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11|14|2012 01:10 pm EDT

Facebook’s New Monetization Strategy – Best News for Domain Owners in Years?

by Kevin Ohashi in Categories: Miscellaneous

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This is a guest post by Kevin Ohashi. Kevin is a 10 year veteran of the domain industry. He currently is working his startup, Review Signal, which transforms the opinions people share publicly on social media into a review site for consumers. It currently provides web hosting reviews and will review domain registrars soon.

I was reading Mark Cuban’s thoughts about Facebook trying to get him to pay to reach his fans. It’s an interesting opinion and one I can empathize with. The crux of it is this picture:

Brands have spent millions of dollars getting people to ‘Like’ their brands. Now, Facebook is asking them to pay more to reach the audience they already paid to build. It feels fundamentally unfair because Facebook has changed the rules of the game half way through.

Of course, there is another perspective to consider: the users. They probably don’t want every brand spamming them. There is some ambiguity to the word ‘Like’. Some would argue it’s not a laissez faire situation where brands are free to advertise to every user as much as they want. Facebook’s EdgeRank is supposed to improve the user’s experience by curating what users see in their feed (and it just so happens that more money greases the EdgeRank wheels).

That’s a quick synopsis of the article. Let’s get back on topic.

Why is this important to domainers?

Mark Cuban is advocating for brands to maintain more control over the way they communicate with their audience. He’s promoting Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram and MySpace (no joke!). It’s not mentioned in the article, but there is still only one place that the brand still maintains full control: their domain name(s).

I’ve argued in the past that domains are becoming less necessary as brands opt to use social networks for their primary web presence. Facebook has about one sixth of the world’s population as users. It’s easier to manage, easier to share content and easier to reach your audience (assuming you have money to spend).

This is a real kick back from brands. Maybe it’s just one guy. Maybe not. But it should be a good reminder that when you buy into these social networks, you’re potentially making a deal with the devil. They control the rules and you are beholden to them and the changes they decide to make in the future. Your relationship with your fans is moderated by someone else.

In the developer community we worry a lot about building our software on top of someone else’s platform. We’ve seen Twitter take out competitors it didn’t like and restricting their API to control what developers can do. Perhaps it’s reckoning time for brands. Maybe they will experience the risk they’ve put themselves at by investing into social media on platforms they don’t control and that don’t have an established business model.

Let me be clear: I don’t think this will stop brands from using social media. However, it may be the first of many tiny cuts in Facebook’s business model which moderates how it will deal with brands. Some brands may decide to try to control their fans’ experience more and invest in their own domains. At the margin, there may be some increased demand for domain names. Which is good news for domainers and the first good news I’ve seen in a while for the industry. I think the longer term outlook is still fairly grim for most of the industry, but end user demand is the only bright spot in my mind.

08|17|2011 04:34 am EDT

Yahoo! Introduces PPC Limits for Parked Domains on Five TLDs [updated]

by Frank Michlick in Categories: PPC industry

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According to an email sent by domain parking company TrafficZ last night, Yahoo! has introduced a daily revenue cap for parked domains in the .biz, .co, .info, .tv and .us TLDs. If a domain exceeds the revenue cap, no more paid Yahoo! ads will be displayed on the domain for another three days.

Unfortunately the announcement does not reveal the revenue cap, which could potentially be determined on a per domain basis. I would expect the parking companies that are on a Yahoo! feed to either a) implement a backup feed for those TLDs or b) ensure that a backup feed is used once Yahoo! ceases to deliver ads for those domains.

[Update]: We now have a confirmation from Parked.com & WhyPark.com that this restriction was also imposed on their Yahoo! feed. Craig Rowe told DNN via email: “Yes, this is affecting our Yahoo feed as well, and all Yahoo domain match feeds.  In our case, when the capping kicks in, we backfill the domain with ads from second-tier feeds.  So, it’s not that a domain will make no money, but rather it’ll earn less from those ads.

[Update2]: TrafficZ sent another update on Aug 17, offering “TrafficZ clients with exceptional .INFO, .US, .TV, .BIZ and/or .CO domains” to submit those domains to their account team for further review. The email goes on to say that “where appropriate, TrafficZ will work with Yahoo! to have revenue cap limits raised or removed from qualified domains, regardless of TLD“.

See the full note mailed by TrafficZ after the jump.

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