What Demand Media can do for the domain name business.
[This is the second part of a two-part story on Demand Media. See part one here.]
For many years, Demand Media has been a mystery to the domain name industry. It’s a big player, for sure. It snapped up eNom and then BulkRegister, making it the second largest domain name registrar in the world. Its registrars have 10 million domains under management, and Demand Media owns a nice portfolio of its own. The company also acquired domain parking company HotKeys.
But what does that have to do with Demand Media’s burgeoning content business?
Demand Media is creating the tools that will help the domain industry do what everyone is talking about: develop their domains.
In a blog post last November, HotKeys founder and Demand Media VP Michael Blend explained the connection. Demand wants to take the same tools it used to create a top 20 online media network and bring the magic to domain owners. It believes there’s an opportunity to bring value to the 100 million undeveloped domains.
Will it work? When Demand was just a collection of media sites and domain registrars, it didn’t add up to much. But now that the company has a full fledged content army and social tools, it is beginning to show the potential to make it happen.
It’s not as simple as just taking a few articles that would have been published on eHow.com and publishing them on a virgin domain name. There’s no search engine juice, and the revenue model breaks down. But RichContent gives us a hint of what’s to come. Demand Media has good social media tools, which, when combined with good content, can power the web.
Here are two ways Demand Media could enable domain name owners to get more out of their domains in the near future:
Fast content – as domain owners launch web sites, they need content. It needs to be compelling, too. Demand Studios can offer content targeted to individual domains, as well as provide the tools to quickly publish it. It can also create a syndication network, driving SEO value back to the new web sites.
Perpetual parking – domain parking companies only focus on today’s click. The real play is to captivate visitors and turn them into long term revenue sources. One way to do this is to get their e-mail address and send them follow up newsletters with ads. Demand Media has the scale (and tools via Pluck) to create relevant content-based newsletters across tens of thousands of topics, bringing recurring revenue to domain monetization.
Demand Media doesn’t yet have the magic bullet for domainers who park their domains. But it is building the engine, and certainly ranks at the top of the list of companies that could turn domain monetization on its head.