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08|25|2008 05:29 pm EDT

ReplyCycle Taps Into New Revenue Source For Domain Name Owners

by Adam Strong in Categories: New Companies

DNN has the inside scoop on a new company with a great concept. ReplyCycle, which is slated to launch at TRAFFIC Brooklyn, provides a service that will generate additional revenue for domain owners from a previously untapped source. No, it has nothing to do with parking, affiliate programs, selling more domains or even domain development. Think Email.

Every day millions of Emails go undelivered to domains that may be in use, but have not been set up to receive Emails. The sender receives a message back that says something along the lines of

“This is an automatically generated Delivery Status Notification. Delivery to the following recipient failed permanently etc.“

Enter Replycycle.com. Emails that otherwise get bounced back with the “undeliverable” message now will contain a reply that can be customized. The service works well for a corporate client base but also has appeal to those who manage multiple domain names such as registrars, parking companies or large portfolio holders.

ReplyCycle plans to partner with registrars and parking companies to provide a system for domain owners to monetize those bounced back Emails. Domain owners will simply point the MX record of the domain name to Replycycle and the company takes over. Initially the “undeliverable” replies will contain offers from CPA companies targeted based on the domain name. The company also plans to incorporate ppc links into the Emails in the future.

On the corporate side, think about a company like Verizon for example. They now own every conceivable misspelling of their primary domain name. Because of user generated misspellings, Emails get bounced back to the sender as “undeliverable”. This service would enable Verizon to have all their domains reply back with a company controlled message to insure that the user knows that the Email went undelivered and provide a means for the user to find the information they were seeking. The service reportedly can pull out keywords from the senders Email and generate a reply that would be aimed at resolving the misdirected Email.

As an example, the Verizon ReplyCylce-powered Email might reply back

Thanks for Emailing us at Verizon. Unfortunately, the address you typed is not a working Email address. Please update your address book.

Based on the nature of your email you may be able to find a resolution to your question at the following links : (links to FAQ)

Or you may be able to get more information by calling : 1800-Verizon
Thank you

A reply from a domain owned by a domainer or parked might

Thanks for Emailing (domainname.com)
Unfortunately this Email address is not a working Email. Please update your address book.
Based on the nature of your Email you might be interested in the following information:
(links would be provided here to CPA offers)

THANK YOU

Manager of the patent-pending project, Dan Kimball, told Domain Name News that the group hasn’t launched yet but word has quickly spread about the service and the level of interest is high. A new source of revenue in a time when pay-per-click revenues are declining should attract a lot of attention.

The company plans to officially launch at TRAFFIC. More information can be found at their website, Replycycle.com

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17 Comments

Alan

August 25, 2008 @ 6:41 pm EDT

It’s a good idea but I’m more interested in how the owners of this company will help enforce known typos. Just like NameJet and GoDaddy (to name a few) continually auction typos of well known and obvious trademark domains this idea (although in theory good) can just as easily backfire for everyone in the industry. Domain parking of types is one issue and lazily enforced by some but when you introduce the generation of revenue from emails of known trademark typos all of a sudden we ALL become associated with spam because in the eyes of people outside the industry – ANY email with an ad is spam.

Its a thin line here and I can’t see it turning out good.

RKB

August 25, 2008 @ 8:13 pm EDT

Its a good idea but I am not sure if most domains (especially the parked ones) ever get an email sent. Also won’t be making much money for long-tail names.

Anyone knows any stats on how many emails an average long tail undeveloped domain gets per year?

Just wondering!

jp

August 25, 2008 @ 8:50 pm EDT

Interesting idea indeed. The question remains however, as RK8 said how many legitimate people will send an email to an undeveloped domain. I’m sure that the big spammers are sending out messages to every registered domain name just to see if they get a response, but I don’t think these spammers are going to click on any ads in the NDR message returned by this service. This will however confirm for a spammer proof positive that the email address they are trying to send to is not valid, whereas when their message is sent to my server, my server deletes the message and sends no NDR, so that the spammer never really knows for sure about addresses on my domains.

My theory is that there is alot of money to be made off this system, and its probably going to be 99% typo-TM email traffic. That and end user offers being made on domain names that aren’t setup to recieve email. Perhaps setup an affiliate link for Afternic for those NDR messages.

I’ve never really thought of email addresses in the direct-navigation category. Regardless someone is going to make alot of money off of this, maybe just the lawyers and spammers.

[…] friend Adam Strong over at Domain Name News has the scoop on a new product launching at TRAFFIC Brooklyn next month. Replycycle is a system for responding to […]

Too Many Secrets

August 26, 2008 @ 12:45 pm EDT

Adam,

I don’t see the value in this service. If domain owners wanted to manage their email better, they could set up auto-responders to do it. They could capture sender email addresses even.

If parking companies are not already doing email management, I am sure they can set it up within a week for their clients.

The domain of this site was registered about 10 days ago – interesting. ;-)

Richard

August 26, 2008 @ 2:00 pm EDT

Shorter URL to this page:
http://xr.com/replycycle

Adam Strong

August 26, 2008 @ 2:19 pm EDT

Too many secrets,
No one is doing this or has done it that I know of.

