Look for Google and Yahoo to cut out low traffic domains.
I’m at the Admirals Club in Dallas, en route to Orlando for TRAFFIC. On the short flight from Austin I read the latest Forbes, which includes a short article about domain names. Titled “Bo Knows Rico”, the article discusses a lawsuit against Google that has, among other plaintiffs, Bo Jackson (same case as Vulcan Golf). The plaintiffs contend that Google is aiding cybersquatters and benefiting from their trademarked brands by showing ads on their domains.
Google is holding fast with its contention that it can’t control what everyone is doing on its ad network and that it isn’t responsible. But let’s face it, the future of domain parking will be different. I predict that within a couple years Google and Yahoo will kick the “long tail” off its domain parking channels. It will only show ads on domains that receive high traffic (say, 100 visitors per day). That will allow them to control trademark issues better.
There will be special deals for direct relationships and people with clean portfolios such as Frank Schilling. But people who use services like Parked.com, DomainSponsor, and Sedo will lose out. If your domains aren’t high traffic, the ad networks will teach you about the 80/20 rule. 80% of their revenue comes from 20% of the domains, and it simply isn’t worth it for them to bother with the 80% of domains that deliver little revenue but are full of typos and fraud.
This will suppress prices of long tail domains, which will create a superb buying opportunity for those with direct deals with the big ad providers. But the “little guys” will lose out.
DR. DOMAIN says
One more reason to develop or DUMP.
Jeffrey Tonetti says
Frank Schilling portfolio is clean?……
Many generics sure, many trademarks as well-
Many typos get heavy traffic … many high-converting names get low traffic.
I see why you’re saying this but I’m not sure I entirely agree with your line of thinking here.
Andrew R says
I could see it maybe happening. You realize how much this would give an advantage to those with large partnerships over those that don’t have one. You have 1,000 domains with 10 visitors per day – that makes you $0 without development. But a big guy can buy them and possibly make $500 a day from the same domains.
Jeffrey Tognetti or Jeffrey Tonetti, I think he uses both names around the Net from what we have been told by other domainers – I have never seen Frank Schilling with a trademark type of domain out of the thousands and thousands I have ever come across.
The only problem with that is that long-tail domains convert the best to sales.
Isn’t cybersquatting about people buying names close to or related to already established TM and TM related websites? Since this is the case, how does that have to do with “low traffic” names? can’t google + yahoo just have an automatic TM scanner for domain names that have cybersquatting potential and just decline serving ads on those names? I think this is more about something else…
@ Jeffrey – Johnny is right. Frank has seen maybe 10 UDRPs and has won them all.
@ Kemji – yes, but with so many domains to evaluate, it’s hard to figure out which ones have typos
This is rediculous.
Ekal is right on the mark. Frank pointed out in his blog that he owns Mortgages.org and it gets 1 or 2 visits a day. Are you telling me Google won’t allow ads on a domain like that?!? These leads are extemely valuable to brokers. Google would loose too much money by cutting these names out and they’re not looking to be the ones trying to police Cybersquatting. That’s much better suited to the registrars themselves who ultimately report to ICANN.
I guess this comes back around to “domainer certification” of some sort.
Remember…. they recently kicked out all the newbie arbitragers and left the old-school arbitragers b/c they were running a more legit game. That could happen with domaining if it starts becoming too problematic to deal with with new domainers only sending trash traffic/ fraud traffic.
Frank Schilling, Clean Portfolio ?
Frank’s won UDRP’s I’m sure but how many domains has he transferred to avoid UDRP’s?
Lots I’m sure.
Last time I looked at his portfolio he had numerous obvious trademarks, as well as plenty of defensible generics. He’d win a UDRP on the generics, but he’d have no defense on the TM domains.
Patrick McDermott says
“…can’t google + yahoo just have an automatic TM scanner for domain names…”
kemji, the problem with an automated TM scanner is it throws out the baby with the bath water.
An automated scanner would block Sprinting.com since it contains telecom
giant Sprint’s trademark.
