Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas!

I would like to take this opportunity to wish all those readers of Whizzbangsblog a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. I would also like to say thank you to all those companies that have sponsored my blog over the last twelve months. Your continued support has inspired me to keep on writing about domains and business on the Internet.

In particular, I would like to highlight:

It’s with a sense of sadness and loss in my heart that I approach Christmas this year. A few days ago, Pepper, my feline friend of 16 years, passed away. She was a great friend that was the subject of many Saturday Musings over the years.

When I was working late at night she would come and curl up on the carpet next to me. At some point she would nudge me with her nose, hoping for a scratch behind the ears and to let me know it was time to stop working.

Whenever I went away on business my wife told me Pepper would sit in my study and look out the window waiting for my return. When I finally arrived back home she would scold me in a very cat-like fashion until she allowed me to give her a bit of a pat again….after all, I didn’t get her permission to leave the house.

We normally wrap a present for Pepper and stick it under the tree….typically, it’s her turkey dinner. Sadly, this year we’re not going to be doing that. Although there is a sense of loss I know she is lazing away in the sun in cat heaven.

So in memory of Pepper I would like to highlight a number of past blogs where she featured:

What a CATastrophe

Saturday Musings – Why My Cat Is a Genius!

Saturday Musings – Why Cats Are Geniuses

Saturday Musings – Being Obedient To Our Masters

Saturday Musings – When Someone Spoils Your Week….

I hope you enjoy reading those articles as much as I did writing them.

Have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Michael Gilmour

PS. I will be taking until the new year off writing.....so see you in 2017.

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What Influences Domain Traffic

What Influences Domain Traffic

I was having a really interesting discussion with a domain investor recently about why domain traffic appears to be reducing for some domains. What we first need to understand is not all domain traffic is equal. In this article, I’m going to attempt to unpack some of the reasons why domains experience losses/gains in traffic.

Escrow.com

For a start, other than arbitrage traffic, there are two main types of traffic:

1.      Link traffic
2.      Direct navigation

Link Traffic

Link traffic is generated from one website linking to another. For instance, I may value a particular article on Domain Name Wire and link to it from here. As an aside, Andrew Allemann (owner of dnw.com) has been doing a fantastic job for many years reporting on domain news and I highly recommend his website (no, he didn’t request this shout-out).

I will continue to link to Domain Name Wire as long as the article remains in place. Let’s imagine that Andrew decides to stop writing news and instead parks his website. At some point in time I’m going to remove my link to his website and any traffic that was flowing from whizzbangsblog to DNW will cease.

The problem with link based traffic is that over time more and more of the links are moved away from pointing to parked domain names. Any domains that are reliant upon a single high traffic domain are very risky investments as that link may be shut off and the traffic suddenly vanishes.

Direct Navigation

Direct navigation was first coined many years ago by Dan Warner of Fabulous and this traffic is when a user types directly into the address bar to reach a domain.

Interestingly, there has been a real assault by the search engine companies, computer manufacturers and operating system developers to try and discourage users from typing directly into the address bar. To date, the will of the users has reigned preeminent and the address bar still stands in the same place it did twenty years ago…..although it is somewhat smarter.

High value domains such as beds.com will always attract users but the vast majority of traffic domains are typos of a root domain. For example, bds.com is likely to get quite a lot of traffic spilling over from beds.com. In addition, some people accidentally link to a typo domain rather than the core root domain the meant to.

Most domain investors are more than aware of both the ups and downs of linked and direct navigation traffic but what else can cause traffic to ebb and flow?

Traffic is really all about people trying to get somewhere. So the question has to be asked, what made them have this desire?

Seasonality

Some domains have traffic that flows with the seasons. For example, I would imagine that sales of surf boards in the northern hemisphere wouldn’t be very high right now in the middle of winter.

There are more than just the seasons to think about with seasonality. It could be national holidays. Thanksgivings domains rise in traffic in November…..but only in North America. Easter is a broader holiday that has a more international appeal while Father’s Day in Australia is celebrated in September.

Some domains also may have a unique seasonality. For example, I had a domain that only spiked on a couple of days a year. It related to the world-wide celebration of the mathematical symbol pi and within those days I made thousands of dollars. Yes, I couldn’t believe such an event existed either.

Advertising Campaigns

If the root domain has an advertising campaign, then more traffic will flow through to it and any typos of that domain. Marketing managers are always after eyeballs and as well as bidding up keyword values they will at times artificially inflate other domains traffic levels.

Since marketers aren’t stupid, a logical reaction to a competitors marketing campaign may to run one yourself. Therefore, there may be a sudden surge in traffic for an entire industry and any domains associated with it.

News Coverage

Never underestimate the power of news coverage to drive traffic to domains. Many domain owners make a good living by paying attention to the news, registering domains and quickly reaping the benefits of the traffic.

It really makes you wonder whether it’s worthwhile trying to generate some news for a group of domains that you may control….maybe issue a press release or two on a root domain you may own and reap the benefit off the typos.

 

A huge number of forces are constantly buffeting domain traffic and that’s what makes it so interesting to analyse. With Christmas almost upon us we can see marketers demanding more and more traffic to help them meet this quarters targets.

So is domain traffic reducing? I would like to answer this with a yes and a no. Not really as much of the decline in traffic from western nations is being replaced by third world countries.