Too Many Secrets

August 26, 2008 @ 3:27 pm EDT

Adam,

Do you mean no one is using auto-responders for their email?

Adam Strong

August 26, 2008 @ 4:35 pm EDT

What I initially meant was in reply to your “If parking companies are not already doing email management” .. . I’m not aware of parking companies handling anything to do with email.

Also, I don’t believe the returning of undeliverable mails with a message is quite the same as typical auto-responders really. Auto-responders typically work on valid email addresses and I think they are handled differently than a “no valid email” type of bounce.

I guess it is a form of auto-responding, but you’d have to ‘wild card’ your auto-response to handle all the invalid emails as well and at the same time filter out the spam before you replied back. Not sure of the technical parts associated with either so can’t speak on that.

Capturing the emails would be a whole different matter since they aren’t really opting in by accidentally emailing. What are you going to do with the “captured” addresses?

I don’t know of any parking company doing this and I don’t know any domain owner doing what you describe either.

Too Many Secrets

August 26, 2008 @ 4:53 pm EDT

Adam,

Interesting. In the hosting world there are all sorts of solutions to email management. From simple ones like procmail to complete management software to handle responses, filter, give replies from a knowledgebase etc.

It sounds like the parking companies need to hire a few linux admins and add some email features to their parking plans!

OR perhaps their is no customer interest? That’s a good poll question, I bet.

Adam Strong

August 26, 2008 @ 6:12 pm EDT

Yes, you are right but even in the hosting world I don’t think anyone has yet to consider using the bounce back email as a revenue source. I don’t think it’s ever been considered, although I’ve seen more than a few “I thought of that ideas” floating around on the forums already in regard to replycycle.

I think in general customers (if they are domain owners) are interested in making more money atm. . . . No poll necessary :)

Matt Wegrzyn

August 26, 2008 @ 10:05 pm EDT

I actually thought of this idea some time ago as well, but never really saw enough value to work on it. So I think that ReplyCycle is an interesting project and has potential, but I don’t think it will work the way they are proposing it.

They want to add in CPA offers. I think I kind of know the reason. I think, and I don’t know the truth behind this so this is only my opinion…but I think that they want to send out CPA offers in bounce back emails, this would only work for types of large businesses such as Target or Amazon that have affiliate programs. If the visitor were to click on the CPA offer, it would set a cookie on the user’s computer for 30-45 days. The user doesn’t have to buy something right then and there. If he/she returns within 30-45 days and buys something at these big sites and still has the cookie on his/her pc, then the ReplyCycle company gets credited commission for the affiliate referral, which is passed on to the domain parking company / domain owner.

That’s the only way I can really think that this will work.

Chris Nielsen

August 26, 2008 @ 10:11 pm EDT

What A Great Idea!

So all a spammer has to do is find domains that are parked and send all kinds of spam to any fake address at the parked domain with a reply address of those they want to send spam to. Or harass. The messages bounce back to all of us, now carrying the additional ads on top of the orginal spam…!

I suggest that anyone considering this first set up a “Catchall” email address on one or more of their domains (I have in the past) and see for themselves what kind of god-awlful junk pours in…

On the other hand, the idea of most large corporate sites like Verizon “caring” if you send them email or not is laughable. It seems like everytime I try to find contact email addresses on the sites of large companies it’s just about impossible! I often have to hunt just to find a contact form…!

Chris Nielsen

August 26, 2008 @ 10:12 pm EDT

:-)

This message was created automatically by mail delivery software.

A message that you sent could not be delivered to one or more of its
recipients. This is a permanent error. The following address(es) failed:

invalid-email-address-test@replycycle.com
SMTP error from remote mail server after RCPT TO::
host replycycle.com [72.55.174.165]: 550 No Such User Here

Dwayne Rowland

August 27, 2008 @ 11:57 am EDT

I think this will fly. Simply replace the spam message with a better spam message and forward to the spoofed email address. If done using a responsible message which includes the orginal header ip address for tracing to a source, it’ll work. Otherwise it’s just another source of spamming addresses and your domain will be tagged an open relay. I’ve tested this concept with emaillandfill.com and it was very interesting to go thru trash emails and reply to the spoofed senders. One way to make this work for sure is to offer a way to never receive another spam email addressed to the domain. You would not have to ever worry about running out of addresses for spammers send out millions on a hourly basis.

Frank Michlick

August 28, 2008 @ 6:14 pm EDT

Great idea guys and congratulations on the launch. In a large scale, this idea may just fly. Hopefully the servers can handle the amount of mail.

This is a logical extension of the thinking parked.com has been applying to expired domains by showing “click here” imagines whenever a web browser requests an image from their parked domains, or even RSS feeds with links back to the site for expired domains. I have yet to see a catch-all flash file on parked domains though.

joseph davidovic

August 30, 2008 @ 2:50 am EDT

It’s an interesting idea and time will tell if the uptake is sufficient to create a viable revenue stream.

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