Domainers Owning Google?


A couple well known domainers have recently started blogging. Rick Schwartz recently published his 10 commandments. Frank Schilling published how he thought domainers could unseat Google's power:

Even today someone could create a juggernaut like Google - and in several ways. I manage a large network of domain names, so I am going to show you how to do it with domain-names. Five colleagues of mine and I control more than 10 million unique visits a day. 10 million unique IP visits a day (300 million people each month) visit websites controlled by six human beings... and I'm the little guy on the pole.

Do domainers, with millions of daily type in visits, have enough leverage to move search?


Google and Yahoo make a

Google and Yahoo make a metric shitload of money off of the big domainers. With that much money being thrown about (and not letting us opt out of that process, btw), it's unrealistic to expect G and Y to do anything but continue swinging from the nuts of the big domain portfolio owners.

Seems we're reading a lot of the same blogs lately, Aaron...

The domainers certainly have

The domainers certainly have the pageviews - as described in that article. We have a few clients who routinely make upwards of £1m/year from their portfolios.

I don't claim to know the domain market...

But is a "meagre" 10 million uniques a day that much of a threat to Google?

Yep but that's just the "the

Yep but that's just the "the little guy on the pole.". There's plenty of people in the same game as him.

virtuous circle

>> Google and Yahoo both make a metric shitload of money off of the big domainers

yup. for domainers, owning a huge chunk of real estate doesn't mean a whole lot if you can't monetize it easily with an installed base of advertisers that someone else is willing to manage for you. and for advertising networks(google and yahoo), having a gigantic base of advertisers is increasingly valuable as you reach a broader audience.

maybe i'm being naive here, but i can't see why the relationship between advertising platforms and domainers would get antagonistic. people navigate different ways - some like using search, some type stuff directly into the address bar. as long as users enjoy the results that each navigation method yields, the advertising platforms and domainers both get paid, so i can't see either of them getting upset.

when frank says:

Before long, the wiki/domain world would be in a position to command its own advertisers, through its own platform.

that's where i start to disagree with him. the balance of power doesn't shift in that model, because the domainer / wiki model doesn't scale when you have to manage ad operations (ad sales, delivery, accounting) for each domain.

The way they allow domainers

The way they allow domainers to buy domains and keep them when they earn in excess of $12/year in clicks has to be fixed.

Economically, there is no reason for any reasonably semantic expiring domain to become available to the public. What interest does that serve?

Highlight the additional "power" that comes with it, and things only get worse.

>>excess of $12/year

Domainers don't pay more than $6.95 per year for a .COM. At that rate you only need $0.02 per day to break even. If it makes more - you keep it. Even if they let a domain drop it will be picked up by domain tasters (often many times) before it ends up available to the public - if ever.

Ready for the consolidation?

I'm expecting a lot of consolidation as domains get registered faster and faster, as the aftermarket gets more and more efficient, and has traffic aggregators begin to see that the traffic producers have more valuable than the producers themselves realize.

Though I've been critical of Yahoo in the past, they seem bent on developing communities around certain topics -- expect them to be big buyers of generic top-level domains.

Per the $12/yr argument...yeah, domainers don't pay near that, unless they want privitization. Take into account that more and more domainers are coughing up a few grand to become registrars for their portfolios and it just makes economic sense.

A person buying a domain and sitting on it for the future expected profits is no different than a person buying real estate for the same reason. The only thing holding back the domaining market is that it is largely segmented and fractured...a bunch of individuals with not too many reasons to help each other out; I expect that new agency to help a bit.

I'm sure...

domainers alone could pull it off 'in time', however if they banded together with some ISPs that are grabbing 404s these days they could do some SERIOUS damage.

But that would take quite a plan and unifying force of will to make it happen.

I'd think a 'whats in it for me' could be successfully managed if kept to a select few dozen entities.

I think it could move

I think it could move search, but I don't think it will. Google still has the advertisers lined up and will continue to offer the best ROI for many domainers (who want to set it and forget it).

I've noticed a ton of domainers on Google of late. A lot of fraudulent traffic being pushed through them as well. I wish Google would separate their domain traffic or atleast put it in the content network.

Economically, there is no

Economically, there is no reason for any reasonably semantic expiring domain to become available to the public. What interest does that serve?

This is the argument for domain auctions, at least then the public get a chance to buy these domains. At the moment the drop pool route is almost non-existent. As Nebraska indicates - the tasters can do it faster and don't even have to pay out on it.

Domain auctions will push up the cost of domains, making this practice less economically viable. At a minimum it will push domainers to better monetize the traffic (moving them towards richer content solutions).

Too much hype

I think there's too much hype on all of these domainer blogs. I think they're scared of something. Why would they bite the hand that feeds them? What would happen to "direct navigation" if no one used IE anymore? With Firefox, much of the "direct navigation" actually gets routed through Google. Plus, people are so used to using Google that they type a domain name into a search box instead of the address bar. IMHO, "direct navigation" is on the decline.

With regard to the distribution of PPC ads (both Google and Yahoo) to parked domains, what happens when enough advertisers fight "distribution fraud" and force G/Y to move these ads to a new network. Google's been reluctantly allowing the blocking of parked domains on the Search network.

I think the possible decline of "direct navigation" due to browser usage and user habit plus the specter of less PPC ad inventory available for parked domains has domainers a little worried. That's why they're trying to get organic traffic and are starting to actually develop domains. Gee, what a concept! ;-)

Quote: Per the $12/yr

Per the $12/yr argument...yeah, domainers don't pay near that, unless they want privitization.

No, silly. I wasn't suggesting a retail cost of $12 per domain.

I am not a domainer, but I estimate if I were, I'd look for $12/year per domain to keep it. That covers overhead of servers, development, keeping up with the registrars, and managing the accounting for 5-15k domains, assuming a per-domain registration costs around $6-7.

I doubt very much that $0.02/day breaks even under any scenario.

Still not $12

Okay, I understand where you are coming from, with the assumption that the domainer takes on the cost of servers, development, and registrar management (an often overlooked point), however...a lot of domainers don't deal with many of these costs -- they simply set the DNS to forward to their favorite parking companies, saving money on servers and development, only needing to really stay on top of registrar management, which counterintuitively gets easier if you have a few thousand domains at one registrar with a semi-dedicated account rep to take care of you.

$0.02/day per site when you do have thousands of sites can be enough, so long as you stay on top of your stats to find out which sites simply aren't performing. The best ones "should" be developed into real, brandable entities, but I suppose that is the discussion for another thread. I just don't want to see "domainers" lumped all together like "SEOs" get lumped together because we all still feel the burn from that.


Quote: $0.02/day per site

$0.02/day per site when you do have thousands of sites can be enough, so long as you stay on top of your stats to find out which sites simply aren't performing.

It may also be that I require significantly more revenue for my time than some of those $0.02/day domainers. And yes, that is a much, much broader discussion (the global commercialization of the Internet namespace separate from market-supported publishing).

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