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The Death of Domain Parking? 296

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the not-bloody-likely dept.
An anonymous reader found an article about the former CEO of MySpace moving into the domain parking biz. He says "I thought, it can't be that easy. So I talked to some domainers, and they said, 'We own 300,000 domains, we make $20 million a year, we have just four employees and some servers in the Caymans.'" The idea behind the business doesn't really seem any better to me than just having a parked name with a banner ad. At least, not for the internet as a whole.
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The Death of Domain Parking?

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  • by turnipsatemybaby (648996) on Wednesday January 24, 2007 @11:03AM (#17738370)
    Buy this comment for $20 a year!
    • by Divebus (860563) on Wednesday January 24, 2007 @04:16PM (#17743378)
      There has to be a way to neutralize these sites as the Internet is getting more useless every day. Legitimate people who try to register a site find their name is taken by someone just sitting on it and demanding $50,000 for the name. Here's a dangerous idea: cancel the domain registrations. Make a few simple rules, like any entity found to have more than 10 mobius loop sites like this will have all their registrations released and name servers de-listed (which would kill the ISP). We could get the Internet back in one afternoon. The dangerous part is that someone will need to decide what qualifies and what doesn't.
  • One can only hope. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SatanicPuppy (611928) * <`Satanicpuppy' `at' `gmail.com'> on Wednesday January 24, 2007 @11:05AM (#17738396) Journal
    Domain parking is just another form of internet garbage, like half-assed "portal" sites, and spam.

    It's only sense to know that there will forever be garbage, and that we will forever be looking for ways to sort through that garbage for the good stuff.

    Looking at it, you'd think that domain parking wouldn't be half as profitable as it is. We clearly need to work harder on our search engines.
    • by markhb (11721) on Wednesday January 24, 2007 @11:11AM (#17738498) Journal
      We clearly need to work harder on our search engines.

      Given that the real source of traffic for these sites has nothing to do with search engines (it comes from people typing stuff directly into the location bar of the browser), I doubt that that would be productive.
      • by AutopsyReport (856852) on Wednesday January 24, 2007 @12:08PM (#17739396)
        Actually, that's wrong. Earlier last year I launched a new website and a corresponding AdWords campaign to spread the word. When searching the name of my product, I get hundreds of hits from parked domains that are running AdSense containing my ad on it. Now, the first five pages of results are legitimate websites, and the remaining 10-15 are parked domains. It is incredible how many empty domains get drawn into these search results.

        Furthermore, most people search for websites rather than type them in the location bar because they usually don't know exactly what they're looking for. If parked domains only made their earnings from direct hits, I suspect it would not be nearly as profitable.
        • by dave562 (969951) on Wednesday January 24, 2007 @12:21PM (#17739624) Journal
          Furthermore, most people [who know how to use the internet] search for websites rather than type them in the location bar because they usually don't know exactly what they're looking for.

          I corrected your comment for you. I have seen numerous people who don't really understand what a web browser is who try to type what you and I would call search queries into the address bar. Parked domains and phishing sites target those users who simply don't know any better. Beyond that, there are parked domains with names similar to every single popular website on the internet. I seem to remember Craigslist.com being a porn site. The other day I was looking for "Curse Gaming" to download some WoW addons and sure enough, cursedgaming.net, cursegaming.net, cursedgaming.com, etc. all came up with webpages. Luckily Google is smart enough and by searching for "Cursed Gaming" I got "Curse Gaming" which is what I needed. Oddly enough, all those subtle iterations on the domain don't show up as results on Google.

          • by bennomatic (691188) on Wednesday January 24, 2007 @01:05PM (#17740324) Homepage
            Actually, I find it's often the opposite. People who DON'T know how to use the Internet search for web sites rather than typing them into the address bar. I don't know how many times I've had a conversation similar to this one:

            Me: OK, go to www.dimspace.com
            Them: OK, I'll search for that. I'm on Yahoo.
            Me: No, just type it into the location bar.
            Them: What? I'll search for it here. OK, which one is it? Should I click on the top link.
            Me: (resigned) Yeah, I guess... (mumble something underneath my breath about how cousins should not be allowed to marry)

            People get stuck in their ways. Heck, some people can't even accept that there are sites that don't begin with "www". Tell them to go to "mail.yahoo.com" and they'll go to "www.yahoo.com" and stare blankly at that over-crowded page searching for the "mail" link. As Ross Perot used to say, it's just sad.

