Not Overly Critical of Parking Companies | DomainInvesting.com

Not Overly Critical of Parking Companies

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I’ve seen quite a bit of animosity towards parking companies, especially in light of Frank Schilling’s new venture, where domain owners are seeing a “pretty drastic” lift in revenue. Much of this vitriol is probably justified, especially from people who continue to earn a significant amount of money from parking.

From the perspective of someone who hasn’t ever focused on domain parking for income, I don’t think we all should be so hyper critical of parking companies.

Parking companies enabled regular domain owners to earn revenue from their unused (or under-used) domain names. They cut deals with upstream providers, tested and built thousands of landing pages, provided self-optimizing platforms allowing customers to do minimal work, and most always signed off on revenue checks once or twice a month. They may not have created the PPC model, but they brought it to the masses and still do.

In addition to this service, parking companies spent millions of dollars re-investing in the domain industry. They sponsored conferences and events where domain investors could meet others and they bought millions of dollars worth of domain names from domain investors. Revenue from parking services was reinvested into many different ventures, which still provide utility for domain owners.

Yes, there is a BIG issue of them working within a “black box,” not sharing how they calculate revenue share and other information with domain owners. Most are anything but transparent when it comes to their operations, and they likely take a very large cut of revenue from our domain assets.

However, most of us wouldn’t and couldn’t own the number of domain names we own without parking companies. On one hand, they’ve taken advantage of us and our domain names, but on the other hand, they provided a service we couldn’t provide for ourselves and have helped advance this business.

I have never done much parking, and I am sure if I did, I would be more critical of them. As a result, I appreciate what they have done for the business and what they will continue to do for those who don’t qualify for Frank’s service.


About The Author: Elliot Silver is an Internet entrepreneur and publisher of DomainInvesting.com. Elliot is also the founder and President of Top Notch Domains, LLC, a company that has sold seven figures worth of domain names in the last five years. Please read the DomainInvesting.com Terms of Use page for additional information about the publisher, website comment policy, disclosures, and conflicts of interest.


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Comments (43)

    Elevator

    Frank is the emergence of a new dimension in domain industry, that forced Google to action. This is the dawn of a new era. Cheers.

    May 22nd, 2011 at 11:21 am

    mixed

    Mixed on this topic but agree with Elliot some

    I don’t qualify for franks program. Rumor has it you need 1k min a month in ppc income just to be a qualified candidate

    In the meantime will continue to buy traffic names and direct navigation.

    Franks program is good for the old timers and massive traffic. Good for them. Not good for people with 10k unique visitors a month like myself.

    An extreme case is 75 cents a day to 30 bucks a day by rick as an example. Makes you wonder what hitfarm or parked is doing or Domainsponsor.

    Also don’t be shocked in 12 months or 18 months google will drop the payout imo and with frank. History shows they will, crush the parking companies, cut out parking companies and then what? Adsense and etc.

    Should be interesting to see.

    May 22nd, 2011 at 11:33 am

    Jay thompson

    How much did Oversee pay you to write this you little advertiser placating pimp?

    May 22nd, 2011 at 11:37 am

      Elliot Silver

      @ “Jay thompson”

      Funny enough, Oversee has never been an advertiser on my blog.

      Come to think of it, WhyPark and Trafficz are the only companies advertising parking services on my blog, and both of those companies have fairly limited placement.

      I am sure your comment was made in jest, but just to reiterate, I have never taken any money for writing a blog post, and I never would.

      BTW, I know who you are from your IP, so why use a pseudonym?

      May 22nd, 2011 at 11:42 am

    James Marshall

    I have a little experience in the domain parking world as I used to manage one of the domain parking companies. There are some good parking companies and there are some bad ones. All this talk about “Frank” and this super new system of his will stop in a few weeks, but more about that in a bit.

    There has been talk about how much money parking companies make off of the traffic of their customers. Let me clarify some of this.

    Both Yahoo and Google, today require any new publishers to make at least $1M in revenue a month. Now you can’t just go to Google and say I want to create a parking company and I’ll do $1M a month in 3 months, it doesn’t work that way. They want you to be doing that today, with the hopes that you will only go higher. This is why most people are required to use parking companies, adsense, or Google’s own parking platform.

