Some Domainers are Just Dumb

Are you domaining with ancient or modern tools?

I was reading an article on TheDomains.com about domain traffic monetisation and the comment list ended up being filled with doom and gloom. I found the comments tended to spring from domainers harkening back to the “good old days” when raking in money from their traffic was easy. Many of them also showed a complete lack of understanding about how monetisation has moved on from the “good old days”.

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I will once again say upfront that I’m one of the founders of ParkLogic and we monetise domain traffic but in a very different manner from ANY other provider. We work with almost all of the traditional parking companies and many of the global advertising networks. This gives us a unique perspective on the industry, and I believe provides us with some authority to speak on the subject of monetisation.

I would first like to tackle the common misconception that parking providers are thieves. Contrary to popular belief, we find the parking providers are not fraudulent and stealing your money. They are often as in the dark as you are as to why a domain’s earnings have fallen apart or why a clawback was applied to your account. Google is pulling all of strings and they don’t share squat with their partners.

Before you go accusing your account manager of theft think twice. They are actually your best friend who represent you to their larger organisation. I’ve heard of some account managers being treated despicably and it’s about time some bad domainers act a little more professionally. Thank goodness most domain investors ARE professional in their approach.

That all being said, have some parking providers attempted nefarious behaviours in the past? Absolutely! In fact, on the whole these companies are no longer in business. They’ve either been caught out by their customers or partners for doing the wrong thing and have now been expunged from the industry. This means the companies that have survived are generally pretty good.

Now let me comment on the state of play of domain monetisation. Is it dead? Nope. Is it dead for some people? Yes. The major reason why domain investors believe that domain monetisation is dead is because they keep on doing the same thing they always have. Go figure?

Let’s think about this for a bit. Many domain investors complain about declining revenues and then do nothing about it. They may change parking providers but that’s just like changing which cabin you’re going to sleep in on the Titanic.

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Part 4 - A History or RPM

And yet another RPM variation....

Please click on the below link to view the first three parts of A History of RPM:
Part 1 - A History of RPM
Part 2 - A History of RPM
Part 3 - A History of RPM

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Some people have mistakenly thought that if another player is involved in the chain (eg. someone like ParkLogic) then the margin that they take will consume any benefits. This couldn’t be further from the truth as companies such as my own play more than just a revenue increase, we also manage downside risk.

To understand this hidden benefit, we need to return to the RPM formula from Part 1 in this series. At ParkLogic we effectively have an RPM for every domain, at every monetisation company at every point in time. In fact, many years ago I coined the term normalised RPM (nRPM) as the unit of measurement for every monetisation source.

This means we actually know who is paying the most for any domain at any point in time. We then route the traffic to those destinations so that ParkLogic customers achieve a greater yield for their traffic.

As a by-product of this process we also manage downside risk. For example, if a domain is being paid an nRPM of $10 at one provider and $9 at another we would rightly route the traffic to the $10 provider. Suddenly the $10 provider loses a key advertiser and is now paying $2. If you were leaving the traffic at a single provider, then you would get the $2 but with ParkLogic the traffic will automatically flow to the $9 provider. This dramatically smooths out these types of market disruptions and reduces the risk for the domain investor.

Now here’s the problem with all of this history and discussions about RPM. When you deal with direct advertising networks, they have another type of RPM altogether….and it’s a difficult one to crack and it highlights the difference between a spot price and an average price.

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apTLD Here I Come!

Leaving on a jet plane...

Once again, I find myself sitting in the Qantas Club waiting for my international flight connection to head to Singapore and apTLD. The first thing that many of you will be asking is what the heck is apTLD? apTLD stands for Asia Pacific Top Level Domains.

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I’ve been asked to speak at apTLD and to fly the domain investor flag to the ccTLD registries that will be present. Many of these registries don’t even know that domain investing exists so it should be an interesting education for both them and me.

I must admit that since it’s a short, day flight (only 8 hours), I’m looking forward to getting some work done, have a rest and generally let the world go by. The magic of noise cancelling headphones will block out the planes engines as well as the tap, tap, tap of my fingers on the keyboard.

This is the first trip for me after the northern hemisphere hiatus and I’m really looking forward to catching up with old friends and having a chat about business. I’ve always found that during July and August it’s a great time to do some development work rather than chase people who would much rather being enjoying the sunshine.

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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.

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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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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.

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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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