            • by anagama (611277) <obamaisaneocon@nothingchanged.org> on Wednesday January 24, 2007 @01:15PM (#17740502) Homepage
              I know how to use the net. Heck, I was surfing with Lynx just last night. Anyway, I have largely stopped typing the name directly to url bar because every now and then, I make a typo. The search box is right up there by the url bar on all gui browsers anyway.
            • by dave562 (969951) on Wednesday January 24, 2007 @01:23PM (#17740622) Journal
              People get stuck in their ways. Heck, some people can't even accept that there are sites that don't begin with "www". Tell them to go to "mail.yahoo.com" and they'll go to "www.yahoo.com"

              Hahahahahaaaa. I run into that type of person quite frequently too. The young, ditzy, personal assistants often seem to fall into that category. "I went to the link you told me to go to and it isn't working. You know, www.mail....." , "No, LISTEN you stupid bitch! There is no fucking WWW." .... Sorry, had a flashback there.

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by naChoZ (61273)

              Me: OK, go to www.dimspace.com
              Them: OK, I'll search for that. I'm on Yahoo.

              Absolutely. But the funniest part is the way they say it. "I'm on Yahoo," with that subtle tone indicating they fully expect your next question to be wondering aloud what year they graduated from MIT.

        • by ErroneousBee (611028) <neil:neilhancock...co...uk> on Wednesday January 24, 2007 @12:30PM (#17739784) Homepage
          Ive just been looking for a bike. Decided Kona Cladera looked OK, of off to the maufacturer website for specs:

          Searching for "Kona Caldera" just pulls what appears to be an infinite number of shops

          http://www.kona.com/ [kona.com] - Hawian island.
          http://www.konabikes.com/ [konabikes.com] - parked, knows Kona are a cycle manufacturer and hosts loads on links, but none to Kona's site.
          http://www.konacycles.com/ [konacycles.com] - parked with adsense links of no specific type.

          Turns out its http://www.konaworld.com/ [konaworld.com] but the site is just a shop with no more details than other shops.

          And that, folks, is how parking works. It relies on all the chaff generated by online sellers causing searchers to try more direct methods of getting at the information.
          • by nostriluu (138310) on Wednesday January 24, 2007 @12:45PM (#17740002) Homepage
            This could get worse as the exploiters get smarter. They are automatically generating realistic web sites based on word associations, which will fool search engines and the public, much like spam content is picking up context.

            I had friends who had a non profit web site and they missed a renewal, the domain was immediately grabbed by porn spammers and they even used the site's original graphics. The generated site was probably entirely automated.

            With the money spammers are making, you have to wonder what they are doing behind the scenes to shore up their position. They are completely amoral as long as the money keeps rolling in.

            The web could become as useless as email. Soon we'll need a turing test for each letter typed.
      • by Shaper_pmp (825142) on Wednesday January 24, 2007 @12:43PM (#17739974)
        We clearly need to work harder on our new users.
    • by EggyToast (858951) on Wednesday January 24, 2007 @11:12AM (#17738516) Homepage
      Or remove the advertising incentives. They only make money because companies like Google and Yahoo pay them. To me, that's no different than the "aggregator" sites that are just links and news about asbestos.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Or maybe we should just make sure that our browsers are equipped with the best ad-blocking technology by default. Why isn't Adblock a part of Firefox? I realize that it's probably best for me that the lambda user doesn't know about ad-blocking as there is little incentive to develop anti-ad-blocking technology but it doesn't seem right to let people profit by polluting the net with garbage sites.
      • moolah (Score:3, Interesting)

        by zogger (617870)
        Mozilla makes money from google being their default search engine. Google makes money from ads. I doubt they want to actually include adblocker with it turned on. They have the extension, that is as far as they probably want to go.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Kelbear (870538)
        I don't think the parent should really be modded insightful. Making Firefox the ad-less browser makes fire-fox compatibility pointless at best, and damaging at worst for many websites that offer content or services for free if their revenue stream is ad-dependent.

        Advertisements aren't always a bad thing.

        I do have adblock installed, but I use blocking judiciously. I only block advertisers that are instrusive or obstructive. If the ads don't hassle me, I don't mind seeing the ad on the off-chance that it may
    • by RyoShin (610051) <tukaro@gPLANCKmail.com minus physicist> on Wednesday January 24, 2007 @11:29AM (#17738764) Homepage Journal
      I don't think it's the search engines that cause the visits so much; rarely, if ever, do I click a link from search results and get a parked domain. If I do, it's usually because the search engine has it indexed before, and the site has since been taken down and the domain bought by someone else.

      The way that domain parkers make their money is mainly through mistakes. For instance, if I buy reallykickasssite.com for a future project, a domain parker is going to come in and register reallykickasssite.net, reallykickasssite.org, and reallykickasssite.info in the hopes that my site will become popular and someone will accidentally type in the wrong TLD. Then there are ones that are mispellings, like foogle.com or yahooo.net or something.

