Articles associated with managing domain assets.

Domain Management Video

Domain Management Video

This is the first in a series of videos that are a part of the 10 year anniversary of blogging. The videos released over the next couple of weeks will cover topics including:

  • The Problems With Development
  • Domain sales
  • Traffic domains

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In this video I discuss a number of pertinient domain management topics, including; business models, tracking against goals and the problems of scaling.

I hope you enjoy this series as I share my thoughts about some of the challenges with being a domain investor and more importantly what are solutions that can be adopted.

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Part 12 – Portfolio Optimisation – Dealing With Revenue Leakage

Part 12 – Portfolio Optimisation – Dealing With Revenue Leakage

In the last article I outlined a number of typical revenue leakage problems that cost domain investors real money. I also mentioned, from experience, around 10-15% of revenue is lost due to mismanagement. In this article I’m going to state a number of things that may be unpopular but nevertheless I believe them to be true.

For a start, generally speaking domain investors are very bad at managing their portfolios. There are exceptions to this rule but they tend to be few and far between. I believe the reason this is the case is domain investing seems really simple on the surface but as you dig a little deeper it gets more and more complex if you want to keep on top of everything and extracting the full value from your assets.

Many investors need to recognise what they are good at and what they aren’t. I’ve met some absolutely brilliant individuals that seem to be able to find the gold traffic domains but to ask them to change a nameserver is almost impossible. While other people are amazing at negotiating sales but once completed the actual transaction of moving a domain to the buyer is the last thing on their minds…..as they’ve already moved onto the next deal.

The problem with domain management is that it’s just not sexy. The mechanics of making sure domains are where they should be, nameservers are set correctly and you are actually collecting the cash requires an exceptionally detailed mindset.

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Part 11 - Portfolio Optimisation - Revenue Leakage

Part 11 - Portfolio Optimisation - Revenue Leakage

Revenue leakage mostly occurs when you think a particular setting for your domain(s) is turned on and it’s not. From experience, we have found that it’s not untypical to find that between 10-15% of the potential revenue generated for a portfolio is actually lost due to mismanagement.

So before you go and try to squeeze another few percentage out of your parking partner or broker can I suggest that you get your own house in order first. If you do this then I guarantee that you’ll discover a significant jump in revenue.

So what sort of problems can occur? The obvious one is whether the nameservers for your domains are still set to where you think they should be. I know that they are set but are they set correctly?

If you’re juggling multiple accounts at different monetisation solutions, then it doesn’t take long for a mess to be created and you have no idea what is set and why you set them. This is particularly true if you also have multiple registrars and have no idea which domains are actually at which registrar.

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Part 10 – Portfolio Management – Direct Expenses

Part 10 – Portfolio Management – Direct Expenses

Most domain investors are very familiar with the direct cost of domain renewals but from experience, I find that many are not as aware of many of the other costs associated with running their business. It’s very easy to get so enamoured with the thought of selling one of your domains for a million dollars that you forget that time is ticking by and costs are mounting up.

There are two types of costs for any domain investment business. Direct costs are those that include, domain renewals, accountants, lawyers AND your time. I want to particular highlight your time as it’s often the forgotten or neglected cost.

Many domain investors have another job that puts food on the table for their families and they end up running their business more like a hobby. It’s fun finding domain names and making a few bucks on the side either through traffic revenue or selling domains but the question that all of us needs to answer is whether we are running a business or enjoying a hobby.

Let me be very blunt here. If you value your time at zero, then you aren’t running a proper business at all. You need to be tracking the number of hours you spend managing your domain portfolio and attributing an hourly rate for your time. As well as being prudent it will help you work out if your time would be better spent in some other activity rather than on your portfolio.

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Part 9 - Portfolio Management - EPC/CTR May Not Be What You Thought

Part 9 - Portfolio Management - EPC/CTR May Not Be What You Thought

I’ve been asked a lot of questions by readers on the topic of traffic optimisation and I thought that it would be worthwhile diving a little deeper into some of the metrics that underpin all our traffic monetisation earnings.

To fully understand click through rate (CTR) we need to take a look at the formula.

CTR = (total number of clicks) / (total views) x 100%

Both of the measurements used in the CTR formula are subject to various levels of filtering. For example, is the “total number of clicks” the actual number of clicks on advertisements or the number of clicks on advertisements within a specified time frame? Or is it actually the number of clicks within a specified time frame for a particular IP address? Or is it the number of clicks within a specified time frame for an IP Address/Cookie combination?

