Getting Dirty in the Domain Data

Getting Dirty in the Domain Data

We’ve recently been working with a client to better understand the underperformance of a number of their domain names compared to a few months earlier. What we discovered when we conducted an internal forensic analysis of the data was quite surprising.

The domain we will look at in this article has been renamed to A.COM for privacy purposes. Since the beginning of the year it has had a monthly revenue ranging from $183 to $1221 and a normalised RPM (revenue per thousand visitors) of $75 to a high of $488. So what was going on with this domain?

Upon closer inspection we found that A.COM was a domain from the travel industry. People were looking for the services the domain offered from May to July and this dramatically pushed RPM rates higher as advertisers competed more aggressively for the traffic during this time. In fact, the peak numbers were achieved by a direct advertising travel company.

So let’s imagine you bought the domain based on those very high July numbers? It wouldn’t be long before you discovered your investment was under water as the typical monthly revenue retreated to 20% of the peak! Our client isn’t unscrupulous so they would never do this…..but always remember, buyer beware!

So now we know we are dealing with a domain that is seasonal but the second question that needs answering is whether it is being properly optimised during the entire year? The only way to answer that question is to look at where the raw traffic was sent and examine the revenue it generated.

The first table below shows the traffic sent to the different monetisation providers (Ad networks are aggregated) over the period of twelve months.  Remember this is the raw unfiltered traffic and is not impacted by any filtering algorithms the different monetisation providers may apply before displaying the views in their interface.

The two letter codes at the tops of the columns represent the parking companies the traffic for this domain was sent through to. In order they are; Sedo Domain Sponsor, Voodoo, Bodis and Parking Crew.


The second table is the Revenue the traffic generated from the above traffic and the third table is the normalised RPM. Don’t forget the definition of a normalised RPM is the revenue divided by the raw traffic multiplied by one thousand. This metric will allow us to accurately compare one monetisation provider against versus another and know beyond a shadow of doubt who is performing the best.

For simplicities sake, I’ve removed all mention of the direct advertising networks from the Winner table and concentrated on the traditional parking solutions that were sent traffic.


Starting in January this year we can see that Voodoo was winning with normalised RPM (nRPM) of 68.94 and close on its heels was Parking Crew with $65.69. Logically, Voodoo received the lion share of the traffic followed by Parking Crew while Sedo and Domain Sponsor received enough for sampling purposes.

In February, circumstances have really changed with Sedo shooting to the winning position and snagging a lot more of the traffic for both February and Mark. And so it goes, month after month we can examine the numbers and see who is winning the traffic at every stage until we have the below table.

Sadly, for A.COM, Domain Sponsor wasn’t the overall winner in any month but it’s not uncommon to have one monetisation company not win for a long time and then suddenly spring up. What is clear in the tables of data is that the “winner” is constantly moving. I didn’t do the analysis but my guess is if I got down to the daily level then the flow of traffic between winners would be even more dynamic.

So how did this analysis help the client? They needed to report to their board with confidence that everything that could be done was being done to optimise their domain traffic to the highest paying solution at any point in time. This data proved this was the case.

The data also provided them with the necessary information to back-up the supposition that some domains fluctuate all over the place. It’s one thing to suggest seasonality or variability and quite another to prove that it’s the case. Once again, the data provided the necessary information to support this hypothesis.

The final question that needed answering was whether A.COM was actually performing less than twelve months previously. The answer was a resounding no. The RPM twelve months ago was $115 while now it was $146. What triggered the investigation was the previous month the RPM had dropped to $95. Remember it’s a seasonal domain, no one wants to purchase travel services at the end of summer. So this domain clearly experience a post-summer slump and then quickly rose out of it.

So analysis is a lot more than just mobilising a lot of numbers. It’s also about interpreting what they are telling you about a domain so you can understand whether you are actually getting the best performance at any point in time.

Greenberg and Lieberman

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Traffic From Generation Y: Sarah's Thoughts

Traffic From Generation Y: Sarah's Thoughts

Today it hit me hard what a huge gap there is between people my age (generation Y) and the other older generations. Today I was reading through an article on DNW and stumbled across a podcast that talked about jumping on trends before they happen. It discussed buying domains that could potentially be worth a lot more in the future.

I found it very interesting and I can remember when dad started domaining, he was trying to think of catchy domains to buy that could be worth more later. It surprised me that Podcasts are even still around, but what surprised me even more was that the term ‘Vlog’ was presented as an example of a domain that had lost its value. The term vlog stands for ‘video blog’, and according to DNW is not a valuable phrase that you could potentially make money off.

That was a huge shock for me because if you ask anyone my age, they would know exactly what the term vlog means. Not only that, but I would say that vlog or vlogging is probably one of the most popular forms of video on YouTube right now.

After speaking with my dad about it, he suggested that although it may be a well-known term amongst people my age, people my age don’t have the money to buy them. This then depressed the value on the term ‘vlog’ and results in the domains being dropped by investors. Another reason the domains are dropped is because people my age may use the term on YouTube but not in a domain main, which means the domains have no traffic.

So my question to you all is, why do you think there is a lack of traffic going to domains containing the word vlog? Let me know what you think in the comments!

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What's The Value Of Your Domain?

What's The Value Of Your Domain?

In today’s video I discuss what makes a domain valuable and why very little underpins the current Chinese domain market. A lot of domainer’s have banked on a continually rising market and sadly, many of them may be in for a surprise when the Chinese market experiences a correction.

This is a really important and interesting point to discuss. There are a couple things that dictate what your domain name is worth and what kind of price you can be selling them for.

Watch the video and take part in the conversation by leaving a comment bellow!

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Understanding Domaining: Sarah's Thoughts

Understanding Domaining: Sarah's Thoughts

Today I have the privilege to be writing my very first article for Whizzbangs blog. Can I just say, that it’s a lot of pressure not only to be writing for a successful blog, but also to be writing on a topic I don’t know too much about.

I think from my perspective that’s where I struggle. I feel like there is a huge gap between knowing about domaining and understanding what its all really about. I mean, still today when someone asks me about my dad I struggle to explain what he does to a person my age. It normally starts off with “…well, he sits on the computer a lot” and for a lot of people that already generally enough to shut off.

As I watch their eyes glaze over, I fumble and try to explain in the simplest terms what domaining is about. Bottom line is nothing about domaining to me is simple. People my age are very tech savvy when it comes to social media, computers and video games, but as soon as something as technical as domaining comes up I can see my friends (as polite as they are) just shut down. I was once the same, until I realized how interesting business can be!

Now that I am working part time for Whizzbangs Blog I have already learnt so much! I’ve been actually excited to look at spreadsheets (unlike when I was at university) and its even better when all the numbers actually make sense a little bit. But my question to you all is how do you describe what your job is to someone who has never heard a thing about domaining?

I’d love to get know many of you in the domaining industry as I know my journey has only just begun! Please leave comments and feel free to reach out to me and share your own journey!

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