The challenge here is many of these countries are dependent upon cash as a medium of exchange rather than credit cards. Why is this important? With credit cards, online marketers can complete the revenue cycle from buying advertising right through to a purchase on their website. Even still, nearly 50% of Google’s advertising income comes from international sources.

When you look at your own domains traffic rise and fall then consider you may want to dig into why this is occurring. It’s unlikely to have anything to do with a technical fault at a parking provider and more than likely its some other force at work. Rather that trying to dig into the whys and why nots my suggestion is to spend your time finding more domains with traffic.

Greenberg & Lieberman

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Interview with Jackson Elsegood - Escrow.com

Earlier today I had the pleasure of interviewing Jackson Elsegood from Escrow.com. Jackson shared very openly about some of the developments that Escrow.com has done this past year.

Jack will be attending NamesCon at Las Vegas in January and is looking forward to meeting domainers to discuss how Escrow can further develop their services.

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Saturday Musings - Virtual Reality Has Come of Age

Saturday Musings - Virtual Reality Has Come of Age

I’d finally done it! I’d made it through a tumultuous week to Friday. I’m not really sure why Friday’s are so special, but for me, around 6pm yesterday was one of the happiest times of the week.

Escrow.com

So why was Friday so special? It just so happens that earlier in the week I’d finally received my Oculus Touch Virtual Reality (VR) controllers to go with my headset. It’s been a busy time of year and all week I’ve been staring at them in their box while I coded away…..sigh…..

Yesterday, I ceremoniously removed them from their awesome packaging (it really was) set them up and took them for a spin. For those of you that are wondering, each of the VR controllers are like a sawn off X-box controller that you hold in each hand.

When I donned my headset the first thing that I noticed were my hands. They were floating in the air in front of me! When I moved my arm then my virtual hands followed. I could reach out and grab things, throw them or bring them closer to inspect them in more detail. It was like a dream come true…..I had hands!

The controllers came with a couple of games and I pointed to one of them (yes, you can point with your VR hands) to fire it up. The next thing I knew I was being taken through a tutorial on how to have combat by flinging magical fireballs at an opponent. All the time I was doing the action with my real hands and watched as my VR hands enveloped in flames before the ball of flame shot through the air.

Bringing my left arm up and squeezing my fist spawned a glowing shield that I could manoeuvre to block my opponents attacking spells. It wasn’t long before I was teleporting across platforms, shooting fireballs and dodging attacks…..simply incredible. All from the safety of my study.....thank goodness!

I finally exited the game and pointed to the Sports game. Basketball involved throwing the ball to your team mates, catching the ball and then trying to make a score. It was a bit difficult at first but I got into the swing of it in the end.

My favourite sports game was hockey…..maybe due to growing up northern Canada has something to do with it. I played the goalie, defending my goal with a glove in one hand and a hockey stick in the other. Watching the opposition pass the puck back and forth and then suddenly slapshotting it straight at me gave a real impression of the speed a goalie must have to stop scores.

 With every save the crowd roared their approval and adrenalin surged through my body. I began to really feel like I was there and I couldn’t help yelling at the opposition as I got into the spirit of the game. Thank goodness, I was home by myself otherwise I think my family would’ve thought I’d completely lost it.

It’s clear to me that VR is the future of entertainment, education and business communication. The touch controls are the next step in an immersive direction and I’m sure it won’t be long until we’re wearing tactile feedback gloves. For those of you with VR based domain names…..I think you’re on a winner….they just need a little more time.

If you have an Oculus Rift setup then feel free to friend me (my username is whizzbang…of course) as I would love to fly in a squadron of space fighters around asteroids with you.

Have a great weekend!

Greenberg and Lieberman

1034 Hits

Domain Traffic Predicts Google Result

Domain Traffic Predicts Google Result

I’ve been wanting to write this article for a while now but I’ve been flat out building a new ParkLogic system. Back on the 12th of October I wrote an article on the fact that I believed that domains could be used to predict a large chunk of Google’s quarterly results. Guess what! I was right!

Escrow.com

For those of you that would like to read the previous articles these can be found at:

The Percentage of Advertising Revenues Google Pays Domainsers

Predicting Google's Quarterly Domainer Payout

In my analysis, I predicted Google’s Traffic Acquisition Cost to Network Members (of which the domain channel is a part) would be flat for Q3. I even presented the following chart predicting this number.

Prediction of Google Results

After reviewing the results presented by the Google quarterly earnings report the actual Traffic Acquisition Cost moved from 21.1% to 21.3% (ie. almost flat). This number can be seen in the below chart from the Google quarterly earnings announcement.

Google Results

What this suggests is domain data can potentially be used as a predictor of a major part of Google’s earnings PRIOR to any announcements that they may make to the market.

A word of caution. Since Google’s results are in the billions and slight perturbations in some of the numbers used to calculate the result may result in a large swing in the prediction. With any luck, I can deal with most of these factors but more time is required to determine whether the prophetic nature of domain traffic can be consistently and accurately applied to Google’s earnings call prior to the call itself.

So don’t speed-dial your broker as yet and remember that this series of articles is as much about proving how valuable domain traffic is as about playing the stock market!

Lieberman and Greenberg

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