      Hell, sometimes they don't even wait for you to register it. I've gone to do domain checks at GoDaddy for a domain I might want to use, decide to mull it over, and come back the next week to buy it only to find that some company got it and parked an ad site there. I have no idea how they know that I checked on it, but they somehow get it on a list and snap it up.

      What's worse, though, is that they hold on to these forever, so you can't just wait for their registration to expire. A domain is fairly cheap, so it's not a huge drain on them. And I know of no way to purchase it from them, either. If you have some sort of trademark or copyright, you could probably wrestle it from them through lawyers, but beyond that you're likely SOL.

      I've learned my lesson, though. If I ever get an idea for a domain, and check to see if it's open, I'm going to buy that domain if it is. It's only $8-$10, and if I decide I don't want it I just turn off auto-renew.

      GoDaddy has this thing where you pay $20, and when the domain becomes available they'll buy it for you and put it under your name. Has anyone tried this service and had it work? I have a sneaking suspicion that they are the ones doing the parking themselves (that's where I do most of my domain checks), and just trying to get another $10 out of you for the domain.
      • I've gone to do domain checks at GoDaddy for a domain I might want to use, decide to mull it over, and come back the next week to buy it only to find that some company got it and parked an ad site there. I have no idea how they know that I checked on it, but they somehow get it on a list and snap it up.

        I've heard of that before as well; it was down to the registrar. GoDaddy has just been added to my "do not use" list.

      • by Standmic (769361) on Wednesday January 24, 2007 @12:00PM (#17739292) Homepage
        Try this article, http://www.mikeindustries.com/blog/archive/2005/03 /how-to-snatch-an-expiring-domain/ [mikeindustries.com] from Mike Davidson (of Newsvine) on how he grabbed the Newsvine.com domain.
      • by trogdor8667 (817114) * on Wednesday January 24, 2007 @12:04PM (#17739342) Homepage
        I've read numerous articles that state that GoDaddy does register domains and park them, as you said. They make tons of money off of this, because they can then sell you the backorder service. For this reason, I have stopped using GoDaddy to search for available domain names. I use tucows domain search, or r4l.com and search there, then later register it on GoDaddy when I'm sure I want said domain.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Kuukai (865890)
          I'm not entirely familiar with this, but is there any per-site registration cost to them? If there is, someone should run a bot searching for random garbage string domains. At least it would take them work to sift through the crap, and I'm pretty sure that's incompatible with their business strategy.
          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by volsung (378)
            If you hold the domains for less than 5 days at a time, then you can do this for free (aside from a deposit). Ironically (given the subject of this thread) it is Bob Parsons, of GoDaddy, who explains the process: http://www.bobparsons.com/DomainKiting.html [bobparsons.com]
      • by hondo77 (324058)

        Hell, sometimes they don't even wait for you to register it. I've gone to do domain checks at GoDaddy for a domain I might want to use, decide to mull it over, and come back the next week to buy it only to find that some company got it and parked an ad site there. I have no idea how they know that I checked on it, but they somehow get it on a list and snap it up.

        Like you, I'm pretty sure GoDaddy is the one doing the parking. I do my domain searches with "whois" from the command line. As for whether thei

      • by microcars (708223) on Wednesday January 24, 2007 @12:22PM (#17739650) Homepage
        is a bit harder than you may realize

        GoDaddy has this thing where you pay $20, and when the domain becomes available they'll buy it for you and put it under your name. Has anyone tried this service and had it work?
        I have all my domains registered there and there was one that was expiring and ready to "drop" and I wanted it, so I registered to try to get it with GoDaddy.
        But I had also read the story (posted in a reply below somewhere) about how the whole business of getting "dropped" domains worked.

        Basically if the Registrar "drops" the domain from it's system, whoever happens to be there at the precise moment it "drops" can snag it.
        It's like being part of a hungry mob in a street and someone is throwing a piece of candy off a 10-story building.
        Your chances of getting it increase if you have Longer Arms, are Taller and have also brought as many other people acting on your behalf along as well to try to "catch" it.

        I ended up registering with several "Drop Catchers" and when the domain I wanted did drop...GoDaddy was NOT one of the "winners"
        however- one of the "Drop Catchers" I had registered with DID get it.
        however- more that one entity had registered for that domain with that "Drop Catcher" so it promptly went off to an auction.

        I dropped out when it went over $800, the name went to one of these guys in the Cayman Islands and will now and forever be one of those crappy place-holder on-page domains that you might happen upon if you clicked an old link to the website that used to be there.

      • by Chris Burke (6130)
        And I know of no way to purchase it from them, either.

