""thought I'd share a non-serious rib at bonkerstwo and the targeting they're using on the domains they park.. I got a good laugh, thought you might like as well..
***FS*** We all have a few issues like this in our repertoire
""thought I'd share a non-serious rib at bonkerstwo and the targeting they're using on the domains they park.. I got a good laugh, thought you might like as well..
***FS*** We all have a few issues like this in our repertoire
Meanwhile back at the ranch...you may find this kinda interesting:
"Discovery Communications Inc., looking to jump-start a stalled Internet strategy, plans to acquire the HowStuffWorks.com Web site for $250 million. Discovery, owner of cable channels such as Discovery Channel and Animal Planet, said it will use the site as the cornerstone of an effort to bring its vast library of video content to the Web. HowStuffWorks.com is a closely held company whose owners include investor Carl Icahn. The purchase also includes a number of digital properties, such as a map database, owned by HowStuffWorks, which isn't yet profitable. The deal, set to be unveiled today, highlights how established media companies increasingly are expanding on the Web through targeted acquisitions instead of building their own sites, a strategy that largely has failed. Discovery's sites, which include online derivatives of its TV networks, have struggled to draw visitors..." Full story on WSJ:
***FS*** This buy makes Demand Media's eHow purchase look pretty clever. Similar mousetrap.
Josh sends link and comment:
Randy Falco, the chief executive of AOL, announced in an internal memo on Monday that the company would eliminate 2,000 of its 10,000 jobs over the next few months. Word of the layoffs has been kicking around for months. Mr.Falco, a former top NBC executive, is trying to streamline AOL¹s executive ranks. AOL has had a series of layoffs over the last few years, although these mainly have centered on customer service and operational employees.
"Painful" is how one AOL exec described the mood in an instant message to me today.
AOL has been struggling to find a new business to replace its rapidly declining Internet access service. It has tried to build AOL.com into a portal to take on Yahoo. That has allowed it to keep a hold on some defecting AOL members who want to continue to use AOL for e-mail and perhaps other services.
To make up for the loss, Mr. Falco has been buying companies in the advertising business like Tacoda to supplement AOL¹s Advertising.com unit.
We'll report more later. If you are at AOL, let us know what is happening and what you think about it by sending an e-mail to email@example.com.
Mr. Falco¹s e-mail to the staff is below.
""Dear AOL colleague,
Just over a year ago, AOL embarked on an incredibly complex and significant transformation as we fundamentally shifted our business model from a subscription-based ISP to an advertising-supported Web company.
Today, I want to give you an update on where we are in this transition, and talk about further actions we¹re taking and where we¹re headed as a company.
When I came to AOL, I knew we had to take several steps to complete our company¹s transformation.
We aggressively expanded our advertising capabilities, building on the strength of Advertising.com and our premium ad sales force. We acquired three leading-edge advertising companies ADTECH, Third Screen Media and TACODA and formed Platform-A. AOL now has one of the largest and most sophisticated ad networks in the world, and we¹re well positioned to compete where the ad market is heading.
We rebuilt and revitalized our key products, programming channels and platforms. And unique visitors to AOL.com, News, Food, Money & Finance, TMZ, Moviefone, MapQuest and many other sites are up. Our products are once again creating buzz in the market. And to reach the widest audience possible across the Web, we're unbundling our products and programming so users can take them along wherever they go online.
Importantly, we're taking the business global. We¹re extending AOL's reach into seven new countries this year while globalizing our product development efforts. By the end of next year, AOL will have a presence in 30 countries. That's a remarkable achievement in a relatively short period of time.
We refocused the business around three core areas Platform-A, Publishing and Access and are now managing these as three distinct but related components.
Here's why this is important. With Platform-A, we can offer advertisers the most advanced set of solutions across our extensive network of owned-and-operated sites and third-party sites. Publishing provides us the products, programming and platforms we need to sustain a healthy owned-and-operated network. And our Access business continues to be profitable, providing us cash flow to invest in other areas of the business, and it¹s an important source of primary e-mails and page views.
The last important piece in this transition is the realignment of our costs against these three businesses so we can operate as efficiently and effectively as possible. This is in many ways the most difficult step, but a necessary one.
As a part of this realignment, tomorrow we begin a reduction in force that will, over the next couple of months, affect a total of about 2,000 people out of our worldwide workforce of 10,000.
Everyone impacted by this reduction deserves our thanks and respect for their contributions to the company. We will aid these individuals in their transition to new opportunities as much as possible, most importantly with what we believe are generous severance packages.
