Discussions and blogs that relate to the monetisation of domain traffic.

The Domain Monetization Seismic Shift

Did you feel the domain investment earthquake?

Over the last few years the domain monetization industry has gone through a silent seismic shift that many investors are completely oblivious about. For the last decade it’s been assumed that with the demise of Yahoo that Google was the only alternative to monetise domain traffic…..boy has that changed!

Escrow.com

I went trawling back through the many presentations that I have conducted at various conferences around the world and a slide from May 2016 leapt out at me. It showed the relative difference between revenues generated from traditional domain parking versus direct advertisers.

May 2016 data

What you will notice is that around 8% of the total revenue generated from domain names came from traditional parking solutions that are underpinned by Google. The numbers came from ParkLogic and given that we run a truly competitive marketplace for the traffic it means that about 92% of the time Google paid more than direct advertisers.

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Which is the most important domaining metric?

What's the most important traffic metric?

Most people would answer this question with a smirk on their face and that the obvious answer is “revenue”. Although revenue is vitally important to any business, I would like to say that when it comes to domain traffic monetisation it is not THE most important.

Escrow.com

The problem with revenue is that it’s a very one-dimensional number that doesn’t tell you how your domain traffic is actually performing. If you only pay attention to the revenue, then it is very likely to be buffeted by traffic volume and this will distort your perception of performance.

Some people may leap to Earnings-Per-Click (EPC) and Click-Through-Rate (CTR) as being the most important metrics…..but they would also be wrong.

EPC is a representation of advertiser demand and CTR represents user engagement. The problem with both these numbers is they are dependent upon how a click is counted….and this varies between every different monetisation provider in the world!

You then have Revenue-Per-Thousand visitors (RPM). The definition of this metric is revenue / visitors x 1000. Although this is a better number that incorporates both revenue and views the question that immediately comes to mind is, “Who’s version of a view?”

Due to lack of standards in the domain industry there isn’t a single “view” definition that has been adopted by everyone. This means that I can claim to payout the highest RPMs simply by discounting back the number of views I count…..which makes RPM a bit of a meaningless metric when you’re trying to compare one company versus another.

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Running a Proper Domain Test

Are you getting the most from your traffic?

I’ve been in the business of managing domain traffic for nearly two decades, the last of which has been as one of the co-founders of ParkLogic. In this article I will share with you how a proper analytic traffic test should be constructed and the pitfalls that so many people fall into….which ultimately robs them of increased revenues.

Escrow.com

Let’s imagine you have a reasonable amount of traffic revenue at your current monetisation partner. By reasonable I mean at least $250 per day. For those of you that think this is impossibly high then you can stop reading hear and continue to believe that domain traffic monetisation is dead. Everyone else can keep on reading.

Let me say from the outset that if you have left your domains with the same parking company for more than a few months then I can almost guarantee that you’re leaving money on the table. For a start, we see that around 60% of all domains achieve greater results from non-Google sources.

In constructing a test, you need to have around $100/day of revenue (based on the previous month’s stats) from a couple hundred domains. Some domains should be doing a few dollars per day, while others should still have traffic but do no revenue. This will provide a good statistical sample that will help verify whether the new monetisation partner is actually performing or not.

Any new partner worth working with should then ask for these numbers. If you think you’re being clever and not providing them by asking them to perform their “best” then all you’re actually doing is delaying the optimisation cycle. The new company will have no idea where to concentrate their resources unless they have the numbers.

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How to Turn a Profit with Domains

Planning for profit

Over the last few years I’ve watched many domain investors throw money at some pretty crazy ideas and invest in nonsensical domains. Some of these investors have already completely burnt their cash and have exited the industry.

I’ve also watched the quite diligent investors that have methodically planned how they are going to get a return on their investment….and they’re making money hand over fist!

Escrow.com

The secret to any business really isn’t a secret at all but it does require a sustained level of tenacity and diligence. Everything in business starts with a plan and the end point of the plan should ultimately be how the business is going to be sustainable and turn a profit.

When I look at investing in domains it’s exactly the same thing. You need a plan. If you don’t have a plan, then you are very likely about to burn through some of your kids’ inheritance.

Let’s get down to the basics. If you have a reasonable sized domain portfolio, I can almost guarantee that 20% of the domains should be monetised for their traffic. This will provide an immediate cashflow that will at the very least help out with renewals or you may find yourself in the enviable situation of turning over an immediate profit.

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Why is Domain Traffic Still So Valuable?

Domain Traffic is like gold.

For many years people have been making proclamations that the domain monetisation industry is dead and yet….it’s still with us. There is a really simple reason why a number of individuals have been so successful in the domain monetisation industry. Domain traffic is valuable because it converts like no other source of traffic available to advertisers.

Escrow.com

Yes, it’s that simple. Quality direct navigation is like 24 caret gold for advertisers that care to investigate what traffic sources are actually generating their profits.

When you think about it, it’s pretty obvious. If a person goes to beds.com guess what? They want to buy a bed! This gold standard of traffic is what also contributes to driving up the price of high end premium domains.

Many years ago, I read a report released by Google that outlined how domain traffic converted better than search traffic. Not surprisingly, the report quickly vanished…. Everything comes back to advertisers…..and guess what, they want this traffic and they want it bad!

Given domain traffic is so valuable, why is it that many domain investors have been experiencing a decline in their traffic revenues? Once again the answer is simple…..if you depend 100% upon Google to provide you with your revenue then don’t be surprised if they reduce payouts.

I’ve seen domain investors get all upset about their revenue declining but do nothing about it. Go figure? The domain traffic IS valuable but someone else is just taking your lion’s share. What’s the point in getting angry with Google and then doing nothing?

The Google domain management team is doing EXACTLY what they should be doing….maximising Google’s profits. They are not interested in maximising your profits. In fact, if any of them weren’t putting Google first then they would be fired…..

So the question I would like to leave you with is also simple, “Given domain traffic is so valuable shouldn’t you take charge of your own profit line?”

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