        I had a domain name I used for my website, but I let it lapse. My domain registrar was the one who started parking it, and put up the usual generic portal/search engine. And, in the upper right hand corner of the site was an url that said "Buy this domain!" I clicked on the link, and the asking price for the domain had gone from $15 to $1000.

        That's right, one grand. Uh-huh. I think not. Fortunately it's just a personal website, not something I ru
      • by coldtone (98189)
        GoDaddy has this thing where you pay $20, and when the domain becomes available they'll buy it for you and put it under your name. Has anyone tried this service and had it work? I have a sneaking suspicion that they are the ones doing the parking themselves (that's where I do most of my domain checks), and just trying to get another $10 out of you for the domain.

        I have first hand experience with this. (I just got cl1p.com back).

        GoDaddy.com backorder does not work, and never will. This article here [mikeindustries.com] explains
      • by gozar (39392)

        Hell, sometimes they don't even wait for you to register it. I've gone to do domain checks at GoDaddy for a domain I might want to use, decide to mull it over, and come back the next week to buy it only to find that some company got it and parked an ad site there. I have no idea how they know that I checked on it, but they somehow get it on a list and snap it up.

        I remember when this hit Digg awhile back. What I understand is happening is that the request for the availability of a domain goes to all the d

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by JohnnyLocust (855742)
      Domain parking is just another form of internet garbage
      And MySpace isn't?
    • by un1xl0ser (575642) on Wednesday January 24, 2007 @11:34AM (#17738824)
      Assuming that:
      a) parked domains with advertisements/portals are detectable
      b) list of these sites could be easily kept up to date
      c) something that I haven't though of could be used to quickly determine if a domain was parked

      Then it would be a trivial plugin to rewrite common typos, and avoid these sites entirely. We can push the advertising somewhere else!
      • Then it would be a trivial plugin to rewrite common typos, and avoid these sites entirely. We can push the advertising somewhere else!

        yeah, subsidize the plug-in development and maitenence with advertising. Pop an interim page that says "You entered , we changed it to , but while we redirect you, why not check out these sites that sell "exmples".

        I'm kidding, of course.
  • by TheWoozle (984500) on Wednesday January 24, 2007 @11:14AM (#17738534)
    FTFA:
    If you can make that much doing nothing, what if we added some Web 2.0 sprinkle...

    I've now found a great metaphor for all this "Web 2.0" nonsense: urine.

    Web 2.0 is people pissing on the Internet!
  • by illegalcortex (1007791) on Wednesday January 24, 2007 @11:15AM (#17738542)
    You know, something putting things in bold is a visually pleasing way of drawing more attention to topic sentences so people can skim instead of reading the whole article. But when you do it too much it just look like crap.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by truthsearch (249536)
      He's doing it for the SEO. Bold words help pages rank higher in google for those keywords.
  • The change (Score:5, Funny)

    by Billosaur (927319) * <wgrother@OOOopto ... inus threevowels> on Wednesday January 24, 2007 @11:15AM (#17738556) Journal

    The change is going to be that the Internet is going to finally resemble a Möbius loop, where once you click on one content link and keep clicking, you will eventually wind up back where you started. People will be trapped in infinite loops of marketing and commerce will collapse because no one will actually be able to buy anything, because they can't break out of the loop.

  • by kv9 (697238)
    all of that emphasis is hurting my eyes!
  • by russ1337 (938915) on Wednesday January 24, 2007 @11:20AM (#17738642)
    I've 'parked' the following domains for some time. Call it cyber squatting or whatever, but when a company comes along with these names, i'll be laughing all the way to the bank!!

    www.XFmq1yw1pC3.com
    www.QtEQpK1jGnm.com
    www.BqLJJNJq6vL.com
    www.bbyja3OWEVW.com
    www.iQ7aE0YSTl8.com
    www.tV56pze3idd.com

    and i've got all the .biz, .info, .org etc too. so don't think you can steal my idea!
  • by inviolet (797804) <slashdot.ideasmatter@org> on Wednesday January 24, 2007 @11:21AM (#17738646) Journal
    'We own 300,000 domains, we make $20 million a year, we have just four employees and some servers in the Caymans.'

    If that truly is the economics of the situation, then it is necessarily temporary. The market always adjusts when the opportunity arises to carry off so much wealth for so little actual effort.

    Perhaps the adjustment will come in the form of higher DNS fees, since the 'business' in question is so heavily relying on DNS services.

    Perhaps the adjustment will come in the form of higher domain-name registration fees, once the authorities fully grasp the nature of the free-riding involved.

    Perhaps the profit per wayward surfer will drop as the sponsoring sites gradually pay less and less per click.