    The revenue earned by each click is always kind of fun to explain, so let’s go.

    If you are a Google based parking company you have what is called a Google Tax, basically it’s 15% of the gross revenue. So let’s use an example of a $1.00 click. Google gets $0.15 off the top so you are left with $0.85. Then this parking company gets 70% revshare of this $0.85. So Google gets another $0.255, for a total $0.405. The parking company will receive $0.595, where the revshare paid to the customers vary from 30% to 95%, but the average was around 90% for us. So the customer would get $0.5355 and the parking company $0.0595 for the $1.00 click.

    If you are a Yahoo based parking company, they don’t have any Yahoo tax. On average most parking companies have at least an 80% revshare. So on a $1.00 click, Yahoo keeps $0.20, and the parking company would receive $0.80. Again I will use the 90% number as before, the customer receives $0.72 and the parking company keeps $.08.

    Big difference overall, which is why more parking companies have worked with Yahoo in the past, because the slice of the pie is bigger.

    I love when one of the first stories broke about Frank’s new system that he wasn’t going to accept error traffic or arbitrage players. Frank was one of the biggest arbitrage guys a few years ago. Overall, arbitrage if done correctly is very profitable and is very high quality and in most cases better quality that type in.

    Let’s look at the quality of domains that have moved. I won’t talk about anybody specifically, but adult domains that move from a Yahoo feed to a 1 click/AFD feed with Google, will make more money for the first 3 weeks. Adult traffic if you don’t know doesn’t convert very well. Which means when smart pricing kicks in, let’s see how many people are still saying that this new system is the Bomb. The way Google bans domains will actually shock some people who have never used Google before. Wait until somebody has a million dollar domain that gets banned, I can see the blogs now!

    A very good friend of mine yesterday was laughing about how some people are thinking that this system is the savior of the parking industry. Let’s get real. If Frank took a shit in the middle of the floor, some people would call it art and say how symmetrical it is and how it’s the most beautiful pile of shit they have ever seen. Sorry guys, Frank shit stinks just like everybody else.

    May 22nd, 2011 at 12:02 pm

      Elliot Silver

      @ James

      Have you ever seen Frank’s shit for yourself? I once heard about a guy who followed Frank into the restroom just so he could see if the rumor about it being symmetrical was true.

      May 22nd, 2011 at 12:09 pm

    Gnanes

    Hitfarm lost 2700 domains today. They all are going to lose more domains from big performers if they don’t offer better payouts.

    May 22nd, 2011 at 12:03 pm

    Gnanes

    Correction: 2700 domains from hitfarm was moved to InternetTraffic

    May 22nd, 2011 at 12:07 pm

    Francois

    Parking services helping domain services????

    After 6 years in the domaining word and having handle the advertising of top domain forums and news sites I can tell you parking services has not been spending ad dollars in domain sites (to help the domain community) except few ones and vert punctually, and at least until now this new service looks to be doing the same.

    May 22nd, 2011 at 12:11 pm

    James Marshall

    @ Elliot – Yes, I have seen his shit, it looks just like Kevin Ham’s shit. :)

    @Francois – You charge too much money, that’s why nobody advertises with you. I remember talking to a few years ago and laughing at how much you wanted for banner ads. And what happened to the article that Elliot wrote about domaining.com being for sale?

    @Gnanes – If you look at today, http://www.dailychanges.com/internettraffic.com/2011-05-22/#tab=out a large number of those domains that left hitfarm are already going back to hitfarm.

    Now somebody mentioned to me yesterday that a large number of the domains that were leaving hitfarm were actually registered at Kevin Ham’s nameview.com domain registrar. So maybe even Kevin has realized that Frank’s pile is bigger than his.

    May 22nd, 2011 at 12:22 pm

    Elliot Silver

    @ James

    I removed the Domaining.com post per request from Francois. He took down his for sale page.

    May 22nd, 2011 at 12:24 pm

    Francois

    @James

    I was talking in the name of all sites targetted to domainers, not only mine. Ask the owner od Dnforum, NamePros, … If what I say it’s false.

    Regarding rates compare with sites having at least the same traffic or more, not less.

