is a defensive move as Microsoft is coming out of the closet with a big domain push that I talked about on your board showcasing DT research over a year ago. It’s likely they are gunning for the top portfolios because if they can’t have Yahoo, they can at least extract the PPC value that was at Yahoo’s core. Will be an interesting time.

  2. Robbie Ferguson

    Excellent Post Rick!
    Glad to see you back – Hope you enjoyed your cruise!
    Google is going to Change the way we all do our business and I personally believe it can only be for the better of our industry!
    Lets hope they clean up and make change!
    Some parking companies shall surrive but most wont!
    Many parking companies allow fraud to happen and do nothing and it shall be good to see them gone!
    Here’s to 2009 – The Year of Change!

  3. VicW

    An interesting move by Google to be sure, and a complete about face, after saying that parked pages provided no value and were a waste of space etc… They now seem to see real user value. Probably what they see is the possibility of increasing profits. It doesn’t smell too good to me. All in all Rick, you appear to be in favour of Google’s decision, but don’t you think that they are merely trying to kill the competition. Do you really think there will be any tangible benefit for people with a few dozen domains ?

  4. larry

    As far as I know, parking companies that use google estimate per domain revenue. Dealing with Google directly could be great since I would assume you can truly judge how that domain is performing with a Google feed. However, since Google is not going to tell you what % of the ad dollar you are receiving, your only choice still is to test this program against different google based parking companies and see which performs the best.
    Of course, Don’t forget that a Yahoo feed can yield totally different results.

  5. Samit

    Great post Rick. Excellent insight into the all the various perspectives.
    I personally don’t think parking companies will die, but will evolve into value add systems and get more transparent, as they should have by now.
    And the numbers will tell the story, specially if every domain owner can move the domain to google and see any difference in revenue for themselves.

  6. RKB

    Good to see your opinion on the”Adsense For Domains” situation.
    I must agree that google want to create long term relationship with domainers and it will benefit both google and the domainers because its not business savy to ignore more than 200 million domains that have been registered worldwide. It is a master stroke by google imo.
    Parking companies have to change QUICKLY and repair their relationship with big domainers especially they must give them fair share of revenue plus full transparency. Otherwise domainers will follow the money imo.

  7. Lawrence

    You obviously seem upset about parking companies, ‘partners’, commissions, etc.
    But you don’t elaborate further, what exactly you want to see done differently.

  8. Mike Cohen

    Google has embraced domainers? hmm, by providing the content (lower tier) feed of ads and paying even less for the traffic than even yahoo does?? This is called being”fucked in the ass” and when domainers get cornered with no other real options only then will this Google AFD will be good enough.
    This is nothing to get excited over about… Really.
    I tried it for a few days…. granted I don’t park too many names but when I glanced at the statistics on the domains it made me sick. My AdSense earnings are even more than that… and the traffic is all within the same niche. Which was travel, dating and some shopping related domains.
    What I am more curious to find out is what happens next, on Google’s part….. What are they planning behind the scenes ;)

  9. Mark

    Hi Rick:
    Thanks for the post.
    Here’s to”shaking things up a bit.”
    Please post more often.

  10. Dom Aimer

    “With AdSense for domains, users can find relevant information… Today we present ads, links, and search results on the pages, and may add other useful information in the future.”
    “In addition, we regularly receive requests from advertisers who have found domains to be an effective way to reach their users.”
    That’s what domaineers have been saying for years. Domaineering is a legit form of advertising. Many domaineers are serious advertising professionals providing a valuable service, now finally domaineering is recognized by big G.
    And now that G**gle has on just rolled out adsense for domains it appears that it has both recognized domaineering as a legitimate Internet marketing business and that that some companies find parked domains an effective way to carry their advertising to potential customers. Advertising that converts well. This slams the door shut on the discussion about domaineers being almost scammers or semi-cybersquatters. In what appears to be 180 degree turn about-face, the world’s largest SE has now become a domain parking service provider itself thereby giving it’s stamp of approval to domain monetization. Why? Was this done because it got tired watching parking companies eat away at it’s ad revenue lunch?

  11. furkat

    Hi there,
    Isn’t it a classic form of abuse of a dominant position in a leverage market under Antitrust Law Section 2 of the Sherman Act and Article 82 of the EC Treaty?
    Do not be deceived by Google’s move. This move is good in short – term for domainers but the picture might blur in the long term.
    Any input would be very helpful.

  12. domeinguru

    i don’t like the fact that Google is rolling this out. We are working with a Dutch Adsense account and we have to wait till this will work in Europe as well..

  13. Steven Fox

    Good to see some new posts on this site again. As a domainer with no money I don’t have much of an opinion, but it is always nice to see the parking companies get their just desserts. Now who wants to give me a domain and get me started. haha
    Don’t forget yahoo has a feed to, which I think uses.

  14. HOWARD

    A lot of folks see conspiracy around every bend. I see business decisions that lead to profits. I have had some domains do better with Adsense than parked, but I have also seen the opposite. It seems that this move should be accepted by domainers as an alternative outlet for our revenue streams at this point – nothing more, nothing less.