    Or if this is truly a market failure, then watch for new legislation. (Not that past legislation bothered to wait for a justifying market failure to arise; indeed, the legislature is always willing, and a market failure is just what it needs to explain actions it wanted to take anyway.)

    • I think paragraph four has the most pop to curb this business. However, what I want to know is if these parking services are driving business to PPC sites, then they are in fact generating revenue for the parker and the payee, so everyone wins, 'cept perhaps the hapless user.

      But if the parked or typo squatted domain actually leads me to information that is relative to my "search", then I win too.

      The market dynamics made this happen and it is unlikely to change until all the possible domains are parke
    • by Solandri (704621) on Wednesday January 24, 2007 @12:08PM (#17739398)
      'We own 300,000 domains, we make $20 million a year, we have just four employees and some servers in the Caymans.'

      If that truly is the economics of the situation, then it is necessarily temporary. The market always adjusts when the opportunity arises to carry off so much wealth for so little actual effort.

      A friend of mine does this. There is no market economics involved because domain names are monopolies. If you own a domain name, nobody else does. If someone wishes to advertise on it, they have to pay your terms for it. If someone wishes to buy it, they have to pay whatever price you set for it. It's actually a lot like real estate, except most of the land got bought up by a few hundred individuals when the price was $10 a lot.

      Perhaps the adjustment will come in the form of higher DNS fees, since the 'business' in question is so heavily relying on DNS services.
      Do that and you 1) kill off most of the web, 2) make multi-millionaires out of whoever runs DNS. Everything relies on DNS.

      Perhaps the adjustment will come in the form of higher domain-name registration fees, once the authorities fully grasp the nature of the free-riding involved.
      Domain registrars are in a similar business. They offer to make trivial changes in a database for you for an annual fee. Increasing the registration fees just transfers money from the parkers/squatters to the registrars. Increasing the fees registrars pay just transfers money to Network Solutions.

      Perhaps the profit per wayward surfer will drop as the sponsoring sites gradually pay less and less per click.
      The amounts sponsoring sites pay per click will depend on how many sales they get per click. It has nothing to do with whether or not the domain is being parked/squatted.

      Or if this is truly a market failure, then watch for new legislation. (Not that past legislation bothered to wait for a justifying market failure to arise; indeed, the legislature is always willing, and a market failure is just what it needs to explain actions it wanted to take anyway.)
      Like I said, there is no market economics in this. It's a side effect of the artificial (but necessary) monopoly created with the concept that a person or corporation can "own" a domain name. The only way to avoid it would be for a central authority or government agency to go through domain-name-space and regularly "clean up" any domains that were obviously just being parked for clickthroughs.

      The one idea I've thought of which could prevent this is to make it progressively more expensive to own more domain names. e.g. The first 10 domain names are $10/yr each. Domain names 11-50 are $100/yr each. Domains 50-100 are $1,000/yr each. And so on. There really is no need for any one person to own more than a dozen or two dozen domain names, at least without good financial incentive. True you could set up a sprawling network of shell corporations and paid underlings, but the paperwork necessary to maintain them would quickly become overwhelming without incurring additional costs.

      • Make domain names non-transferable. That'd kill domain squatting dead.

        Of course, the registrars make money from the squatting, so they'd never do it.
  • by NerveGas (168686) on Wednesday January 24, 2007 @11:21AM (#17738650)

        At my company, we have a couple of hundred domain names that we don't currently use. We're not cyber-squatting, we are going to use them at some point in the future - but development time is always in short supply.

        In any event, without even trying to sell them, we occasionally have people offer us money for a domain that we have. Sometimes it's a few hundred bucks, sometimes it's more. Just this week we agreed to sell one for $6500. If we were to make a full-time business out of it, I'm sure we could make a good bit of money.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Hoi Polloi (522990)
      So why are you selling them if you really had plans for them in the first place? Sounds like you never really needed them.
  • by Thaelon (250687) on Wednesday January 24, 2007 @11:21AM (#17738662)
    Article title: "The death of domain parking?"
    Article body: "unrelated information"

    Article comes free with idiotic terms like "domainers" (not a word) when what they mean is "squatter".

    It's just a euphemism. Anybody with a brain will see right though it. It's no better than calling URL spammers "search engine optimizers".
    • by Junior J. Junior III (192702) on Wednesday January 24, 2007 @11:48AM (#17739036) Homepage
      It's not really squatting, though, is it? In real estate, squatting means living on property that you don't own, without the owner's knowledge/consent, because the property is effectively abandoned and neglected.