It would block ChesapeakeBay.com since it contains Ebay’s trademark…and so on.
This is exactly what happened when Afternic decided to eliminate domains that were possibly TM infringing from their Parking
Now it seems Afternic is having someone actually review flagged domains.
“There will be special deals for direct relationships and people with clean portfolios such as Frank Schilling.”
No doubt Frank Schilling runs a
clean generic portfolio.
I’m sure you know he uses a Yahoo feed and that Google blocks many of his domains from search results even if you type the .com
extension after the search term.
Do you think Google will change their policy?
Every day another piece of dismal news for the average domainers. I must stay away from blogs.
This is an unlikely scenario and doesn’t really matter. Domainers can figure out how to go to alternate PPC marketplaces with a little more effort (vertical PPC marketplaces like shopping.com, simplyhired.com, etc.).
Steve M says
Interesting thought (and concern), Andrew; but if Google & Yahoo went that route, I’ll bet Microsoft’d be only too happy to monetize the long tail themselves…
Adam Gross says
You are correct – Afternic and NameMedia employs technology to help the trademark review , but ultimately a human reviews the domain. Ever since Afternic launched this, we’ve been using both humans and technology.
@ dcmike – Not ridiculous. Frank would get a “pass” because of his relationship. Those one and two type-in domains that make up 80% of the domains but only 20% of the revenue aren’t a big deal to someone who has that kind of revenue (Google). It’s like firing your “bad customers”.
Look, I hope I’m wrong, I just see the writing on the wall.
I’m at a TRAFFIC session right now listening to Michael Gilmour of Whizzbangs’ blog. He mentioned that parking makes up 4%-6% of Google/Yahoo’s revenue. Giving up 20% of that is nothing to these guys. That adds more fuel to the fire that it just may not be worth it to deal with the long tail and its problems.
I think Brian is really Jeffrey Tognetti / Tonetti trying to stir up some mud on this blog and around the Net on other domainer forums.
Frank has no obvious TM’s. I don’t believe it – i’ve seen thousands and thousands and not a hint of wrongdoing ever. All old-school domainers know this.
I’m not Jeffrey Tonetti, but if his observations are the same as mine them good luck to him, maybe he’s done as much research as I did on Frank’s domains, not just a few thousand like you but a few hundred thousand, and yes there’s typos amongst them. You couldn’t amass that size portfolio without some of them being typos.
@ Brian, just list a few of those trademark typos here and put the issue to rest 🙂
“He mentioned that parking makes up 4%-6% of Google/Yahoo’s revenue.”
Well, more depressing news.
Claude Gelinas says
I believe things will pan out positively for domainers with low visitor count domains because if the majors retreat (which I think they won’t), smaller advertisers will want the strategic placement.
The contextual ad placement model from Google is amazingly precise and that should interest more domainers to become web publishers, sharing their knowledge with the world — the ads will follow and the high quality clicks too.
There can be a “happy ending” for everyone, in this story.
Stephen Douglas says
Content-based, SEO websites for pennies bringing in the visitors. Build em out, cowboys. The day is coming when this is the norm.
Have you check your Adsense account? Domain Parking is available for any everyone. No 80/20 rules etc. So Andrew was wrong in his predictions.
It is incredible how badly domainers are seen, everybody wants to throw them out of the market! It is wrong to claim that domainers are domain speculators, most of them are online entrepreneurs or simply investors.
And even if all domainers were speculators, is it really that unethical? As a society, we’ve allowed for decades for speculators to play with homes driving prices out of the reach of low and middle classes, a whole generation of homeless / seriously in debt young people. THAT IS UNETHICAL!!
One could claim, “well, when I want to register a domain they are all taken, and one day having a website will be as important as having a home.” These people obviously don’t realize that most quality domainers wouldn’t ever register a domain like the ones they would. They focus on “boring” generic terms instead. These ethical domainers are not anyones enemy, they are just another player in the free market economy trying to make their living.