    May 22nd, 2011 at 12:34 pm

    Joe

    I’m not talking about other parking companies, but, with regards to WhyPark, the company I’ve been using for 2 years for my domains, I can tell they are great! I know, parking revenue is low, most clicks produce between $0.05-$0.20, but why the hell should I complain when they provide me with free hosting, free bandwith and tons of automatic content that make all my domains look like minisites and all this FOR FREE!

    May 22nd, 2011 at 1:38 pm

    BullS

    Parking–replace the P with F, then you know what they do.

    May 22nd, 2011 at 2:30 pm

    fx

    james Marshall Is 100% right about google, yahoo, Hitfarm and smart pricing.

    some names r doing better with IT, some names r doing much worse. Every accnt is different and at the end of the day smart pricing will determine the rest

    May 22nd, 2011 at 3:02 pm

    theo

    Nowdays as a domainer you need to smart up to make cash.

    Sure i bet Frank and some others make a good cash with this setup…

    If you don’t have that traffic it’s no solution.
    And you really gotta wonder how long it will last anyways.

    When you are into domaining get used to ever fast changing landscape.

    You just started domaining ? Alot of other people got a huge headstart.. But it is not to late.

    Dedicate time see what works for you. Don’t think what the old boys are doing is the norm.

    There is tons of untapped veins to explore. Concentrate on the nicches. Have a vision and have patience…

    Just my 2 cents

    May 22nd, 2011 at 4:48 pm

    Uzoma

    Joe,

    Why should you complain?

    The way I see it, I use the rule of thumb with Domain Parkers, they are so tight with sharing money, and so opaque I’m willing to bet $100,000 with anybody that, for every 5cents they pay out they made $500 at the minimum. We are talking stupendous unfairness.

    If they will give you free hosting, and free tools, and free whatever, KNOW that they are making a killing off ‘o you. These people are not the altruistic type.

    May 22nd, 2011 at 5:18 pm

    Uzoma

    Elliot,

    There you go again with your milquetoast, an article so selfish and, actually borders on disingenuous.

    You do have both personal and business relationship with the accused, and you are utterly biased. Your defense is usually “hey I’m only interested in my narrow business interest, screw everybody else”, and that’s fine, but at least specify that in front, NOT in the back, after the damage has been done. The last time I posted here, it because of the same parking issue, I hope you recall it. You are not being helpful at all. I just don’t know how you got this popular blog.

    May 22nd, 2011 at 5:29 pm

    Elliot Silver

    @ Uzoma

    Of course I am biased. I am a professional domain investor and have relationships with parking companies and people that don’t do parking. I personally don’t do much parking (got $30 from Parked and $30 from WhyPark this month).

    I am honest about my business and feelings about various topics and write about how I feel. Whether it goes against how others feel or isn’t popular, that’s not my concern obviously.

    I do recall that Craig took care of your issue last time you posted here, although you did say that would be the last time you posted any comments on my blog.

    If you don’t wish to park your domain names because you think parking companies are screwing you, then you shouldn’t park them. I don’t like making pennies on my domain names with traffic, which is a primary motivation for my developing websites on them instead of parking.

    Nobody is forcing you to park your domain names.

    May 22nd, 2011 at 5:34 pm

    Uzoma

    I get it Elliot, thanks.

    May 22nd, 2011 at 5:57 pm

    domainers

    With all due respect and people who don’t know you too well

    which is a primary motivation for my developing websites on them instead of parking.

    While I agree with this now and your view points let’s admit couple things. Flipping domains got you where your at now and blog. Without flipping for a few years none of this would have happened probably.

    2. Just because you develope does not mean success.

    While you are big now and realizing factors, you wanted multiple revenue streams besides one thing. Wise idea imo now.

    But at the end of the day, flipping got you here and still a portion of your revenue stream. May not be as important now and you like developments now

    2 cent view.

    May 22nd, 2011 at 6:02 pm

    Elliot Silver

    @ domainer

    Yes, but what does that have to do with this post?

    May 22nd, 2011 at 6:07 pm

    domainers

    1. Just because you develope things does not guarantee success

    Took you many years to get where your at. A big chunk of money came from flipping. That’s all I’m saying.

    You didn’t develope on day one. People do both. People park. People do URL forwarding. Many options.

    A lot of years. Being a domainer is not easy.

