Looking back on Google’s AFD Direct move.
It was three months ago that Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) dropped a bombshell: it would start offering domain parking services directly to Adsense clients.
Now that a few months have passed, I’ve had more time to reflect on this move and what it means for the industry.
The short term effect has been more of wonderment than actual impact. What are Google’s long run plans? Does it intend to cut out the middleman? We won’t know the answer for a while. But there are a few things we do know:
1. Google isn’t exiting the domain business. In the past I had publicly opined that there was a slim chance Google would exit domain monetization altogether. That’s clearly not the case. Google legitimized the channel with its announcement.
2. Google Adsense for Domains direct is an early stage product that doesn’t perform well. I’ve yet to talk to a domain owner who has been pleased with earnings or reporting with the product. The templates are all standard templates that have been offered to Google partners for a while. There’s a reason Google partners rarely use these stock template.
3. Google may not be evil, it may just be experiencing growing pains. Part of the hubbub over Google’s move was that it did not inform existing parking partners that it would be going direct until just days before the product launched.
Well, it turns out it may have just been a case of one hand not talking to the other. The group at Google that works with partners such as DomainSponsor and Sedo is completely separate from the one that launched this product. Officially, the product is called “Google Adsense for Domains Online“. I suspect the Online group was looking to expand its reach and decided to offer the service. It then told the partner group with little time to spare, which put the partner group into a tough position of telling its partners.
It’s a sign of Google getting big. You’d be amazed how many duplicate projects are run inside big companies.
If you’ve used Google Adsense for Domains Online, please post a review at Parking Judge.