      This is more like real estate speculation. Buying a parcel of land, and then sitting on it to assert ownership rights, while not developing it and waiting along for someone who wants to buy it from you so that they can use it. Speculating is a lot less unsavory-sounding than squatting.
  • Translation (Score:3, Informative)

    by BCoates (512464) on Wednesday January 24, 2007 @11:22AM (#17738672)
    Firstly, the randomly scattered bold text is a pretty big hint that this article is advertising copy designed to impress the very, very stupid.

    Cutting through the "let's promote lame advertising models" rah-rah, it looks like the idea here is to assume people typing a random keyword into their address bar are searching for a forum and/or wiki on a topic. So these folks want to create some sort of ur-forum (that is, they want to reinvent a modern usenet) and figure buying up a bunch of idle domain names to advertise it is a good starting point.

    This would pretty much be the "death of domain parking" at least in the form of a sell-off-the-assets exit strategy. I have no idea why they would buy any domain that wasn't an obvious word or term, though, so if you're holding on to that hot "ilemonstore2003.cx" property you're probably out of luck.

  • by blueZ3 (744446) on Wednesday January 24, 2007 @11:23AM (#17738696) Homepage
    I'm sure I'm not the only one who remembers back when Google results were essentially free of this type of nonsense. Even a very broad search would generally return useful results. For instance, searching for "toy firetruck" would return links to toy stores and antique toy dealers on the first few pages. Quality search results were the driving factor in switching from some other search engine to Google.

    These days, however, results from a broad search usually return five or six pages of aggregators, domain parkers, and other foolishness. It's gotten to the point where I feel like if I don't have four or five search terms, it's not worth the effort of paging through the first six screens of useless results to get sort out the wheat from the chaf.

    For the moment, with most web advertising operating on a pay-per-view or pay-per-click basis, people creating aggregators and parking domains are making money. I'm hopeful that as advertisers become more interested in tying views or clicks to actual sales, the incentive for putting this kind of useless fluff on the net will decrease. Of course, we'll still have not-so-net-savvy surfers who might click links on a parked page and then buy something. But if the intermediate pages led to useful information, they wouldn't be so annoying, would they?

    Eventually, my bet is that there won't be enough profit in advertising to make domain parking worthwhile. May that day come soon.
    • Did you actually read the article? Did ya? No, you didn't. The trick is not about manipulating search engines. It's about leveraging random addresses, typo squatting, etc, entered into the address bar and the resulting page results in PPC links. So taking your search example, a user would type in "http://www.toyfiretruck.com" and end up at a domain park that perhaps had some relevant content about toy firetrucks. Oh, and PPC linksThat is a very different model.
  • Domain names are an artifically scarce commodity. Extra toplevel domains like ".biz", ".xxx" etc (".etc"?) don't really help, as most people can't remember the toplevel extension to the domain name they remember, assuming it's ".com" and going (googling) from there, unless tricked astray.

    The real solution is to move from misleadingly narrow UR L s, locators of the precise info resource, to the UR N s, names like "Nabisco" means "biscuits" in the real world. Trademark means competing suppliers of the same pr
    • You're right. We should all stop trying to remember domain names and just search [googol.com] for the sites we're looking for.
    • The real solution is to move from misleadingly narrow UR L s, locators of the precise info resource, to the UR N s

      This isn't a solution. Whilest a URN uniquely identifies a resource, it doesn't tell you where to _find_ that resource, so it is pretty useless for a system like the world wide web.

      For example, you can form a URN out of a book's ISBN number, but that doesn't tell you where to find information about that book (e.g. the publisher's website) - it only tells you which book to look for once you have
      • by Doc Ruby (173196)
        Just like a URL alone is useless without an infosystem like the Web to use it in, so is a URN useless on its own. The purpose of a URN infosystem is to return URLs. Either interactively to disambiguate, or several for redundancy, or other solutions to other problems the limited URL creates in its limited solution.

        The ISBN is used with infosystems like bookseller or libarary databases to return the equivalents of URLs to find instances of the book, among other info about the class of copies of that book.

        A UR
  • Google does evil (Score:5, Insightful)

    by wytcld (179112) on Wednesday January 24, 2007 @11:25AM (#17738714) Homepage
    A professional society I belong to has just gone to set up a website, and discovered that its acronym is being squatted on by a "domainer" - no content at all there except for Google ad links to misc. stuff not even related to the acronym.

    We have hundreds of thousands of domain names that could effectively and efficiently be used by real organizations as the most direct and obvious addresses to connect with them, but are instead being subsidized by Google to effectively obfuscate the Net. This means that if you really want to find a firm's or organization's site, you increasingly have to use Google to find the domain name they've settled for, since the obvious ones are taken up by these Google-subsidized squatters.