    May 22nd, 2011 at 6:12 pm

    domainers

    In summary flipping got you big enough where you can think developments

    Also flipping is where the cash is at and will continue to be.

    May 22nd, 2011 at 6:14 pm

      Elliot Silver

      @ domainers

      Flipping did get me to where I am now, and it currently generates around 60% of my income. Advertising on my blog and other websites is the other 40%.

      May 22nd, 2011 at 6:39 pm

    Elliot Silver

    @ domainer

    I agree 100%. Point of this post is that despite having made virtually no money from parking, I think we shouldn’t be overly critical of them because

    1) They provide a service we couldn’t have on our own
    2) They have put money back in the industry in terms of sponsorships of events and advertisements.
    3) They have re-invested some of their profits with domain purchases

    I hate that they operate in a black box where there’s no transparency, but nobody forces anyone to park their names.

    May 22nd, 2011 at 6:15 pm

    domainers

    Agree with your comment. But when you mentioned developments and etc you made your money and took years.

    I didn’t want newer domainers think wow development is the way to go. It can be for some but we seen this “development” hype before and seo experts. But took you many years to build up. 4 years of flipping I believe and hard work by you. Now the past 4 years you been testing things and developments.

    Pure direct navigation is priceless. People flip. People build out. People have traffic. People want the freedom and ppc offers that.

    In regards to sponsors agree. People made a lot of money before the correction in late 07

    May 22nd, 2011 at 6:25 pm

    domainers

    Your in a good position Elliot! Congratulations!

    Fun times, challenging times and we always learn as we go.

    May 22nd, 2011 at 6:41 pm

    Dan

    Hi,

    @ James

    If your breakdown is all correct, and I am not doubting it…

    Why in the past 6 years or so, not one ‘parking’ company that I have ever seen or used…has posted on their website(s), this type of information?

    @ Elliot

    “Yes, there is a BIG issue of them working within a “black box,” not sharing how they calculate revenue share and other information with domain owners. Most are anything but transparent when it comes to their operations, and they likely take a very large cut of revenue from our domain assets.

    ***Agree with the above*** (‘d’)

    “However, most of us wouldn’t and couldn’t own the number of domain names we own without parking companies. On one hand, they’ve taken advantage of us and our domain names, but on the other hand, they provided a service we couldn’t provide for ourselves and have helped advance this business.”

    ___

    Just what business are they helping to “advance”?

    The domain industry as a whole for the long term?

    Or the just the ‘parking’ industry business… specifically?

    ___

    BTW: Everyone is so focus on getting the most money for each ‘click thru’ to their domain landing pages…does anyone ever consider such issues of:

    Did the person find or get what they were searching or looking for? thus making landing on your ‘parking’ page helpful and useful to them?

    Or, did the advertiser(s) just waste their money & the person(s) get no value at all by landing and clicking on an ad on you parking page?

    And you just go to the bank….without a care in the world.

    Should this be a consideration? just asking, maybe it should..maybe not.

    Or, Is it just about getting the most amount of money ‘per click’…and that’s it?

    That seems to be the case, as in 6 years…the only thing I have heard from anyone that had a domain ‘parked’ is were and how much money can I make from a ‘click thru’.

    Not saying that is a total bad thing… but it seems to me that:

    Parking companies only concern’s are making as much money off of other peoples property and assets with less ‘transparency’ than our government…and domainers are only concerned about receiving the highest payout ‘per click thru’..regardless of anything else.

    ___

    ” 2) They have put money back in the industry in terms of sponsorships of events and advertisements.”

    IMHO…domain parking companies should be the LAST people holding ‘domain name conferences’

    More on this later… as this is a “plague” I will be trying to find a solution to in the coming months…as it is a rather complicated and complex topic…maybe way over my head, but I will try and give it a shot.

    Thanks for the chance to post my thoughts Elliot, they are not a personally thing in anyway at all…so please do not take them that way.

    Peace To All,
    Dan

    BTW: After reading this post, I hope your not thinking…man, I wish that guy was right about the world coming to an end yesterday 😉

    May 22nd, 2011 at 8:58 pm

    Elliot Silver

    “Just what business are they helping to “advance”?”

