Part 3 – Traffic Test – Improving the Revenue

Turning the revenue trend chart around.

This is the third in the series on running a traffic test. The first two articles in the series can be viewed at:
Part 1 – Traffic Test – Baseline Data
Part 2 – Traffic Test – Focusing on Performance

As we discussed in Part 2, what’s vital in running a traffic test is understanding the performance, both positive and negative. The data is the data but interpreting what it’s telling you is far more important if you are wanting to develop long-term value from your domain traffic.

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So how is the real live test portfolio progressing so far? The following two charts show the overall trend lines are all heading in the right direction. Despite the time of year and the typical overall decline in advertising spend over the northern hemisphere summer, revenue is continuing to trend upwards.

Revenue and plRPM charts

The second chart clearly shows the reason for this is due to the normalised RPM (or plRPM as we call it at ParkLogic) is also trending upwards as the optimisation algorithms continue their work. For those of you that are unaware, RPM stands for Revenue Per Thousand - more of per thousand what shortly. It’s at this point that I’m going to take a little detour to explain a few things about plRPM and how it differs from RPM.

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2018 - The Year That Was...

The year that was and the year ahead!

At this time of year, I like to spend some time reflecting on the state of the domain industry and in particular what I’ve been up to the past twelve months. Let me say from the outset that I’ve seen a LOT of changes take place and from my perspective most of them have been good.

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Development
At the end of 2017 I wrote about a project that I was working on that took domain development to a whole new level. Internally we now refer to this project as “Sites” and it’s now integrated into the main ParkLogic core systems.

Along the developmental journey there were a number of critical factors that needed to be resolved. Without revealing too much, amongst many other things, “Sites” now contains:

  1. A flexible templating system to display landers that is very different compared to any of the currently available platforms (eg. Word Press, Joomla etc.). Widgets can be placed anywhere on the page and they both display information to the user AND also pass data back to the traffic quality system.
  2. A quality system that used both web and behavioural analytics to determine the quality of the traffic being received by a domain. Each and every piece of traffic is scored appropriately, and this score is aggregated at the domain and account levels.
  3. A reporting system that produces actionable reports based upon analytics at a dashboard, domain and traffic level.
  4. A fully configurable API so that any data can be pulled from any “Sites” server and then analysed by either “Sites” customers or the ParkLogic team.
  5. A back-end administrative interface that provides the necessary data for managing massive numbers of instances of “Sites” as well as assisting in determining more optimal monetisation solutions.

At the moment “Sites” processes around five million queries per day and in 2019 we see it continuing to grow as we focus our analytical skills upon it. It’s been quite a journey since its inception and it’s definitely not over yet….not by a long shot. When you control the page there’s a HUGE amount that is possible and this innovation will flow on as a direct benefit to ParkLogic clients.

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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!

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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 Traffic Optimisation Provides Greater Revenue

We recently had a new client that does a significant amount of domain traffic revenue come across to ParkLogic (I'm a co-founder) for a test. They were previously with a single parking solution and I thought it would be interesting to share with you the results as a case study in why domain traffic optimisation works.

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After 6 days the overall results a 20% uplift in revenue…..which is quite a good given the short time frame. It's still early days for the optimisation process to kick in and effectively route the low traffic domains to the highest paying monetisation solution.

When you begin to unpack the data a little further an even better outcome is just on the horizon. For instance, for all those domains that have exhibited at least the same traffic levels as the previous month’s baseline the uplift in revenue has been 39%.

If we hand back to the client, the bottom 10 worst performing domains out of nearly 4,000 in the test then the results completely change. Overall, the performance is a 41.2% revenue uplift with a 75% increase in revenue for domains that had at least the same traffic as the baseline. This is a HUGE result where the revenue line has nearly doubled!

I wouldn't be surprised if the revenue line continues to increase over the next 6 weeks as the optimisation process hones in on the best performing solution. From that point onwards, optimisation will continue every second of every day.

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The Big Issues in the Domain Industry – Part 4

In this article I’ll be addressing the final domain business model, traffic monetisation. As well as being valuable to advertisers, domain traffic drives many of the opportunities received from potential domain buyers. Contrary to popular opinion, traffic is the lifeblood of the domain industry…..not domain sales.

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One of the keys to greater domain sales is to leverage your domain traffic. If you sell all your traffic domains, then expect there will be a commensurate drop in domain sales. In Part 1 of this series I discussed using your traffic for your own sales rather than providing it for free to the marketplaces and have it potentially result in another person’s sale.

Traffic monetisation is a way to generate additional funds to cover renewal costs and contribute to your profitability. Many people wrongly believe that traffic monetisation is dead. It’s not. I personally know of many people that earn thousands of dollars a day by focusing on building their domain traffic portfolios. For those of you that disagree….I’m happy to have a chat about purchasing your traffic domains.

The major difference between traffic monetisation and domain sales is traffic monetisation tends (not always) to generate less revenue per domain but that revenue comes in month after month. Domain sales tends to be very lumpy and unless you have a very large portfolio it’s difficult to achieve a consistent income – this also makes planning exceptionally difficult.

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