TrafficZ shuts down on Wednesday

End of an era: TrafficZ to shut its doors on Wednesday.

TrafficZThought Convergence sold off its primary operating businesses this year: it sold Agreed to Escrow.com and Aftermarket.com to Igloo.

That left domain name parking company TrafficZ. Today, the company emailed clients informing them that the service will cease operations at 12 am on Wednesday.

I’m not sure how much domain name traffic was still running through TrafficZ. Thought Convergence offered domain name parking with a first tier PPC provider through its Aftermarket.com platform, whereas TrafficZ is now using secondary PPC providers.

Still, if you have any domains sitting on TrafficZ nameservers, now would be a good time to change them. Every year I notice a couple of my domain names pointing to the servers of defunct domain parking platforms. That’s wasted money.

TrafficZ was a big player during the go-go years of domain name parking. It was frequently a major sponsor of TRAFFIC and hosted numerous parties during domain name conferences.

Researchers study the “Dark Side of Domain Parking”

A team of researchers says a number of domain name parking companies are up to no good.

A group of researchers, mostly from Indiana University, recently presented a study about the “Dark Side of Domain Parking”.

The study (pdf) was presented at USENIX Security Symposium in August, but I just became aware of it today and don’t recall this being covered elsewhere.

The researchers wanted to understand the domain name parking business and if parking companies were up to no good. They concluded that parking companies behave legitimately most of the time, but are involved in illicit activities occasionally to juice their revenues. Click to continue reading…

Warning: do you know where your parked domain traffic is going?

Zero click traffic may lead to scam and installer sites.

“Zero click” monetization for parked domains, in which domain traffic is forwarded to another site rather than landing on a page full of ads, is nothing new in the domain name industry.

In recent years, though, more parking companies have integrated with zero click providers in order to compensate for falling revenues from Google ads.

Many domain owners are probably not aware that some of their traffic is being sent to other sites rather than a lander. This could be problematic.

Domain consultant Joseph Peterson, who also writes expired domain reports for Domain Name Wire, recently pointed out a couple instances of zero click forwarding in which the resulting website included a scam or misleading site. Click to continue reading…

Rightside signs new Google domain parking agreement

Company says material terms are “substantially similar” to the prior agreement.

Rightside, parent company of eNom and domain parking platform HotKeys, has signed a new domain name parking agreement with Google.

In an SEC filing, the company stated that the agreement is similar to the one it replaces:

In general, the material terms of the Agreement are substantially similar to the Prior Agreement, including compliance with Google’s policies, maintenance of service obligations and mutual indemnification provisions. Unlike the Prior Agreement, this Agreement no longer includes Google’s Websearch service. The other changes in the Agreement consist of revisions to Google’s form of service agreement, minor changes to the legal terms of the Agreement, and updates to reflect changes in the relationship between Rightside and Google since the Prior Agreement was executed with Demand Media in 2012. The Agreement has a term of two years and contains customary termination provisions.

Websearch was a requirement in previous contracts. It required parking companies to include organic Google search results on some parked pages; this is no longer a requirement.

As for the material terms, my understanding is that all Google parking partners are now (or will be shortly) on identical contracts, including revenue shares. For some companies that might be a big rev share drop, for others it might be an increase or about the same.

You may view Rightside’s previous agreement with Google (with all the juicy details redacted) in this document.

Why your new TLDs won’t work well with domain parking (yet)

Domain parking ads don’t consider the full meaning of a domain name that spans the dot.

A couple weeks ago Donuts launched the .cash top level domain name.

This got me thinking about domain parking. I’ve owned a few .com domain names with the term “cash” in them. When they got clicks, they were high dollar clicks. There are lots of expensive Adwords terms related to cash.

So would traffic to something.cash monetize well?

No, not on the basis of the top level domain name.

As of right now, Google does not consider the new TLD term when deciding which ads to serve on parked domain names. It only considers the second level domain name.

This creates a problem for domain names in which you need both the left and right of the dot to determine the full meaning, e.g. austin.condos.

Sedo, one of the largest domain name parking companies, told Domain Name Wire that Google has confirmed to it that considering the new TLD is in Google’s feature pipeline.

However, I wouldn’t expect Google to roll it out any time soon. There’s very little traffic to new TLDs so far. Sedo said that new TLDs accounted for just 0.13% of its traffic in June.

I have come across a couple examples of parked domains that seem to show ads based on the full context of the domain name despite the full meaning spanning the dot, so there’s hope for decent monetization while you wait.