    Google does evil here, and for their own ends. It would be simple for them to set standards as to where their ad links can be placed, and put this whole lecherous horde out of business, freeing up the domain name system to work according to its original design. What are the odds Google'll ever even consider this? Slim to none, because Google does evil. They're stinking rich, but they just want more, by any means, even when those means degrade the quality of much of the Web.
    • BS (Score:5, Insightful)

      by geekoid (135745) <`moc.oohay' `ta' `dnaltropnidad'> on Wednesday January 24, 2007 @11:29AM (#17738766) Homepage Journal
      If I see a piece of land, and think "McDonalds will want to put a franchise here." and then buy it, I'm a forward thinking business man. If I do the same thing on the internet, suddenly I'm some sort of 'bad' guy.

      It's just people making money by thinking ahead.

      No, I am not one of these people, but wish I had gotten in when I thought to do it in the 90s. I could use 20million a year with less then 3 million in expenses.
      damn.
      • by Todd Knarr (15451) *

        A lot of those parked domains, though, are the equivalent of thinking "McDonalds will want to put a franchise here.", buying the land and putting up a "McRonalds" building with a pair of yellow arches suspiciously reminiscent of the ones used by aforementioned burger chain in the hopes that people looking for McDonalds will fail to notice the slight difference in spelling and show up at your place instead.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by llZENll (545605)
        It's totally different. Land is tangible and limited. Domain names are not. Land only has value because of other land around it, except for minerals and such, but all of that land is gone anyways. Domain names have intrinsic value. And finally and most important, land is TAXED, domain names are not.
      • by Comboman (895500) on Wednesday January 24, 2007 @12:36PM (#17739888)
        If I see a piece of land, and think "McDonalds will want to put a franchise here." and then buy it, I'm a forward thinking business man.

        No, you're a real-estate speculator not a business man. Businessmen create and run businesses, generate employment for others, service their customers and stimulate the economy. Real-estate speculators, currency traders, domain squatters, ticket scalpers and people who sell PS3s on eBay are just ignorant jerks who are gaming the system to enrich themselves while providing no useful service.

        • by null etc. (524767)
          Yes, you are right. This country would be better off with no speculators whatsoever.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          Real estate speculation employs capital, albeit in small amounts. Every speculator buys from a seller, and the seller receives capital that can be invested elsewhere. The speculator is assuming risk and providing liquidity (which can be a big issue for real estate owners). Speculators in other areas are essentially providing the same function, despite our distaste for them.

          Domain squatters are not in the same league. They do not add much liquidity to the market, because their investment is so low that it is
      • Re:BS (Score:4, Insightful)

        by cdrguru (88047) on Wednesday January 24, 2007 @12:39PM (#17739910) Homepage
        No, the problem is that Google enables these people to make a return on their "investment". If you buy some land in the hopes of selling it at a premium about all you can do is something constructive with it while you are waiting.

        Instead, what Google has enabled is to turn this wasteland into a money-making opportunity for these folks. Take away the ability to put ads in this space and it will dry up overnight.
        • by bhsx (458600)

          If you buy some land in the hopes of selling it at a premium about all you can do is something constructive with it while you are waiting.
          You mean like put up some cheap billboards on the land right?
      • Nonsense (Score:3, Insightful)

        by amyhughes (569088)
        You don't understand what's being discussed. As a "domainer" you didn't buy the lot to later sell it to McDonalds, you bought the lot so McDonalds can't. You put billboards up, instead. That's even less useful than McDonalds.
    • by Antique Geekmeister (740220) on Wednesday January 24, 2007 @12:42PM (#17739956)
      This is hardly a Google problem. It's ICANN, and specifically Verisign for selling huge numbers of domains so cheaply, and making it so very difficult for a legitimate user to protect themselves or recover from a domain squatter. They also deliberately leave it very awkward to track the domains back to the squatters, making blacklists or automatic filters quite difficult to construct or keep up to date.
  • by Bazzargh (39195) on Wednesday January 24, 2007 @12:11PM (#17739432)
    I for one welcome our new domain squatting masters.

    No, really, I do. The consolidation of the domain squatting market makes it possible to do interesting stuff like NEVER go to their sites - eg a firefox plugin to check who's behind 'direct navigation' site names and, if its a squatter, take me to google instead. (I love how they say direct navigation like its something that users just started doing, that they might patent)
  • When I read the subject of this I got excited. I thought maybe, just maybe there were going to be some rules set about how long you can park a domain for -- making it more of a hastle for scammers and squaters to just sit on domains with nothing more than an ad on the site... I'm normally not one to opt for control, but if I can go out and buy just about every mispelling of microsoft or google or whatever possible and sit on them or even have them forward to my site, well that just seems crazy. and if you'r
  • by a_karbon_devel_005 (733886) on Wednesday January 24, 2007 @12:23PM (#17739662)
    The essence of the article is:
    If you can make that much doing nothing, what if we added some Web 2.0 sprinkle...
    Some idiot decides that someone doing something simple that makes a lot of money could be better with some buzzwords. Total pointy hat management.