  15. Rob Sequin

    The giant has been awakened! :-)
    Glad to see you still have your finger on the pulse of the industry.
    1. I would imagine that Google will expand this program in 2009 so people can customize templates, restrict keywords etc.
    2. They might be doing this to get more people to use adsense in general. AFD might encourage new domain owners to open an adsense account.
    3. 2009 needs to be the year of development for domain owners. Parking and adsense revenue is lazy money. Having multiple direct advertisers is the way to go. Also, if you can sell products, subscriptions or services, that’s a better source of revenue.

  16. Terence Chna

    I doubt its the money, Google is doing a detailed investigation into the quality of natural type in traffic (sans the TM typos) and using clickforensics to evidence out the extent of click fraud/botnets.
    I’m sure they will have a couple of test sites with spotlight tags to measure bounce rates and drill down to check on traffic quality
    Of course, nobody will be silly enough to use botnets on Google’s AFD direct network, or attempt mass scale human clicking.
    It’s probably Google’s way to get themselves out of the royal legal and monetary mess they are in right now with TM holders and advertisers who got crap traffic.
    I’ve run a couple of Adwords campaigns for some major clients, and all I can say is the conversion quality is extremely poor compared to even normal banner campaigns.

  17. Henry

    I think that Google will do the same thing they did with AdSense. When AdSense started the payout were big. Then when they start getting a large sign up and a large revenue flow, then they start paying less. I think many of us do not like the idea of Google taking total control of the parking space.

  18. Swizzlestick

    There has been talk lately that Microsoft has a plan to start buying up domains and/or entire portfolios.
    MS & G are the two great powers in the Internet industry. When one of these companies does something, there is a good chance that it is partially motivated by what the other is doing (or might do).
    It seems like Google usually manages to stay one step ahead of Microsoft by being creative or by acting first.
    There are probably several reasons Google has made this move. But, one of these reasons might well be to gain an advantage in the domain acquisition aspect of the business.
    How would these companies determine what domains to target for acquisition?
    Microsoft surely has some method other than wandering the cyberstreets looking for domains.
    Whatever that method of targeting domains is, Google may have just created a better one.
    What better way to find out a domains worth than having them in your own system? With all that data, Google should have a good idea of which domains might be good targets for acquisition.
    Of course, this could be just wishful thinking from a domainers perspective. Wouldn’t it be nice to have either one of these big players knocking on your door (hopefully offering good prices) for some of your domains?

  19. Chris

    A very interesting post, but i guess I’m one of the skeptics, unless google as come up with a plan to turn those parked pages in to a useful resource for searchers.
    But as a domainer i park, as a searcher i hate parked pages, google’s priority will always remain with the searcher.
    A lot to consider and as you rightly state, it could be some time before we see the real affect on the domain industry.

  20. Michael

    Great post, Rick!
    I’m in the process of moving a portion of my domain portfolio over to Google’s Adsense for Domains platform to find out how well it works.
    Thus far it is taking quite awhile to get from setup to pending to approved. If the process is as smooth as promised by Google, this is an industry-changing event.
    Imagine the possibilities of integrating with the GAN (Google Affiliate Network) merchants and really bringing true value to parked domains, by providing relevant affiliate jumps for consumers. A win-win situation, for everyone involved.
    Happy Holidays!
    – Michael

  21. UFO.ORG

    Google is simply an aggregator of adverts. There are however now large entities that are aggregators of products and services.
    Just perhaps the industry should cut Google out and cut the product/service wholesalers in. Act as an intermediary. Team up with someone like and build templates that domain holders can populate.
    There is defintely value out there, just requires some lateral thinking to engage these large wholesalers on a mutually beneficial basis.

  22. Don

    I would think they will take around 30-35% of the market in the first year. They will roll out so many tools that it will make it very hard for an old traditional parking company to compete. They want to make more money and they will. I am certain payouts will be above average for first few years to capture business, then after that it is anyones guess.

  23. Chris at Accurate Name

    Nice post Rick. I think that google has taken a drastic step, although from looking at the interface and method they have currently implemented for parked domain monetization I think it will be a while before it is a practical option. I think it will force parking companies to go and get more direct advertising partners, creating higher payouts for people with strong, clean portfolios. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  24. Convergence

    Google has to answer to stockholders just like any other public company.
    Whether they admit it or not, they lost a portion of their revenue stream by pushing indexed parking pages to the bottom of the search results.
    Google has to continually be innovative or risk dying out like AOL.
    They started testing the waters with affiliate programs by offering CPA ads – then bought out the Perfomics affiliate network.
    Their toe is in the water again – who are they looking to acquire next?

  25. Vurg

    I think that this is good for the industry. Only availble for US users now though.
    I think that parked domains with annoying features like unrelated keywords and popunders do more damage to most advertisers than good. Fraud is also a big problem for the domain industry. Good to see that Google is showing more of an interest.


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