This realignment will allow us to increase investment in high-growth areas of the company as an example, we added hundreds of people this year through acquisitions while scaling back in areas with less growth potential or those that aren¹t core to our business, as we did with the sale of Tegic. So where is this taking AOL? Put simply, my vision for AOL is to build the largest and most sophisticated global advertising network while we grow the size and engagement of our worldwide audience.
We¹re only a year and a month into our transformation, and the turnaround has been dramatic. We¹re now in a position to win as an advertising-supported business. We have a bright future as a company if we can execute on this vision.
***FS*** It feels like they're coming to the realization that development isn't all that it's cracked up to be and that they can do just as much or more with less people and more simplistic monetization. These guys and companies like them should be buying large domain portfolios or other media assets which can deliver larger numbers of organic traffic without large numbers of people. Perhaps a network of bloggers.. Buy Perez Hilton's blog or the less developed equivalent and give him an earn out.
"..And theres winners, and theres losers
But they aint no big deal
cuz the simple man baby pays for the thrills,
The bills and the pills that kill.."
--John Cougar Mellencamp
Miami’s economy was not swinging like just twelve months ago.. Lots and lots of empty homes and condos.. Lots and lots of foreclosures. There was a foreclosure convention running in the same hotel facility as the TRAFFIC conference and those foreclosure specialists were making money.
This new foreclosure dynamic is partly responsible for the global credit market flux we saw in August.. Why? Lenders took debts they couldn’t sell as stand-alones and grouped them with other loans.. Those packages of loans were resold as securities effectively hiding 'the bad' in a forest of other loans. When times were good and interest rates were at 1%, the market bought those ‘securities’ and discounted risk. When rates rose, some loans stopped performing and the securities that constitute them didn’t look so hot. The debt markets started to question the soundness of all similar securities and liquidity got scarce.
On the last night of TRAFFIC (or the last ‘morning’ depending on your definition of night) we went to a private party in South-beach.. We rolled past lots of new, darkened condo towers, many of them unfinished. When we got to the club we walked past the line at the front door.. I thought about the other would-be patrons standing in line.
There are several types of club goers. Those who dutifully wait in line, chatting with other pals and strangers to pass the time... those who try to buy their way through the back-door of the club and those who cut through the line by signing-up for "bottle service".
I learned about bottle service several years ago.. and thrilled to learn you can whisk through the line at hot clubs and secure a great table by calling in advance for a $350 - $900 bottle of liquor. Pay up-front and get ushered in like a baller. Prepay two or three bottles and bring your entire crew of ballers. The good tables are always taken by those with bottle-service... and there is always somebody bigger. I once had a friend buy a $350 bottle of champagne only to be evicted by a celeb ordering 6 bottles of $750 champagne.
Well, selling Internet traffic comes with a similar set of secret handshakes. Traffic is Traffic... I own domains and you own domains. Some of us sell our traffic through the front door (Google Adsense, TrafficZ or Domainsponsor main-page signup).. Some negotiate specialty deals which run directly through Yahoo, Google or Ask. Behind those curtains are differing revenue share percentages.. Big, high-quality traffic publishers can negotiate a greater percentage of gross revenue than small publishers with bad traffic.. That’s the way it should be I suppose.
The problem with life (and traffic for that matter) is that it isn’t always fair. Sometimes the nicest, most fun people have to wait in line at the club and sometimes worse traffic can get handled much better than 'the cream' - and than it deserves to be.
Just as sub-prime loans can be repackaged and sold for more money, sub-prime Internet traffic can be sent to traffic aggregators and parking co's where it hides in the forest with other good traffic, making the parking co look like a better traffic source than it is..
Consider Ask.com .. which has a deal to send traffic to Google and provides redistribution services to third party middlemen and optimizers.. Ask may not offer a "fire and forget" feed that any domainer can use out of the box, but because Ask’s feed is not Smart-priced, there is a huge opportunity and inefficiency for those who know how to handle it. Traffic can be sent to a parking co with an Ask deal, (where it subsequently flows to Google) skirting the Google smart-price filter that this same traffic would be subject to at the front door Google "Adsense for domain" (AFD) feed.
And like our nightclub where serious drinkers with open expense accounts and a penchant for tipping have to wait in line at the bar with those nursing a VOS; the good Internet traffic going through Google's Smart-price filter pays the freight for a lot of VOS drinking, sub-prime, backdoor syndication fluff.
This is just one inefficiency of many on the Internet of course.. The loopholes seem to get created faster than previous ones are closed.
