VeriSign CEO: “PPC is a Dead Thing”

PPC no longer a driver of domain name registrations, says VeriSign CEO.

When it comes to growth opportunities for the .com namespace, domain parking “is a dead thing”, VeriSign President and CEO Mark McLaughlin explained on an analyst conference call yesterday.

McLaughlin was responding to a question from JP Morgan Chase & Co analyst Sterling Auty, who asked:

…on the 7.9 million new names that came in during the quarter, you mentioned international, but are there any other kind of trends or sources to those new name additions that you see?

McLaughlin responded:

No, Sterling, we’re fairly consistent quarter-over-quarter here as far as the sources of the names. So PPC is a dead thing. And it’s hard to tell any longer, anymore what’s in there at all. So it’s really just to where we used to call traditional and then broken out between domestic and international…

After years of registrations solely for domain parking purposes, this is no longer a growth driver for .com. This was, of course, driven by two changes: 1) the drop in parking earnings and 2) the end of the domain tasting “loophole”.

On the upside to VeriSign, this may mean higher renewal rates and perhaps a less price-sensitive customer base in the future.

Deutsche Bank analyst Todd Raker asked:

If you think Pay Per Click has really gone away, do you think the traditional base is price sensitive at current levels?

to which McLaughlin responded:

I think that the traditional base is price sensitive at the current levels. I think that what traditional base is trying dig in a lot of value from the name, for whatever purposes you’re using it or they like to keep them so they’re buying them and they renew them.

Keep in mind that a change of 50 cents or so in a year isn’t a lot of money if you only have a handful of domains. It’s when you have thousands that it starts to add up.

Other growth opportunities for VeriSign include new top level domain names, including IDN versions of its existing domains such as .com, said McLaughlin:

The second thing is we have growth opportunities right around that infrastructure related to like the new gTLDs I just discussed, both the new gTLDs themselves plus the internationalized version of the TLDs we run today. And if you take into account everything I’ve been saying about international growing very nicely, we think that there’s some growth opportunities around the non-English versions of the TLDs we run.

(Transcript from SeekingAlpha)


  1. says

    I agree. I have not parked a single domain in nearly a year now. Instead, I am forwarding them to for sale pages with details on the name.

    I also agree that domain registration price increases are a good thing; wrote about it not too long ago. DotCo did the right thing with their higher price point, because it adds alot of perceived value.

    Sometimes it’s not easy to see the big picture, but it’s important to keep your finger on the pulse of the industry. It changes so fast we need to adopt the latest tech/trends/strategy or you may be wasting your time.

    P.S. Mini-sites are dead.

  2. Mark says

    Well it was fun while it lasted. Gone are the days where you could register domains left and right and make a nice profit from domain parking.

  3. Mike says

    The only effort that I make is to sell to end users as quickly as possible. Where to get leads is a good topic.. Estibot costs too much. Scratching through Google is rough.. Ugh.

  4. says

    You now have more people “developing”.

    Scripting via people’s Home Media Servers (Linux boxes) now allow Blogs to be created auto-magically. [Example: One could create a Domainer.BLOG by auto-scraping 6 or 8 major sites.]

    With any MLM platform, people always look for ways to “make money while they sleep”.

  5. James says

    That sounds like a song title, “PPC Is a Dead Thing”.

    Maybe I’ll have that put on my epitaph if I die penniless from domain parking. :)

    Truthfully you can say parking companies are a dead thing, because they are all like sick patients waiting to die in a nursing home instead of reinventing themselves. It’s a sick cycle they are in.

  6. Em @ says

    And the continuous increase of dot com registration fee. I will not be surprise to see them increase every year.

    Why stop increasing if you make more money? Simply a greed concept but effective in business.

  7. says

    PPC — dinosaur business plan…
    Develop Develop Develop
    on my developed domains I earn
    12x more per month than when it
    was just a PPC…

    Jim Fleming
    — what is auto scraping…
    is that something we’d want
    to let someone do to us ??
    Does that benefit us to
    be autoscraped ??

    ~Patricia Kaehler – DomainBELL

  8. wow says

    amazing ppl fall for these statements. or maybe they’re just echoing the hype/spin/etc to ward off competitors.

    vrsn is just frustrated b/c they can’t get in on ppc to the extent the other players do. (recall sitefinder.) they’re under too much scrutiny b/c of their crucial role.

    but i think they have their sights on larger margins: auctions. let’s see if they can pull it off w/o backlash.

    content means nothing in terms of profits. content is for the non-profit internet that’s sadly in danger of extinction. traffic + ads or e-processed sales are the only things that matter if you’re seeking profits from the wire.

    get real.

  9. wow says

    all he was saying in that conf call is that he doesn’t see any spikes in registrations that he can make sense of. he also admits that he can’t really see much of anything that makes sense to him in the names that are being registered. does that mean that there is nothing really there? no. it means vrsn just can’t see anything. i think vrsn is always one step behind. they merely react to obvious trends. i do not see them as an very entrepreneurial (=risk-taking, forward-thinking) company. but i’m open to contrary arguments.

  10. Frank says

    Rest in peace domain parking. You were fun while you lasted but sadly you are no longer profitable.

    We must part our ways. I don’t want to but I must if I want to keep my head above the water.

    Hello content development.

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