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Part 8 – Portfolio Management – Traffic Domains

Part 8 – Portfolio Management – Traffic Domains

The current series of articles has really provoked some interesting discussions with a number of domain investors. What I have noticed is the high level of emotion that surrounds the whole domain traffic and optimisation debate. Many people have leapt to conclusions rather than look at the data and try to understand what it is saying.

Let me say once again that domain monetisation is not dead. The reason for this is genuine domain traffic contains valuable leads for businesses and advertisers are more than willing to pay for those leads. The goal of optimising your domain traffic is to best match the right advertiser to the right piece of traffic at the right time.

Like any industry, the advertising buying market is very dynamic with wide ranging payout levels at different times during the year, day and even sometimes second. So when I talk about optimising domain name traffic we need to really be as close to real-time as possible. Given the volume of data, the only way to route traffic to the highest paying solution is via algorithmic switching. So is all of this work really worth it?

I recently published some numbers over at the NamePros forum and I thought that it would be worthwhile digging into them here. For full disclosure I should state the data is from my company ParkLogic and we use algorithmic switching of domain traffic.

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Part 7 - Portfolio Optimisation - Running a Traffic Test

Part 7 - Portfolio Optimisation - Running a Traffic Test

So you’ve just been to The Domain Conference in Fort Lauderdale and a monetisation company convinces you that you should run a test with them. Is there any real point and what is the best way to do this?

If you’ve ever moved your domains between parking companies by changing the nameservers then you will very quickly realise that there are so many variables to consider that the test becomes meaningless. For example, by routing the traffic at different periods of time, traffic volumes and domain market verticals all contribute to distorting the results.

In addition, if you move all of your domains across to the new company then from the previous article in this series we now know the best case scenario is they will win 35% of the time. Remember this number is for a properly optimised domain portfolio. If they win more than that then it’s only because your portfolio has not been looked after.

All monetisation companies know that they will perform well on some domains and not so well on others. Their goal is to hope and pray that overall the total amount they pay you will be more than your current parking solution.

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Part 6 - Portfolio Optimisation - Traffic Domains

Part 6 - Portfolio Optimisation - Traffic Domains

If you remember from previous articles the normalised RPM allows us to precisely compare one monetisation provider versus another.

This metric is VERY different from the traditional RPM that is often used more as a marketing tool than an actual unit of measurement. The normalised RPM is the revenue from every monetisation source divided by the raw unfiltered traffic, times by one thousand.

nRPM = Revenue / (Raw Traffic) x 1000

Escrow.com

The chart below is one that shared at Domaining Europe and highlights a number of opportunities for domain investors. The first is on average, direct advertisers pay considerably more for traffic compared to Google based sources.

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Part 5 - Portfolio Optimisation - Traffic Domains

Part 5 - Portfolio Optimisation - Traffic Domains

So far we’ve touched on a number of aspects of building a domain into a solid business. Obviously we could spend years on that topic but what I would like to do is move onto the second segment in our portfolio optimisation – traffic domains.

Many people believe that generating revenue from domain traffic is dead and buried…..nothing could be further from the truth. The real issue is to assess what you are doing now which is different to what you were doing in the past. If you keep on doing the same thing as you’ve always done, then don’t expect your revenue line to increase.

Escrow.com

Increasing your revenue from traffic has moved on a long way since the humble days of putting all of your domains with one parking company and then collecting a cheque. As one of the founders of ParkLogic, we’ve been optimising domain traffic for clients for nearly a decade and the sophistications of the real-time algorithms for routing traffic has grown considerably.

Let me say from the outset that optimising domain traffic is not a trivial exercise and has moved a long way from making decisions via a spreadsheet. To extract the full value out of your domain traffic routing decisions must be made on a real-time basis. If they aren’t then you are making sub-optimal decisions and leaving money on the table.

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Part 4 - Portfolio Optimisation - Products and Services

Part 4 - Portfolio Optimisation - Products and Services

In this series of articles, we are looking at how to optimise your domain portfolio across the different business models of sales (big and small), traffic and development. The first model I have been unpacking is development, not the technical aspects but the business aspects of domain development.

We’ve explored why people return to websites and how to earn money from advertisers. In this article I will be discussing how to build an online business selling services and products.

Escrow.com

The first thing we need to separate out is the different between building a business and conducting a transaction. Building a business is all about repeatable revenue that ideally grows over time while transactions are the big deal you hope to get one day.

My wife has a great saying, “Like clockwork.” What she means by this is that she would much rather have twenty dollars each month coming in from a customer than the big deal that may happen one day.

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