How To Conduct a Domain Traffic Test - Part 1

How To Conduct a Domain Traffic Test - Part 1

So many domain owners get incredibly confused by all the different companies that want to monetise their traffic for them. Which one is best? How do I really know if they are better than another? What is the best way to run a test? All of these questions are vital if you wish to get the most out of your domain traffic.

In this article I will unpack the critical success factors of what makes a viable good traffic test so that you will always know that you are monetising your traffic with the right provider.

Escrow.com

For a start, to eliminate any discrepancies in timing, all traffic tests need to be conducted simultaneously. What you don’t want to do is change your DNS to point to parking company A and then a few weeks later change the DNS to parking company B. The two separate periods of time introduce large errors in determining who is the real winner.

Without the proper tools, running a simultaneous test can be difficult but with a good partner this is eminently achievable. As an example, we find that at ParkLogic a number of clients use our services purely for benchmarking one monetisation source versus another. We’re happy to work with anyone on this.

The most important factor in a traffic test is understanding the definition of success. So many people fall into the trap of believing that revenue is the only metric that should be paid attention to. So is that the revenue for December or for September? Is that the revenue where there happened to be a 20% increase in traffic or not? Or how about the revenue when it just so happened that an advertiser paid more for the traffic by a mistake?

As can be seen, revenue, although important, is not the best metric to pay attention to during a traffic test. Many domainers have migrated to RPM (revenue per thousand visitors) in an effort to remove the distortions caused by variations in traffic.

For example, if you make $100 from 1,000 visitors then you have an RPM of 100. Let’s imagine that you did a test and you made $200 from 1,000 visitors from a different monetisation provider. Many people jump to the conclusion that the second monetisation provider is the clear winner with an RPM of 200…..and they would be wrong.

The problem with RPM is that it depends upon the views reported by each of the monetisation providers. Sadly, there aren’t any standards on reporting views therefore each provider has a different set of filters applied to the traffic which can dramatically change the number of views reported and ultimately the RPM.

It wasn’t so long ago that some parking companies used RPM more as a marketing tool to say they had the best in the industry! This was easily achieved by just filtering the traffic more aggressively, reporting less views which meant a higher RPM.

For a proper traffic test what we need is an unassailable metric that can be verified for each monetisation source that we wish to test. The only way to do this is to count the raw unfiltered traffic (ie. URLs) that we send to each monetisation provider for each domain and then see how much revenue that generates. This provides us with a normalised RPM (ie. nRPM) that we can then use for direct comparisons at any point in time.

Let’s take a look at some actual data for a domain (XYZ.com) across a ten day period of time (see below). Day 1 is the latest day’s data and Day 10 is the oldest. There are columns for URLs, nRPM and Revenue for 4 parking companies (1-4). The easiest way to understand what is happening is to read the table from the bottom up so that you can get an idea what is happening as the algorithms seek to move in on the higher paying revenue solutions.

Forensic report

Initially, the domain is only with parking company 4 and on day 7 forced sampling was implemented to expose the traffic to the other parking companies. At Day 6 parking company 4 was being beaten by parking companies 1 and 2. More traffic then flowed to those parking companies and away from two and 4 until parking company 2 began to perform and parking company 4 completely dropped out of the race.

In this example, the traffic flowing between the monetisation providers is very dynamic and moves around quite a lot due to the switching regimes being adopted during the sampling process. There’s a lot of moving parts and reasons why the traffic flows where it does but the whole time the algorithms are focused on increasing the domains revenue.

In the next article in this series I will really unpack how to conduct a structured traffic test and why most domain owners get this wrong.

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Michael Gilmour has been in business for over 32 years and has both a BSC in Electronics and Computer Science and an MBA. He was the former vice-chairman of the Internet Industry Association in Australia and is in demand as a speaker at Internet conferences the world over. He has also recently published his first science fiction book, Battleframe.

Michael is passionate about working with online entrepreneurs to help them navigate their new ventures around the many pitfalls that all businesses face. Due to demands on his time, Michael may be contacted by clicking here for limited consulting assignments.

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whizzbang
Hi Michael thanks for the article. Is there a variation on results if the domain is pointed to the platform via DNS A Record ( as ... Read More
02 February 2016
mgilmour
Awesome questions and it's great to be dealing with someone that has some technical experience. Can I suggest that we take this of... Read More
02 February 2016
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Rightside - What are you doing?

Rightside - What are you doing?

Due to being a publicly listed company, Rightside, is a really interesting case study of the entire domain industry and in particular the new gTLD space. The company has accumulated enough domains that it is a good representative sample of the domain space.

So back in November last year I conducted an analysis of Rightside wrote an article (click here) that predicted there would be layoffs. I stated:

Eventually, the investors will come in and hack the expense line to pieces (ie. fire lots of people) to get the profits up since their returns are unlikely to come from capital growth.

I really didn’t want to be a prophet of gloom and doom but several days ago Rightside downsized by 6%. I am deeply sorry to those people that lost their jobs….it’s never a fun experience to suddenly find yourself without a pay check.

Escrow.com

It’s clear that Rightside needed to get their costs under control and generate some profit for the investors. Sadly, I wouldn’t be surprised if there was another round of layoffs towards the middle of the year. The reason why I believe this is that fundamentally nothing has changed with the business.

The registry business is still a very small part of the overall revenue. nTLDstats shows that the new gTLD space is essentially following a linear line to the right and not exhibiting any sort of geometric growth. In fact, it could be argued that the Rightside registry has slowed down growth over the last few days…..but the data around this is inconclusive as yet.

It was originally hoped that the registry was where the company was going to get all of its sizzle from with the market. To get a good exit for some of the early investors Rightside really needed to move into playing the capital value game versus the incremental profit model to provide some sort of investor return.

The staff reduction is clearly an attempt for the management team to buy time for the cumulative effect of the registry business to ultimately have an impact on the bottom line. Such a move would have meant the board (which has a number of investors) is now resigned to play the long-term game prior to exiting their positions. This must of been quite disheartening.....

As I said in my previous post,Rightside needs some new technology that will rapidly scale. This means that any idea that involves either a long corporate sales cycle or a change in consumer mentality is out. The management team doesn’t have the time for the first nor the resources to tackle the second option.

I have a few ideas on how to do really scale but they would require a recognition that the current strategy is not delivering the results that are really required for big returns. Don’t get me wrong, in the long-term, Rightside will produce some great results….the challenge is whether the market will allow the company the time to continue moving forward in the same manner.

I should say that I do not own any shares in Rightside and would recommend that you seek professional advice prior to investing in any company.

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Michael Gilmour has been in business for over 32 years and has both a BSC in Electronics and Computer Science and an MBA. He was the former vice-chairman of the Internet Industry Association in Australia and is in demand as a speaker at Internet conferences the world over. He has also recently published his first science fiction book, Battleframe.

Michael is passionate about working with online entrepreneurs to help them navigate their new ventures around the many pitfalls that all businesses face. Due to demands on his time, Michael may be contacted by clicking here for limited consulting assignments.

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nameopps
This is sobering, Michael, since Rightside are in my neck of the woods (no more layoffs). Your analysis lays bare the guts being s... Read More
28 January 2016
mgilmour
I agree with you completely.....the acceptance of the new gTLDs by general users has been grossly underestimated by the majority o... Read More
28 January 2016
mgilmour
That's a big challenge that will take a LOT of cash!
28 January 2016
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NamesCon and Presentations

NamesCon and Presentations

I’m finally over my jetlag from attending NamesCon in Vegas and back sitting at my desk. If I was to summarise the conference in a single word it would have to be WOW! It was an incredible event that really started on the Sunday and went right through to the early hours of Thursday morning.

Escrow.com

I had the privilege of speaking at two sessions, Domain Monetisation 101 and Domain Monetisation Masterclasss. It was standing room only during the sessions and I had a great time sharing some of my own experiences in the domaining industry as well as breaking down exactly what it means to monetise traffic.

As promised to the attendees please find the presentations that I went through below.

Monetisation 101 Monetisation Masterclass
Monetisation 101 Monetisation MasterClass

We had five team members from ParkLogic and on the Sunday we had a chance to meet a lot of new faces at our table. During this time, we also demonstrated ParkLogic Next….which is really on the cusp of being released. A presentation on some of the many features of ParkLogic Next is below.

ParkLogic Next

So why was NamesCon so good? For me it was all about the business and the many, many meetings that I was involved in. There was so much energy and excitement about the domain industry at the conference. The exhibit hall was packed, sessions were packed and the organisation just seemed to flow.

One of the great things about NamesCon is that it’s really kicked off 2016 in a major way. There are just so many opportunities from the many conversations that are a direct result of the conference. Not surprisingly, many of the best conversations were in the small hours of the morning at a bar or a restaurant.

Finally, I would congratulate the whole NamesCon team that made it so easy for presenters, sponsors and attendees. Richard Lau, Jothan Frakes and all of the many people that were involved did an exceptional job….well done! Now I just need to organise my early bird ticket to NamesCon 2017!

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Michael Gilmour has been in business for over 32 years and has both a BSC in Electronics and Computer Science and an MBA. He was the former vice-chairman of the Internet Industry Association in Australia and is in demand as a speaker at Internet conferences the world over. He has also recently published his first science fiction book, Battleframe.

Michael is passionate about working with online entrepreneurs to help them navigate their new ventures around the many pitfalls that all businesses face. Due to demands on his time, Michael may be contacted by clicking here for limited consulting assignments.

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Arrived at NamesCon

Arrived at NamesCon

After around 24 hours of traveling I've finally reached Vegas for NamesCon! If anyone is around then ping me on skype, facebook or here on whizzbangsblog. I'll be the guy trying to stay awake and get into the Pacific time zone.

On the flight over I fine tuned my two presentations on Monetisation (on Sunday and Wednesday) and I must admit that they've really come together nicely with heaps of illustrations, case studies and data on monetisation. I think that anyone attending the sessions will go away with a lot of great information to help them with their portfolio.

Escrow.com

We have a large team from ParkLogic here which is really great but the bad news is that it looks like our banner for the table on Sunday didn't make a flight.....sigh.....just got to love Qantas. We'll be the table that is handing out little miniature koalas that you can clip to your lanyard and then give to your kids when you get home.

So make sure you make a beeline for our table on the Sunday to pick up your koala and get a demonstration of the ParkLogic Next platform. I think that you're going to love it!

I'd better get going for my walk so that both Roselyn and I can enjoy the conference and not sleep through it. See you at NamesCon!

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Michael Gilmour has been in business for over 32 years and has both a BSC in Electronics and Computer Science and an MBA. He was the former vice-chairman of the Internet Industry Association in Australia and is in demand as a speaker at Internet conferences the world over. He has also recently published his first science fiction book, Battleframe.

Michael is passionate about working with online entrepreneurs to help them navigate their new ventures around the many pitfalls that all businesses face. Due to demands on his time, Michael may be contacted by clicking here for limited consulting assignments.

 

 

 

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Heading Back From Vacation

Heading Back From Vacation

I'm sitting here at the airport in Queenstown, New Zealand after a great weeks vacation in a magnificent part of the world. Almost as a parting gesture I couldn't help noticing that one of the the networks available at the airport was called "whizbang". Shame about dropping a "z" but it made me feel right at home.

Escrow.com

After the past week I feel energised and looking forward to the new year! This is going to start with heading to Vegas tomorrow for NamesCon where I've heard that over 1200 people will be in attendance. Seriously, if you aren't attending you will be really missing out.

As well as having around 30 scheduled meetings I will be speaking on Domain Monetisation for two sessions, an intro and also a masterclasss. I spent the week before Christmas researching some great case studies to illustrate the points in the sessions....it should be a lot of fun! If you are interested in monetising your domain traffic then make sure that you signup for the sessions online at the NamesCon website as they are filling up fast.

I'm also going to be doing a Q&A on Sunday where people can ask any question they would like about how to best monetise and manage their domains. I'll do my best to answer all the questions and help out as many people as possible.

ParkLogic has a table on the Sunday where we will be providing a new installment of a sneak preview of our new Next platform. We'll also have five of us at the conference....so make sure that you grab any of us if you have any questions about how we can help you with your portfolio.

One of the great things about this trip is that I'll have my wife, Rosely, with me. I know that everyone will make her feel more than welcome and I know that she's really looking forward to meeting everyone.

Anyway.....my flight is being called so I'd better get going now. Cheers!

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Michael Gilmour has been in business for over 32 years and has both a BSC in Electronics and Computer Science and an MBA. He was the former vice-chairman of the Internet Industry Association in Australia and is in demand as a speaker at Internet conferences the world over. He has also recently published his first science fiction book, Battleframe.

Michael is passionate about working with online entrepreneurs to help them navigate their new ventures around the many pitfalls that all businesses face. Due to demands on his time, Michael may be contacted by clicking here for limited consulting assignments.

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