    @ Dan

    I believe parking companies have spent a whole lot of money on conference sponsorships. In fact, I think the first real conference was known as “Deanfest” because it was sponsored/organized by Dean Shannon, founder of Fabulous. I wasn’t around back then so this is hearsay.

    In addition, the money the provided to domain owners allowed them to spend more and more on other domain names in the aftermarket. Things were far different then, but if it wasn’t for parking, many large sales wouldn’t have happened in the late 90s and 2000s.

    BTW, nothing personally taken here. I am glad people are sharing their opinions. It would be annoying if everyone came here and agreed with me.

    May 22nd, 2011 at 9:11 pm

    cool

    Elliott how many millions went into the pockets of traffic conferences over the years by parking businesses you think?

    Parking made a lot of money rich. Franks program will make the top players rich again.

    Rick I tend to disagree. He claims he never needed ppc income. Bs. would he walk away with porno.com ppc income of 750k a year during its peak. I highly doubt it

    May 22nd, 2011 at 9:24 pm

    Dan

    Hi Elliot,

    Your points are well taken on my part.

    As my 1st domain conference was” domainfest 2007.

    I remember a lot about it and did have a great time…but I think the the thing I remember the most, was when I was having a conversation with:

    Mike “Zappy” Zapolin ~ and he said then, we are only in the 2nd inning of a nine inning game, and it might just go ‘extra innings’

    After 4 years, I am not sure if we have made it to the 3rd inning.’ yet…so i think he is/was spot on.

    ____

    “It would be annoying if everyone came here and agreed with me.”

    If everyone agreed with me, it would not only be “annoying” …they might also be broke 😉

    Best as always,
    Dan

    May 22nd, 2011 at 9:26 pm

    Ron

    @James Marshall

    James could you please explain what “smart pricing” is and how it works? Thanks.

    May 23rd, 2011 at 12:22 am

    Tron

    Hello Elliot……actually there was no domain parking in the late 90’s and I still made my biggest sales back then.

    I think DirectNic was doing some internal PPC feed tests in about 1999, but none of the regular domain owners knew anything about it. Parking “emerged” around 2002, but it was still hush-hush and only a handful of what is now termed “domainers” were in on it.

    I’m still waiting on my stats from Frank, but if it turns out they were taking 40% to 50% for years now, I think that is a very good reason to be upset at the parking companies. I don’t really look at it as them having done me a “favor”….quite the contrary…..I did them a favor by having the product they needed to make cash……in turn they decided, apparently from what others are saying, to “launder” our great traffic with arbitrage traffic to make the overall cash pie bigger. Therefore they could make more overall by adding trash to quality. It sounds like either silent, or not so silent, collusion among the parking companies, otherwise one of them would have stepped in and did what Frank is now doing and steal all the traffic from the other parking companies.

    You ever notice how each parking company wants to know what you make at another parking company? That’s so they can pay that amount plus 5% more to keep you there. They never just pay you what it is worth, which could be, and is now shown to be, 40% or more for your quality traffic.

    May 23rd, 2011 at 8:44 am

    Tron

    Just thought of a great analogy:

    Cocaine arrives at your city one day. You instantly have street cocaine dealers selling 90% pure cocaine, then eventually one discovers that by adding baby aspirin to the cocaine they can make much more money overall now by selling more volume of the cut-up coke with the aspirin. Others catch on and suddenly everyone is doing it and making a load of cash.

    They now are making so much cash that they can invest in the “industry”. They throw parties, help anyone on their side, become friends with their coke addicts, build up their network and offerings, and payment plans, etc….. It matures into a slickly run industry.

    Everyone is loving it……except the cocaine user. He notices he does not get as high as he used to and it takes more and more coke (internet traffic) to get high now. More every month and year in fact. It NEVER gets better….even once. In fact, almost no amount of coke he buys will get him high like it did previously.

    Well one day, the biggest coke user, who happens to be flush with cash, decides he is sick of the low-quality coke on the streets and sees how he could take all the other dealer’s customers if he provides clean and pure coke. So he buys a few bricks of pure coke and starts to deliver the pure product. Coke users flock to him and are now very loyal and hate the old dealers for treating like unvalued, dispensable customers.

    All it took was one honest player to change the market with one simple move.

