New services show the trend continues, but are automated site generators the future of domain parking?
In September 2007 I wrote about DomainEmbarking.com, a service that generates a parking page that looks more like a real web site than a parked page.
For a brief history of automated site generation, here’s a snippet from that article:
A few years ago savvy entrepreneurs figured out they could mass-develop web sites based on niche keywords and penetrate search engines. A number of software programs were released that auto-generated 1,000 page web sites. Most of these generators would take a few keywords you submitted, generate a list of related keywords from Overture, and then “screen-scrapeâ€ search results and news articles that included those keywords.
And it worked for a while. I used a program to create these sites and started earning over $1,000 a day. But then search engines like Google started cracking down on two fronts. First, they told Adsense publishers (like me) that these sites didn’t meet their quality expectations. There went my grand a day. Second, they tweaked their algorithms to kick out these mass-produced sites. For example, they took into consideration how quickly a site grew. A site that appears with 1,000 pages of content on the first day probably isn’t legit.
There are a couple more services now, including one with venture backing, that offer enhanced parking services that automatically generate web sites based on domain names. Will they thrive where past efforts have failed?
Rob Monster thinks so. His Monster Venture Partners, which also backs Healthcare.com, Patents.com, and SharedReviews, just funded EVOLanding.
In its own words, EVOlanding is a next-generation domain monetization platform built around its ability to rapidly generate topic-relevant, media-rich websites.
Pictured: landing page for DoubleTonic.com
EVOLanding CEO Geoffrey Nuval is quick to differentiate his product from auto site generators. “Other ‘next-generation’ services currently out there are not very much different from the automated site generators of yesteryear,” said Nuval. “Their main purpose is to trick search engines into bringing them traffic, but just like a traditional parking page those visitors very rarely return as there is no real value provided to them.”
Nuval says EVOLanding has built its architecture with a sophisticated semantic engine so that it can provide relevant, specific content and create a unique website that users actually return to. The company has deals with content partners such as Shopping.com, Epinions, and Podcast.com. The company shares revenue with domain owners.
A competing service is WhyPark.com. WhyPark is different from traditional parking companies in that it gives domainers 100% of revenue. Domain owners pay a one time fee of $99 to create and host up to 100 domain sites.
WhyPark founder Craig Rowe claims that 33% of traffic WhyPark domains receive is organic search traffic. Even better, 20% of the traffic is from repeat visitors.
Rowe also differentiates his service from auto generators of the past. “The pages are by no means static and each domain ultimately becomes a niche, themed site with its own unique blend of content,” said Rowe. “We use search engine and web development best practices and keep an eye on webmaster guidelines.”
So is this the wave of the future? Will traditional domain parking be replaced by these new services?
There are a couple things working in their favor. First, click rates on traditional parking pages might wane as web surfers become familiar with them. Also, more and more domain owners are registering domains that don’t get type-in traffic and must attract search engines. With a team of on-staff engineers managing search engines, these services offer hope that they will succeed.
But questions still remain. Will search engines try to eliminate these sites from their indexes? Will they find “footprints” in pages to remove them?
Ironically, the key to success may reside in limiting its success. The more auto-generated sites, the more overlap…and the higher likelihood that the search engines will take notice. For its part, EVOLanding has only accepted about 8%-9% of domains submitted to its system.
Regardless, it’s worth considering these services for your domains that don’t receive much type-in traffic.