Thursday, December 1, 2011

Google delivers a final death knell to the dirty Domain parking Business!

I have always said this again and again, domain parking is the laziest, greediest, least creative, least innovative and an unethical way to use domain names. Domain parking has been a fuel behind the growth of the web and the DNS industry for a long time, with the domain investors registering or "snapping" hundreds of thousand of domain names and then "flipping" them or serving PPC ads on those domains. Flipping is the term "domainers" use for easy big sales of domain portfolios. But now Google is about to strike a final nail in the coffin of the domain parking industry which has been on a downward trend in the last few years anyway.

In a statement released on Google blog, the search engine has introduced a new “parked domain” classifier which will  allow Google crawlers to easily detect parked web pages and eliminate them from SERPs. According to the search engine, "Parked domains are placeholder sites that are seldom useful and often filled with ads. They typically don’t have valuable content for our users, so in most cases we prefer not to show them." Under this new regime, domain parking companies like Sedo will have to implement new rules .Google has forced the companies to remove URL forwarding and use DNS instead for parked domains. This means that if you park your domains with Sedo for example, instead of just forwarding the URL, you will have to modify the nameservers with your registrar by adding the Sedo nameservers to give Google an easier time deindexing your domain, which should not have been indexed in the first place.

I think the people who purely park domains want to have the best of both worlds sometimes. They are too lazy or too busy to build meaningful content or business around their domains so they want to park them and rely on the theoretical 15%(highly disputable) of web users who access information via typing in URLs while at the same time, they want to rank for keyword-based search engine traffic by the remaining 85% (in fact over 95% i think) of web users who use Google, Bing and other search engines to locate content. Users are always fed with lots of links that add zero value to their lives. In fact, if there's one industry that has heavily contributed to the user awareness of ads and subsequent low click through rates(genuine clicks) in the online advertising industry, it's the parking business!

 The domain parking industry has also fueled typosquatting. A domain investor knows that a user is likely to type or instead of at one point in their browsing lives so why not lay the trap in advance? And if it earns me cash, why not go ahead and "typosquat" all the famous brands? This  is the dark side of domain parking. The temptation for typosquatting and even cybersquatting is just too hard to resist. In fact some of the domain parking greats engage in serious typosquatting and cybersquatting activities!

To give the devil its dues, domain parking has contributed to growth of many registries and generated good income for registrars, Google, Yahoo, ICANN and the investors themselves but they are of zero benefit to users! In essence, domain parking has been very useful for the DNS Industry but not the web users who need services from the DNS industry.

It's a complete and total waste of the cyberspace. Imagine land investors in your city buying up the prime property, with the best location and accessibility and then instead of building amenities, office blocks and skyscrapers, they sell space for outdoor advertising companies to put up billboards so that when you need office space, or a restaurant or park to take a rest in, you have to travel 30km out of the city centre! That's what the domain parking business does to our web. They force the rest of us to travel 30km out of the "city" to access services.

The parking industry was initially fueled by the PPC ads served by ad networks like Yahoo, Google and other networks. This has been the key monetization strategy although lately, the revenue from these ads have been on a nose dive. Gone are the nostalgic days of Kevin Ham, Frank Schilling, Yun Ye and others. Domainers who made millions of dollars from the domain parking business. Today's "domainer" must build content over several domains in order to earn something while reminiscing of a once "beautiful" past. In essence, it creates more value for the rest of us as more parked domains are converted into vibrant websites. With Google's new algorithms, this "kaizen" will be accelerated further for a more useful, ethical and quality web!

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