Whether it’s Google providing access to different types of feeds to different parking co's or whether it's a volume lead buyer purchasing sign-ups from one parking co and not another; there are always differences which act as a backdoor, providing enhanced monetization to some traffic for no other reason than the fact that the loophole exists.
In the final analysis it is higher converting, quality traffic which pays the thrills, the bills, the pills that kill by underwriting the paid-search advertising market and accompanying loopholes. If you own 'that' traffic in the form of quality domains or quality subsyndication partners, you will be in a much better position if credit market style 'contagion' shake-out ever finds it's way to this industry.
Josh comments on Johnon.com/Michael Gilmour.. His thoughts posted raw and unfiltered.. except for heading, courtesy of me.. Smoke and mirrors never last tho .. Cream always rises, truth always finds a way to show.
""Domainer profit margins: Michael Gilmour of WhizzBangsBlog.com knows his business. He presented numbers (I love to see numbers) on Google's traffic acuisition costs and the percentage of ad revenue shared between Google, domainers, and parking companies.
Guess what? Google¹s share has gone down (-29%), domainer¹s have basically stayed the same (-3%), and parking companies revenues have increased around 45% (since Q4 2005).
Google¹s share has gone down (-29%), domainer¹s have basically stayed the same (-3%), and parking companies revenues have increased around 45% (since Q4 2005). I think you get my point. :)
Some very smart person or group of people is going to set up a transparent and very well run "parking" company that will disrupt the current situation in a significant way. My guess is this company will offer variances of parked pages, real mini-sites and Transparent Accounting to those who park their domains with them.
Lastly, this company will take a much lower revenue share than other parked companies, and domainers with Traffic will stampede towards them.""
***FS*** I'll go one better.. the parking company that acts as the disruptive conduit upsetting the apple cart rev-share will be domainer centric. I have watched so many parking co's come and go.. Many "get" this biz but many don't.. A significant percentage of present day domain parking co's play a combination game of "keepway", "watch the competition then react" and "I think I've got something really special that nobody else does.. but I'm wrong" All those games eventually blow away amid disruptive competitive actions.
Josh sends this one to think about:
Internet advertising grows at an 'astounding' rate
A new report reveals that online marketing is growing at an "astounding" rate.
According to figures from the Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB) and PricewaterhouseCoopers, online advertising spend in the UK increased by a massive 41.3 per cent year-on-year in the first half of this year, to £1.3billion.
The study also predicts that expenditure on online advertising could hit £2.75 billion by the end of 2007, suggesting that anyone who is not already engaged in internet marketing should get their skates on.
Online has now overtaken the size of the direct mail sector, with online classified ads growing by a particularly sharp 72 per cent to £277.7 million.
Internet display advertising, including banners and skyscraper ads, was up by 33 percent to £287 million, and paid-for search advertising was up by 44per cent to £762.3 million.
Paid-for search represents 57.1 per cent of the online total, with growth attributed to the fact that at least half of all online transactions begin with a search. Little wonder, then, that companies such as Google are raking in such massive profits.
The IAB has identified four key drivers for this phenomenal growth - the rapid growth of broadband internet connections; the migration of consumers to the online channel; the boom in social networking websites; and the increasing sophistication of measurement and web analytics.
Nicki Lynas of PricewaterhouseCoopers said: "The latest results for the first half of 2007 show that the UK's internet advertising industry continues to strengthen.
"The growth levels seen by the companies in the survey prove that advertisers are increasing their spend online at a rate that shows no signs of levelling out."
Lately I've noticed that the results at Google are not as good as they used to be. SEO experts have been getting better and better at breaking higher into Big G's search results with ad-only pages. At first I thought it was just me who noticed, then I read this: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2007/10/01/google_spam_infiltration/
All great Search utilities have ultimately succumbed to SEO pages.. Excite, AltaVista, Webcrawler.. The crushing weight of all comers wanting into the algo. It's hard to stop the tide.. Google has held the beach for a long time but the tide is beginning to turn.
This is ultimately good for domain names as a higher percentage of disenfranchised Google users opt out of the search-engine framework to simply type the domain name versions of their searches into the browser address bar. Even I've been typing more search query style domains lately and I've been pleasantly surprised by the higher quality of domain name pages and small websites than I saw just a few short years ago.
The evolution is palpable... to me anyway.
""Zillow- nope that's not it .. It's that they do not use "house values" as keyword copy.. That they don't match the other words ..That they use cutesy invented words like zestimate rather then plain english that explains what they do. I could fix this in a NY Minute- do it every day- took a long time to learn. That said, having a press release about knowing the value of your home and staying informed which is not branded zillow but goes to a generic url can get to the top as well and Zillow is irrelevant until they get to the page. Too many companies waste the limited word count that compels a click by talking about themselves and their buzz words rather than make an offer that a customer cares about.