    What he fails to see, of course, is that the profitability of domain parking was never in the "quality" of the appearence of the parked domain, but it was gotten by virtue of being the first people to snap up the most domains.

    As mentioned in the article, most "domain parking companies" aren't grown, they're bought from companies that own domains already and then slowly added to by using automated tools to snatch up new good domains.

    How is this article /. quality?
  • by karl.auerbach (157250) on Wednesday January 24, 2007 @02:06PM (#17741294) Homepage
    ICANN is subsidizing this garbage industry to the tune of about $300,000,000 to $500,000,000 per year - yes every year - out of our pockets.

    This is because the "domainers" get free domain name registration tryouts while the rest of us are forced to pay a ICANN-fiat "registry fee" of about $7 per name per year.

    The ratio of our full-time registrations to these freeebies is about 1:200. In other words, each of our paid domains is paying the costs for 200 of these "domainers".

    ICANN allows this, but it never really was presented to the board of directors for approval (I know, I was on the board at the time). ICANN should stop it and make the registry-fee match the actual costs that Verisign and PIR and others incurr to handle the back-room registry function - a fee that, rather than ICANN's $7 probably ought to be about $0.02 per year - a savings for you and me of more than $300,000,000 per year, every year.
  • by miller60 (554835) on Wednesday January 24, 2007 @02:48PM (#17742004) Homepage
    Rosenblatt's company, Demand Media, is the best illustration of how the domain business is changing. Domain parking used to be dominated by a fairly small community of "domainers," who bought up one-word or two-word domains, filled them with ads, and made money off type-in traffic and misspellings. That all changed in early 2005 when a public company, Marchex, paid $165 million to buy a huge portfolio of names from a Hong Kong domain speculator. Suddenly everyone wanted to be a domainer and make millions. Sales of new domains surged, and resale prices rose.

    But soon Google and Yahoo, who provide most of the ads on parked sites, found that click-throughs from parked pages often didn't lead to sales, and many advertisers didn't want to buy AdWords and then have them show up on these sites with no content. Some of the largest parking services began switching to a pay-per-action business model [netcraft.com], instead of pay-per-click.

    Meanwhile, venture capital firms started pumping money into the sector, buying up registrars (like Demand Media's deals for eNom and BulkRegister [domainworks.biz]) and large domain portfolios. Vector Capital bought Register.com, and Perot has a piece of Internet REIT. The VCs and Wall Street investors prefer to monetize their domains with developed web sites instead of parked pages. Many of them are using free user generated content to populate these sites with articles and forums linked to their target keywords. Google likes these sites better, and they appear to get more relevant traffic and click-throughs.

    But there will always be plenty of smaller operators with thousands of single-page ad-filled parked domains. The low price of domains means there's virtually no barrier for entry into this business, and that's not likely to change anytime soon.

  • by ragingmime (636249) <ragingmime @ y a h oo.com> on Wednesday January 24, 2007 @08:30PM (#17746532) Homepage
    That's when the lightning bolt hit me: You'd have a company that generates its own traffic, generates its own content, and monetizes itself. It would be the perfect lazy-man's media company!"

    In consideration of having your work posted on the Site for any period of time, You grant eHow a perpetual, worldwide, irrevocable, royalty-free, non-exclusive license to use, reproduce, modify, transmit, distribute, publicly perform and display, and create derivative works of the Content, in any form, media, or technology now known or later developed, to make, have made, import, and sell the Content, and to sublicense all of the foregoing rights (including the right to grant further such sublicenses)."

    So he sees social networking not as a way to give users voices or a place to share ideas, but as a way to monetize them and to get users to generate free content. People aren't going to use a site that treats its users like free content machines and not people, especially not when there are sites like Blogger and Livejournal that give users control over their content and don't post ads. Even the ad-filled Facebook always makes sure to keep users informed, respond to feedback, and keep the ads to a reasonable level. If you don't respect your users, they'll quickly find someplace else to go.

    Also, why in the world do we need another social networking site? There have been tons of competitors to MySpace and Facebook, and none of them have really caught on. Remember that this guy didn't develop MySpace; he just found a way to make lots of money by selling it.

    The arrogance of this guy's plan to get users to do the work for him while he makes bundles of money is astounding, and I don't think that people will stand for it.

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