I recently asked NameDrive president Ed Russell about recent developments at his company, including IDN support and the $300,000 sale of Blackjack.de.
DNW: NameDrive has quickly become one of the most popular domain parking
services. How many domains are you currently monetizing? How quickly has this grown?
NameDrive: Since our launch in September 2005, we have shown extremely rapid growth, with Google saying we are the fastest-growing third party reseller their Adsense For Domains program has ever had. Within 6 months, we’d already been voted â€˜Top parking program’ in Domain Name Wire’s survey, so we’d obviously hit home with our client base as well as our advertising partners. If you look at the number of domains on our nameservers via DailyChanges, you can see that we have over 150,000 .com, .net, and .orgs on our system alone. Factoring in the TLDs from Europe (where we have very strong market presence) and URL forwarded domains, it adds up to several hundred thousand domains parked with NameDrive. After some teething problems back in September, we have never let our growth get ahead of us and we have constantly been adding server space to cope with the new load. We have recently increased our server capacity fivefold to ensure that the pages snap onto the page wherever in the world they are viewed from.
DNW: NameDrive launched IDN support in February. I’ve seen varying degrees of “IDN support” at other domain parking services. How does it work at NameDrive?
NameDrive: If you look around IDN communities, such as IDNforums.com, you will see that IDN domainers are arguably the most passionate domain owners out there. They have invested a great deal of money in domains which have little traffic now but will very probably be extremely valuable in the future rather than the present, much like the early domainers in the 90s. NameDrive always wants to be at the forefront of domain monetization technology and therefore set out to provide the first-ever full implementation for IDN parking.
We were the first company to allow users to add domains in both Unicode and Punycode; we were the first company to show all IDNs correctly on the parked page and, we are now the first company to provide full IDN support, including keywords, related searches, as well as portals in Japanese, Arabic, Russian, Korean and Thai. This was a huge implementation project and we’re delighted with the results. Traffic is still building on these domains, but we are well ahead of the competition in being ready for the future of International Internet traffic.
DNW: Congrats on your brokerage sale of Blackjack.de. I’ve seen different amounts for this sale. Did the sale include Craps.de, and what was the total sales price?
NameDrive: Thanks. As some people know, our principle founder has much experience as a broker, and while we don’t deal actively with day to day brokerage, we have excellent contacts to some of the biggest buyers in the industry and are always proud to work on such big deals, blackjack.de being the biggest-ever reported.de sale. Blackjack.de and Craps.de sold together as a package deal for a total of $315,000, where the lion’s share of the price was taken up by Blackjack for $300,000.
DNW: Speaking of your “Park and Sell” brokerage, this is something fairly innovative in the domain parking world. What volume of domains are you selling through the “Park and Sell” program?
NameDrive: We know that finding a buyer for a domain can be a long and laborious process. By having contacts with competitive, accredited buyers, we can facilitate the process considerably and offer an excellent opportunity to sell single domains or entire portfolios. Though we have only recently launched our program, we receive several emails on a daily basis from domain owners looking to sell their domains through the P&S program, and do sales in the range of $10,000 a week on average. This is a number that we expect to increase significantly as we continue to increase our visibility, ramp up our efforts, and close out the larger level sales that we are working on (these deal can take months to hammer out). Already we are putting the finishing touches on a healthy .co.uk deal that should be made public in the next few weeks.
It is also important to note here that the vast majority of offers on domains come through the parked page. Our customers have informed us of several large, 5 figure, sales which have gone through via the link on their parked page. We allow this link to take the sale away to any sales page you like, be it your own sales page or a public sales platform, so park and sell’s total volume is probably much higher than what we even are aware of.
DNW: What do you consider to be the biggest threat to NameDrive and the
domain parking industry in general over the next three years?
NameDrive: Three years is a long time in this industry, if you consider that NameDrive itself is barely 10 months old. The domain parking industry is not so much a domain industry as a traffic monetization industry and, while the channels which monetize traffic may flux and wane, the traffic itself will only continue to grow in the future. We prefer to see the coming possibilities rather than the threats. Threats can endanger current channels within the domain monetization industry, but traffic as such will continue to exist and we always aim to be at the forefront of traffic monetization.
Thanks to Ed for taking the time to update Domain Name Wire on its progress.