Every Google listing should be a like a classified ad. They need to be rigged that way. It takes seo copy skill which is very different from all the metatags, text anchors and other techy things seo experts think matters more. I do this with PDF docs on a server that has no facing content. Has nothing to do with HTML.""
So I got to thinking about Google, Domains, Traffic, Zillow and companies like theirs. Companies which build wonderful platforms, which exert great collective energy to create a mousetrap, a service, a website.. Zillow has "the buzz" and "press zest" because the site was conjured up by Rich Barton, the former Microsoft executive who created Expedia.. That site became a big hit. I think Rich and his team will do it again with Zillow, but had they acquired a large bucket of generic real estate domain names for $50 or 100 million, they would have placed their company in a much stronger lifetime position. Why?.. because they would have made it harder for others to bid for traffic at Google, Yahoo and MSN. Why is that? It has to do with the traffic cycle and eco system.
There are only so many generic intent domain names with type-in traffic. Names like SarasotaRealEstate.com, HouseHunting.com or HomeAppraisal.com. Anyone can own these names and use them as they see fit. These names deliver high quality type-in-traffic which comes for the descriptive nature of the words which make up the name. Buy one of these names and you get 20 or 30 visits a day. Work to acquire 10,000 generic names like this and you sit on a gusher of 6million to 9million targeted unique visits a month!
In today's traffic ecosystem the majority of generic keyword style domain names are marshaled by hundreds of middlemen, parking companies, redistributors, subsyndicators etc.. and all this fancy plumbing leads domain name traffic back to the two dominant keyword marketplaces at Yahoo and Google where that traffic is sold to sites like Zillow on a per-click basis. Had Zillow bought "the cow" in the form of thousands of generic domain names, they upset that eco-system by removing supply from the marketplaces. Point SarasotaRealEstate.com to Zillow and that traffic is no longer available for Trulia to bid on at Yahoo.. You could argue that every time a high quality domain name gets sold and developed or redirected to another existing site that the price for the remaining traffic quietly goes up.
That is one of the reasons I babble about buying a generic defensible type in traffic domain name to compliment your brand. It reduces your lifetime traffic acquisition and marketing costs.
It isn't practical for every start-up to spend $50mm buying buckets of high quality domain names of course.. But if you were sure you had a hit on your hands and if you had the grand-master like foresight to think eight steps ahead of your peers, it would help seal your success and make it harder for others to follow in your wake if you did.
Clickfraud is a problem not so commonly found in pureplay direct navigation operations. What's interesting here is not the mention of click-fraud itself, but the whole: "delayed payment due to click-fraud" policy.. This sounds like something Ask.com have in their contract.
I've heard several folks consider Ask.com as a paid search provider but ultimately shy away under the onerous withholding and reassessment provisions of their initial (negotiable) draft contract for search-services. Not that these colleagues have issues with clickfraud.. quite to the contrary, these folks control traffic which converts up to 4 times as well as Google search traffic. It's just that it's not practical for quality business people (any business people really) to provide an open ended or long term return policy, there has to be a certainty (and finality) of payment.
If it is Ask.com playing the tune at this particular dance, then consider this example food chain as advertisers make their way to domain name pages..
--Advertisers pay agencies to run ad campaign
--Agencies buy ads at Google.
--Google Pays Ask.com to Distribute/Syndicate ads .. (Ask.com ads proprietary advertisers)
--Ask.com syndicates Google/Ask ads to Skenzo (other syndicators)
--Skenzo sub-syndicates Google/Ask offering to Traffic Club
--Traffic Club Pays Domain Name Owners
--Domain Owners are the workhorse generating traffic.
That's wayyy too many middle-men folks... The people who think this chain of intermediaries is going to last, are the same people who thought sub-prime lending problems would be "isolated" .. same type of illogical rationale.
While a recent update at Domain Name Wire quoting Skenzo's Div Turakhia (and some private comments)lead us to the conclusion that my chain hypothesis above isn't necessarily right, it doesn't change the fact that there are a lot of layers of companies 'improving' and 'optimizing' in this industry.
From a purist's viewpoint, the only people who bring value to the table in the equation above are the advertiser and the traffic generator.. One middleman providing optimization etc. is plenty of conduit to bring the two together. Expect less intermediaries this time in 2009 (mergers/consolidations).