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|April 2008 - Name Monetizer #33|
PPC Growth Slows, Will Domain Parking Follow? | AdWords Allows Parked Domain Opt-out | News from the Parking Services| Recommended Services
Are people clicking less on ads? New information from ComScore, Inc. released in March suggest that growth in Google's click-through rate has "nearly ground to a halt". The click-through rate on Google ads grew 3 percent in February compared to a year earlier, and January results showed no increase compared to January 2007. Several months earlier, the rate was growing 25 percent to 40 percent compared to a year earlier.
Income per click, on the other hand, continues to rise, according to Google. Google suggested that the drop in click-through rates is a result of its efforts to boost the usefulness of each click to advertisers' sales performance. Google decreased the space around a word that would result in a click (in AdSense), for example, so that more clicks would be intentional.
Even though income-per-click is rising, many domainers report that their income-per-click is actually falling. One interpretation is that Google may be keeping more money from every click.
Some analysts predicted Google will fall short of Wall Steet expectations in the current year because of the click-through rate. Lehman Brothers analyst Doug Anmuth, for example, cut his 2008 profit estimate for Google and reduced his price target to $580 per share from $644, citing the click-through rates.
A Barron's article in late March quoted Credit Suisse Internet technology analyst Philip Winslow as predicting that domain parking will become less profitable in the future, and that this will result in a drop in domain registrations. The article seems to confuse domain parking with domain parking arbitrage, so I'm not sure I follow Winslow's logic. Will a slow-down in parking income really result in a slow-down in registrations? I guess time will tell. Versign is raising its prices again in October, and that may have more of an effect.
Google Adwords has added a new feature that refines advertisers' ability to opt-out of Google's "content network." In the past advertisers could choose to opt-out entirely, and their ads would not show up on many parked pages. Some Google parking companies actually use Google's "search feed," so in the past opting out of the "content would not opt you out of all parking pages. The new option appears to opt an advertiser out of all parking, although I have not found this clearly stated on the site.
If you are an AdWords advertiser you can find this option under "Tools" and "Site and Category Exclusion." As you can see in the graphic, you can also opt out of error pages, forums, image-sharing pages, social networks, and video-sharing pages. Social networks, such as FaceBook and LinkedIn have notoriously low ad click rates.
The opt out tool also lets users see their conversions on each type of page. Google claims that it has found ads on domain parking pages to perform as well as other ads. I expect that some advertisers will take advantage of such opt-outs, however, and this will push parking income even lower.
You should have received a special issue in March announcing that ParkingDots closed its doors after losing its main parking feed. Skenzo reportedly also lost their tier 1 feed last month as well. Yahoo has apparently become more stingy with it's ad feed. Ask.com had been reselling a Google feed to several companies, and Google abruptly cancelled their right to do this last month. (Parked had been using this feed as a secondary feed to supplement it's Yahoo-based results.) What does this all mean? Google and Yahoo appear to be tightening-up on domain parking. Both companies lost a great deal of money earlier this year when domain parking arbitrage was banned; and they seem willing to lose even more over time in order to "clean up the Internet" and cut back on spammy pages and duplicate content. Parked domains are seem by some as examples of spammy pages and duplicate content.
TrafficZ rolled-out their Z-template functionality across their new site. If it is not active on your site, request that it be activated. The editor allows you to create custom templates based on the "poster" template and deploy these across your domains. I haven't had time to take it for a full spin yet, but it looks promising.
NameDrive was two months late getting 1099s to some U.S. publishers. U.S. law requires that taxpayers receive these statements by February 1 to assist them in filing income tax returns. My taxes had already been filed with the NameDrive 1099 arrived in the mail last week. Since I record all income when I receive it, I had not been depending on the 1099 from NameDrive. If you calculate your income from the 1099 forms you receive, then you may need to file a correction with the IRS once you receive this late 1099.
DomainSponsor wrapped-up its March Bonus Bucks feature last month and you may have received a modest bonus if you moved domains to DomainSponsor and officially entered the contest. I thought that they whole thing was a bit too gimmicy. The summary stated that "If your average daily traffic and revenue totals for March are 20% higher than your February average daily totals, you'll receive a 20% bonus on top of the normal March commissions associated with the newly added domains." It's not really a 20% bonus. It's just 20% of the commissions from the new domains. If I am deemed to have jumped through all of their hoops, then I may have earned an extra $1.80. That said, DomainSponsor is currently a very stable platform. They have provided some services for years that other programs are just announcing. If you haven't tried them lately you may want to try at least a few domains there.
The parking company Parked has taken a hit since domain arbitrage was banned, but they still produce good results from traffic domains. Their custome content option allows you to create a creative landing page.
Sedo announced a new "Auto-select Best Layout" in March. This option automatically finds the highest earning layout for each of your domains. To use the option, choose the "Auto-Select Best Layout" option from the pull-down menu in the Layout column of the Domain Optimizer page and save your settings. Sedo will begin testing out each of their best performing layouts on the domain. The domain needs to receive a certain amount of traffic before the system can determine the optimal layout, so they recommend that you allow "a minimum of 1 week up to 4 weeks on the new setting" before evaluating whether or not it's helping. They also report that the new system won't work on more than 2000 domains at a time.
We are beginning to explore some of the site-building solutions out there that claim to create full-blown sites on a semi-automated basis. Watch for more in a future newsletter. Video interviews of domain prking leaders are now at ParkQuick.tv.
Recommended Services - There were no changes in our recommendations this month.
I will send this newsletter out monthly or when there have been significant changes in the domain name monetization industry. An extra issue may be sent when there is a major change in a service that warrants your immediate attention. Back issues are available at NameMonetizer.com. For a variety of content related to domains and SEO check out DomainerSEO.com.
Leonard Holmes, Ph.D.
CEO, Healing Sites Network, LLC
You can unsubscribe at any time using the link at the end of every issue.
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