How browser changes are making a dent in direct navigation traffic

Browser features change the way people navigate the web.

Last week I wrote about how Sedo’s domain name parking business continues to struggle.

The company cites a few reasons for the decline, including “advances made in browser technologies, which alters the circumstances surrounding monetization in the parking business”.

There’s no doubt that browsers are blurring the lines between typing in a domain name and a search. What that means for type-in traffic can be subject to debate.

I asked Sedo about what it is seeing from a direct navigation standpoint and why it thinks browser changes are affecting its business. Here’s what Sedo CEO Tobias Flaitz has to say about it:

In general, new browser technology and browsing trends are changing the way people navigate the web. For example, those of us who browse the web using Google Chrome see no differentiation between the URL bar and the search function. This means that more users are typing searches, and not domain names, directly into the URL bar. Auto-fill technologies and search algorithms are also improving rapidly, so browsers do not accept as many misspellings. Overall, this means that browsing often begins with a search instead of direct navigation, which inevitably affects type-in traffic to parked names. However, any web user who knows a site’s URL or is interested in purchasing a domain can still navigate to that domain name directly.


  1. JS says

    Wild idea, but I’m wondering if the major browser’s commingling of the url bar and search bar combined with Google’s market share could lead to an antitrust suit. If you think of it from an advertiser view point, once could argue that it’s a scheme to turn most of web users navigation into search traffic, thus increasing Adwords dependency for advertisers..

  2. Alan says

    @JS Well said……

    It is also, imo, slowly depressing the aftermarket as more end users are investing in seo development.

  3. says

    Andrew not 100% true
    If you start to type a name even before you canb type dotcom a suggestion box drops down and of course you choose the .com but are taken to a search page where that is the first paid ad. This is on a new “unified” browsing experience Apple slipped into a release last week. It happens for every vendor I check daily- Voodoo, COnstant Contact etc and they are paying Google for my visit and in turn Google is giving Apple a dollar for confusing me. Apple made over one billion dollars off this last year. I did 600 searches on Apple this weekend so I made them $600. You?

    There was an anti-trust on this- the expert and Google watch dog spoke at TRAFFIC last year.

    ALso will be happening on Chrome and FireFox.

  4. JS says

    Andrew, I understand that.

    However, if you have a and user mistype your url, this traffic will be sold to you (or your competitors) instead of simply failing to resolve anywhere and users themselves correcting their error and ultimately direct navigating at your at no cost to you.

    Can you afford not to use adwords in these circumstances ?

  5. M says

    I totally see how combining the browser/search is leading to confusion and can hurt domains. But I honestly don’t understand why some people keep hyping up “voice” as the end-all to domains.

    When you are at the office, school, or in public, are you just going to start speaking out loud and saying websites/searches. I think not.

    When you are sitting home alone do you want to start talking to your computer ? I think not.

    Maybe when you’re in the car asking for directions/making reservations/etc. I just don’t see the “voice” threat. Typing is more private and conducive to personal browsing and chatting.

  6. says

    thats why i hate google chrome, they try to search everything instead of you have typed the write address in address bar. in my opinion, please use mozilla for better internet experience.

  7. Orangelo says

    Voice? Who cares? A person can still direct navigate with voice.

    Where is Tobias getting this information? Again, it’s “how he feels/what he thinks”, but were is the study that shows this?

    I believe most that direct navigate are not looking for a hand in finding a site. They are trying to go to a specific site, so they are past “looking” for a site.

    I’d like to know where Tobias gets his facts. Not calling him out, just sayin’ this is just one guy at a parking company that did not cite references, with all due respect.

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