    It seems the true colors are now showing on those old coke dealers who are complaining to the boat operator that brings in the cocaine every morning. They are screaming at him to not allow the new guy to buy any coke b/c he is not cutting it with baby aspiring like the rest of them and it will hurt their pocketbook.

    May 23rd, 2011 at 9:10 am

    mixed

    @Tron lol good analogy

    I believe you need 1k a month to be a candidate

    Wish frank can say what the criteria is besides direct navigation traffic quality traffic

    May 23rd, 2011 at 9:26 am

    Kevin Ohashi

    @Tron: so you’re basically saying Frank Schilling = Frank Lucas.

    May 23rd, 2011 at 10:50 am

    Matt

    Poor parking companies — it’s pretty tough to maintain goodwill and demonstrate value to your customers through 2 years of plummeting earnings, irrespective of underlying causes.

    I think most parking companies would be thrilled to be able to operate in a more transparent manner: it would reduce the customer service burden, simplify sales, and improve brand perception. And it would demonstrate that vilifying parking companies for declining revenues is essentially a case of shooting the messenger. …The latter is perhaps part of the reason why they will never be allowed such freedoms by G/MS?

    Instead of beating the transparency horse, savvy customers (and bloggers 😉 could try pressuring their parking providers to take actions addressing the underlying cause of this and so many other problems. Ask them: what are you doing to reduce the domain parking industry’s dependence on a monopoly ad provider, so that in the future competition for quality domain traffic will ensure that we as an industry have alternatives to simply swallowing 0 transparency, 2 years of performance declines, arbitrary policy decisions, and whatever other tasty goodness is dished up in the future?

    May 23rd, 2011 at 1:20 pm

    J

    I agree with the general tone of your article but let’s not get carried away.

    “They cut deals with upstream providers, tested and built thousands of landing pages, provided self-optimizing platforms…”

    Has anyone ever seen an attractive lander at ANY parking company? Ever? My impression has always been that the money was so easy none of these companies were even trying. Fabulous has a *decent* system for creating landers, decent but only when compared to the others. It looks like most of these companies spent 5 minutes thinking of domain categories and used a 15 year-old clipart CD for their image library. A 13 yr old could do better with $200 and an iStockPhoto account.

    Honestly I’ve always thought and continue to believe they’re shooting themselves in the foot and leaving a lot of money on the table with their 1997 templates that create more bounces than if the domain didn’t resolve at all. Ok joking but… c’mon, the only reason these pages get clicks at all is b/c the visitor is trying to get away from them.

    “Self-optimizing” landers are the biggest joke ever. Hmm, 3 people clicked on it when it was blue/green, 1 when it was brown/orange… Blue/green converts better! Wow! Self-optimizing! LOFL. Have you ever looked at these “optimized” landers? How long does this optimization process take? A decade? Longer? If you want to get any click you’d better “de-optimize” that page quick.

    In short I don’t think of parking companies as evil co’s, just bad ones. It’s been easy money so far so they’ve been sitting on their hands for YEARS.

    May 23rd, 2011 at 3:53 pm

    dick

    @james marshall
    most domainers have had their domains on google already and know the domains that are banned there. Moving away from another G provider (oversee,fab,sedo) has show large gains from those I’ve heard from.

    May 24th, 2011 at 1:50 am

    dick

    @J
    have you seen the ever compared CTR and earnings on an attractive lander vs. a rudimentary 1997 template ?

    I’d suspect with the number of competitors in the field that ample tests have been done but the results may not be to your liking.

    May 24th, 2011 at 1:59 am

    SDM

    Here’s the downside of parking:

    The lack of meaningful “Site Visitor Value”. So long as parking business models are primarily about parking companies getting paid and domainers getting paid, there’s significant room for improvement.

    The development of “Site Visitor Centric” sites should represent the standard by which the validity of published websites are measured. If little is offered to the site visitor beyond a colorful header, text ads, and a search field that returns even more sponsored links, is it any wonder that both search engine companies and prospective site visitors are getting fed up?

    May 24th, 2011 at 4:56 pm

    E4W

    I’ve seen plenty of parked domains, but never really considered the value they bring to the domain industry. Thank you for pointing out those factors.

    June 7th, 2011 at 9:18 pm

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