Part 2 – Traffic Test – Focusing on Performance

What determines good performance?

This is the second in the series on running a traffic test. The first may be viewed by clicking on the link below:

Part 1 – Traffic Test – Baseline Data

Escrow.com

One of the challenges of running a traffic test is to determine which metrics should be used for comparison purposes. I’ve had so many people tell me that all that matters is revenue…..I beg to disagree.

Although revenue is a very important metric it is not the only metric that should be paid attention to. For example, let’s imagine the baseline data for an education related domain is from May and the traffic test started mid-June.

Many education advertisers wind down during June and therefore the pay-out rates per click will typically be less for this type of traffic. In addition, depending upon the type of education domain the traffic is likely to be less as well.

What we need to do is to interpret what the data is telling us and not just look at it and say, “The revenue is down, I’m pulling the test.”

One of the challenges in running a traffic test is using views as a comparison metric. Because every provider counts views differently then using this metric can end up becoming quite subjective....that being said, sometimes it's all that is provided in the baseline data so it's better than nothing.

Many years ago, I was sitting in a meeting with a person that controlled a very large domain portfolio. They were running a traffic test with us and we were taking them through our typical analysis and discussing what was happening at the individual domain level. This surprised the prospective client as they said they’d never done that before.

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Part 1 - Traffic Test - Baseline Data

Running a Traffic Test

Getting your hands around the data is paramount when it comes to working with domain traffic monetisation. I’ve had a number of readers ask me to write further about how ParkLogic conducts a traffic test and whether it really is worth all the hassle.

Escrow.com

The first thing we ask for is baseline data from where the domains were previously being monetised. Some people get suspicious with asking for this information and take the approach that we should just perform as “good as we can” so I thought it would be good to unpack why we ask for this data.

There are three primary reasons:
1.    Focus
2.    Accountability
3.    Trust

By having data prior to starting the test helps us immediately focus immediately on where the effort will have the most impact. Without baseline data we end up spinning our wheels for the first part of the test and this is not worthwhile for either ourselves or the potential partner.

Accountability is crucial in any transparent relationship. We take managing domains very seriously and we believe we need to be held accountable against the baseline data at the very least. Let’s face it, the revenue from these domains goes to paying mortgages and putting food on the table for many domain investors.

The last reason is trust and, in many respects, this is the most important reason out of the three. ParkLogic has a stance that we do not have people who use our service, but partners and these relationships are built upon a solid foundation of mutual trust.

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Listening to Credible Speakers

I recently conducted an in-depth analysis of a statistically sound sample of a several hundred thousand domains. There was nothing special or selective about the sample and yet the results showed that contrary to many peoples believe, domain monetisation is alive and well.

Escrow.com

I attend a lot of conferences around the world and I must admit that I get a little flummoxed when I hear over and over again claims that domain monetisation is dead. The reason for this is that my company, ParkLogic, sees the actual data from right across the industry and from our perspective nothing could be further from the truth.

When I say we see data for the industry I really mean that. Any domain traffic on the ParkLogic platform is evaluated every hundred milliseconds to see which company will pay the most for it. There’s no guessing or “gut instinct” involved, it’s all about the numbers.

I have two questions to ask the monetisation naysayers:

  1. Do you have a statistically sound sample of domains that allows you to speak with any authority?
  2. What have you done differently with your domains in the last 6 months?

The first questions strikes at the heart of credibility. If you don’t personally have the data or access to the data, then on what basis are you making claims that can potentially be damaging to the industry.

A few year ago, I was publicly ridiculed in a domain forum by an individual and told in no uncertain terms that I know nothing about domain monetisation. I took the condemnation on the chin and in a private message I asked my accuser how much revenue per month they were doing. The answer was $5.

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Wolftalker
Wise words M.
26 April 2019
fmichlick
Can't wait for you to present and share some data again. It would be especially interesting to see what type of domain inventory... Read More
27 April 2019
mgilmour
Hi John, All good questions. I've been publishing data on this blog for over 10 years and will continue to do so into the future. ... Read More
01 May 2019
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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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Gambling on Domains

Are you gambling on domains?

I must admit that I’ve never really understood the business model underpinning domain sales. I know that in this article I may rain on your parade and for that I’m sorry….but please help me out in getting over some of my possibly faulty logic

Escrow.com

The state of the market for domain names is that it has fallen from a peak growth of 11.7% in 2015 to 1.2% in 2017. The 2015 peak was spurred on by two factors:
•    The Chinese domain boom
•    Greater release of new gTLDs

When you begin to drill down into the data it becomes even more interesting. For instance, .COM grew by 6.4% in 2015 and is growing by 2.8% in 2017. The legacy TLDs (eg. org, net etc) grew by 1.5% in 2015 and slipped backwards by -1.9%. The surprise was the ccTLDs (country codes). In 2015 they were growing by 14% while in 2017 they are beating .COM out with a growth rate of 3.9%. I must admit that I love ccTLDs and have made a lot of money from them over the years.

The sorry tale is the new TLDs. After exploding out of the blocks in 2015 with a growth of 196% they are now contracting by 14.6%. Many have stated that this is not surprising as speculators leave the market but when you consider that over 50% of the domains are parked then you’ve got to ask what’s actually happening. The simple answer is some of the extensions (eg. XYZ) are experiencing massive drops which is influencing the numbers overall…..so no panic here for the truly good extensions.

Ignoring the decline in the new TLDs the overall growth in the market is around 4.8% or approximately 9 million more domains from 2016 to 2017. This is an important number as it represents the demand side of the market and should dynamically influence the sale price of domains.

The other curve is a little frightening…..the supply curve. Since the new TLDs were released, the market has been swamped with a massive level of supply. This is not the early days of the Internet where there was .COM, the CC’s and a few others. We are now in an environment where the supply is so large that it MUST impact the sales price.

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mgilmour
I based this roughly on overall market share. Yes, many domains are sold privately but I think not as many as people would have yo... Read More
11 October 2018
mgilmour
Many thanks for the extensive comment! My understanding was the $150m was the revenue line to GoDaddy not the net revenue. Maybe I... Read More
11 October 2018
mgilmour
Thanks for the correction of .tk.....I forgot to take them into consideration. What is for sure is the domain market is mature and... Read More
11 October 2018
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