09|12|2007 08:46 pm EDT
It is with delight that I welcome a new author to Domain Name News: Ahmed F. Ahmed is an experienced developer, and his latest project, iBegin Source, offers reasonably priced local business data, which can help with domain development. [Frank Michlick]
It is both exciting and disheartening to read about parking development.
Exciting because it is good to see that domains are finally moving to the next stage. We’ve already proven enough times that domain parking works. Direction navigation exists. They are pre-qualified traffic. They click on ads. None of this can be disputed. It has been proven over and over.
Yet PPC was only a stop gap. The domain is a middleman – funneling traffic without laying claim to the traffic. How many people re-visit the domain? How many more would re-visit the domain if it was more than just a bunch of paid links? We’ve been hearing parking companies talking about ‘development’ since 2004 with nothing to show.
So it is good to see development coming along. Sure there is hype about web 2.0 and user-generated content, but that requires a large set of traffic. Use Digg as an example – less than 1% actually contribute stories to the website (which doesn’t factor how many of those are self-serving).
But it is disheartening to see startups doing the legwork. Why aren’t established companies like DomainSponsor or Fabulous looking into such automated processes? They claim that content websites bring revenue down. An obvious no-brainer in the short term. But what about long term growth? With content, there is a higher chance users come back. The site can gain links. At the least – offer us the option. People looking at the long term will be more than happy to give content a fair shake.
Want an example? Minnesota.com was supplemented with local data. The end result? Site traffic up 1000% in 17 weeks (and continuing to increase). Did revenue fall at first? Yes. Is it higher now? Absolutely. It is also gaining natural links, including a recent one from a TV station. The long term value proposition of the domain has increased – its brand name has been strengthened. Its revenue is up. It has links. Short term pain for long term gain.
There is a lot of data out there – both free and paid. And I don’t mean obvious sources like Wikipedia (which has been over-used). Project Gutenberg offers classic books for free. Perfect fit for literature/author domains. Geonames offers large amounts of local data for free. And those are only the free sources – there are a lot of paid sources that make a lot of sense for domains. In the post I mentioned in the beginning – the first comment is about developing local domains. There are tons of geodomains. Franky Schilling has mentioned local domains before. Frank M talked about Marchex utilizing local data on local domains, and even specifically mentioned where others could purchase local data. Heck SuperPages.com trumpeted their purchase of the LocalSearch.com domain. Why are parking companies just sitting around? Buying local business data may not make sense for one domain. But with tens of thousands (or even more) parked domains, it does make sense for parking companies.
That is just scraping the surface. What about weather? Recipes? Dictionaries? City data? All this data is free or can be had for cheap. It seems like the rich parking companies are happy to sit around while making money off of our domains.
Marchex is ahead of the curve. The startups are ahead of the curve. Even the Hot or Not guys knew it was time to start innovating instead of obsessing over the bottom line. Can the large parking companies wake up and start some of their content development? I don’t like leaving money on the table, and I assume you don’t either.