Google lets customers bypass DomainSponsor, Sedo, and other domain parking companies.
[See update at bottom with latest information.] In a surprising move, Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) is now offering Adsense publishers the opportunity to park their domains directly with Google, rather than using a second-tier provider such as DomainSponsor or Sedo. Domain Name News caught on to this official Google post earlier today.
I’m personally shocked at this move, given the retreat Google seems to have been making in the domain channel. Google previously only wanted to work with people generating over 750,000 visits a month, and then later shut down Adsense for Domains applications all together. For now, it seem that Google is not going to cut the long tail out of domain parking. It also isn’t distancing itself further from the industry. It is doing just the opposite.
But before you get excited about going direct to Google, I suspect your earnings will go down by doing so. Domain parking aggregators such as DomainSponsor negotiate high revenue shares with Google, something you won’t be able to do. Additionally, templates are limited to Google’s standard Adsense for Domains landers, which probably won’t convert as well as advanced landers from traditional domain parking companies. Also, you can’t just change your nameservers or forward your domains; you must create an A record and CNAME for each domain.
I suspect Google may be trying to put heat on parking companies by opening up its system to anyone with an Adsense account. At first this program will attract people who only have a handful of domains and can’t get accepted by most domain parking companies, but I’m sure Google will expand it from there.
I logged into my account moments ago to see how it works. The screenshot below shows the option of Adsense for Domains on the Ad Setup tab:
You submit your domains for consideration, and they are “pending” until Google approves them. I suspect it does a general scan for trademarks.
You can edit the colors of your landing pages and suggest keywords that should be used to trigger ads. However, you can’t edit the layout, ad pictures, or customize text.
UPDATED: I have set up my first domain on the service. It was painful setting it up because you have to set up A records and CNAME for each domain. Furthermore, it just uses Google’s simple one-click template. The front page ads are all from the content feed instead of the search feed. It appears that if you click on related links it still shows content ads. The only way it shows search ads is if you actually type in a search term. Let me know if you see otherwise. Also, I’ve heard that a beta tester used the system and received poor results. That doesn’t surprise me. But Google may have some tricks up its sleeves…it always does. Here’s what my landing page looks like: