Google Isn't Everything

Google Isn't Everything

For the past 18 months or so many domain owners have been watching their PPC revenue decrease as Google in particular elected to pay out less and less. Although many domain owners having been crying foul I don't actually hold it against Google for taking this strategy. If I was running their business I'd do exactly the same.

The domain industry has traditionally been incredibly fragmented with domainers and parking companies accusing each other of either stealing money through withholding funds or shoving garbage traffic down the pipe. This fragmentation and angst between what should have been partners has played right into the advertising aggregators hands. A market in disarray means domain owners are whipping traffic out of one parking company and moving it to another in an effort to get higher revenues. What this has also meant is that it has been almost impossible for any parking company to scale in size to the extent that they can wag the dog.

Let's consider, only a few short years ago Domain Sponsor was riding high and had begun to flex it muscles with the development of a number of market verticals to drive traffic away from Google. Google's response.....issue a number of new contracts with honey moon periods to pull the traffic out of Domain Sponsor and the other incumbent parking companies. You had the birth of Internet Traffic, Voodoo and Parking Crew in short order (nothing against these guys by the way). Everything was as it should be.....fragmented.

So what are we seeing at ParkLogic? For a start no one parking company wins more than around 22% of the traffic. This means that if you have all of your traffic with one company then you're losing 78% of the time.....you'd think after all these years that domain owners would actually realise this. Just as an aside.....there appears to be a relative balance between the two dominant Google companies.

The most interesting thing that we are seeing is the rise of zero click solutions.....more and more of the traffic is being won by companies that bid in our real time auction system. BTW....real-time is sub 100 milliseconds. The hypothesis of why they are winning more often would have to do with the inadvertent rise of these companies as Google pushed the payouts downwards. What it also means that if you're tired of seeing your payouts decrease then you need to get into a program that has multiple zero click solutions competing against one another. If you don't then stop complaining in the forums about the decline.

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Write Your Own Content

Write Your Own Content

I've been saying it for many years now. Building a domain is no longer a technological problem....these have largely been solved through applications such as Joomla, Wordpress, Drupal etc. You'd be surprised at the number of plugins that are available for these content management platforms that solve all sorts of problems.

The biggest challenge with developing a website is creating content. This is one of the reasons why I choose to develop sites around topics that I'm interested in. Just recently I've relaunched downwind.com (aviation industry), build fftribes.com (gaming websites for the game FireFall) and now rebuilt and structured whizzbangsblog.com.

Other than the underlying technology there are a number of things in common with each of these sites:

1. I have a long-term vision for each of them.....it's not a short-term plan.

2. They have a LOT of content.

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Developing Whizzbangsblog

Developing Whizzbangsblog

A number of people have asked me about what platform and plugins that I'm using on Whizzbangsblog so I thought that I'd let everyone know.

I have my own personal server running Debian with Apache web server, MySQL database and PHP all running. Let me say that running your own server can be a pain with working out the security etc. I so this so that I keep my technical skills up to date so that I can contribute in a much more informed manner to the ParkLogic development discussions and any issues that clients have.

I'm running Joomla 3.2 for the content management side of the site with the following plugins:

1. Admin Tools - VERY important as it has a built-in firewall.

2. Akeeba Backup - for regularly doing any backups. I also do both hot database backups and file backups every day via a script in CRON (time system for doing stuff in Linux). You can NEVER have too many backs. All the backups go to a completely separate physical drive.....so fingers crossed if anything breaks then there's always a fallback option.

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Business in 2014

Business in 2014

OK....so the photo is a very much younger (and thinner) version of me but let's face it....you weren't looking at me, you were looking at the gorgeous girl to my right that said "yes". After being married for over 26 years I find that my eyes are on her as well, her dreams, her aspirations and really what makes her tick.....which brings me, believe it or not, to business.

Keeping your eye on what's important in family life is just as important for your domain business. In 2014 ask yourself "what's really important?". I see too many people going about their lives never asking this simple question. They've fallen in love with their domain names and believe that they are the experts at monetisation, set unrealistic valuations and spend hours doing what I would call "busy work". At the end of the day they jump on a forum, moan about the down turn in the industry, how sales are tanking and get jealous because it seems to be working for everyone else.

The facts are, if you keep on doing the same thing and expect a different result then you're insane. Make this year the year where you focus on what's really important in your domain business......and that's profit! I hate to be boring on this issue but profit equals revenue less expenses.....

Too many domain owners have focused their attention on increasing their revenue line but completely ignore their expenses. For example, when was the last time you built a cashflow for your business and put in their some hourly rate that you are charging your business for your time??? Most domainers value their time at $0....which is completely insane.

Let's unpack this.....let's imagine that you are earning $1,000 per month from domain parking. Ask yourself, two questions. How much time do you spend working out whether you have the best solution for getting the most from your traffic? How much time do you spend on working out if a domain should be renewed or now? If you aren't spending any time on either of these two questions then I can almost guarantee that you're losing money!

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Saturday Musings – A Great Industry!

Saturday Musings – A Great Industry!

I’ve always been a believer that the domain community is one of the most unique and precious features of our great industry. What other industry can you swap, sell and move assets around the world on the basis of a skype call? With this in mind I decided to do something that would hopefully support the community and encourage real human interactions where we not only can learn from each other but also about each other.

So this past week I set myself the task of building the social interface to whizzbangsblog. I must say that I’ve been pretty busy and working into the wee hours of the morning to get the site sorted out. I’ve received a LOT of feedback which has been fantastic and some of the ideas I’ve already implemented while others may take some time. I want to thank everyone for this assistance, thoughts and most especially for letting their friends know about whizzbangsblog.com

So what’s next? In a lot of ways that’s up to the community. There are a lot of tools now in place, some of which include:

Event management system

Groups

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