Tracking the Data

Tracking the Data

So what does it mean to properly manage your domain assets? Some people believe that as long as you're earning PPC revenue, renewing domains and getting sales then all the bases are covered. These are important things to consider but let's unpack things a little.

Traffic revenue is money generated from the people that are going to your domains and clicking on advertising. There's a few things here that needs to be nailed down on a daily basis:

1. Aare the nameservers pointing correctly? These are often changed at renewal time by registrars.....especially if you are slightly past the renewal date.
2. Do you need to set cNames for routing traffic? cNames are used to route traffic to Google parking companies if you have a traffic routing system.
3. Are the domains in your parking account? Conflict resolution is a huge issue for parking companies and domains can often be inadvertently removed from your account if someone else believes that the domain is owned by them.
4. Keywords - are they the best ones and do they need to be updated?
5. Are there any other optimisation levers that you can use to extract more value from the traffic?
6. Is there are way to aggregate your traffic with others to get a better deal?

So this is just a few of the things that you need to consider to manage your traffic domains.....now let's look at sales......

1. Have you responded to all the sales offers? Most offers are SPAM so you need to spend some time wade your way through the good and the bad.
2. You've had a successful sale, now there is the whole Escrow and transfer process. Sounds easy but you need to remember to do it.
3. How do you work out the sales price for you domains? Is there an automated system or should you use your experience?

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Saturday Musings - Timing is Everything

Saturday Musings - Timing is Everything

For the past week Melbourne has been it the grip of a heatwave that has been the biggest and most intense in about 100 years. The tennis players at the Australian Open have been collapsing and for the rest of us we really haven't had a good night sleep.....which tends to make us all a little grumpy. So when the cool change came and the temperature dropped by 20 degrees Celsius it was with a great relief that my head hit the pillow on Friday night.

The next morning was another matter altogether! I had one of those moments of panic that could only be fixed by me unobtrusively waking Roselyn. For all those husbands out there, unobtrusive and waking do not belong in the same sentence when it comes to wives. Lucky for me also had a good nice sleep, although cut a little short, so I began our conversation.

"Honey, when are we going to see Celtic women?"

For those of you who have been living under a bridge with a troll or have been trekking across Antarctica with a dog sled team, Celtic women is a group of Irish singers that have taken the world by storm for the past half decade. We'd booked tickets for the concert back in September but the tour was delayed to some later date, hence my question.

"I'm not really sure, sometime in Feb I think," my wonderfully coherent wife replied.

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Where's the next dollar going to come from?

Where's the next dollar going to come from?

The first thing that I think about when I view my domains is not "where the next dollar will come from" but rather "Where the next dollar willl come from that sticks to my hands". In other words, show me the profit not just the revenue.

So let's take a look at the good old profit equation of revenue less expenses.

So where's the revenue going to come from in 2014 that will be past the dismal performance that many domainers experienced in 2013? Google will underpin much of the revenue as they have been doing for the last ten years of the industry but the real wins are going to come from direct advertisers and affiliates. We're seeing more and more traffic being won in our bidding system at ParkLogic by zero click solutions....which is always a good thing. If you don't have your domains in a program that has this to offer then give me a call as you're missing out on a bucket of revenue that's not dependent upon a single provider.

I'm not sure about you but I'm continuing to develop a number of websites.....just nudging them along bit by bit to get them to the point where they can then be a profit centre for me. If you aren't developing a website then once again you're potentially missing out on some good revenue.....but make sure that you develop something that you're interested in. I may have some great cosmetic domains but you know what? I have no interest in that industry other than when it relates to my wife and daughters.....then all husbands and dad's take an interest. :-)

Words of advice.......rainbows are pretty things but they are illusory. Likewise, if you plan on waiting for that ultimate huge sale then you may be waiting a LONG, LONG time. Price all your domains at what I would call fair rates and be prepared to sell them for those rates with NO seller's remorse. I work out my stock item domains from my high value you domains and I have a different strategy for each.....so get them into the marketplace and start selling. I'll have to do another blog on this concept.

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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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