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June 27, 2007



It will be interesting to see how they scale it. The problem is that one site like that looks good, but will make less money than a parked page filled with ads (JMO) until it gets indexed as the place to go for Doctors in NY, but 5000 or 50000 of them turn into search spam and never get listed. That is the problem with search engines, they always seem to look for something that is original, something that is unique, something that brings something to the table. It is like the MFA sites, or the parking providers that pull down wikipedia content in hopes of getting indexed. It works at first, but the problem is when you scale something like that out the search engines can see the pattern.

***FS*** Well said.. but those sites are much easier to arbitrage.. and Jordan rohan's report intimates a lot of arbitrage.. that arb could start to work for them with this high(er) quality openlist content:http://frankschilling.typepad.com/my_weblog/files/marchex.pdf


Nice article, this should be step 1 in there plan, step 2 would be identifying there top 20 sites and building robust portals (debts.com, remodeling.com, refinancing.com) these sites could individually be 10-20+ million revenue businesses.

That is really the beauty of the biz model..they own the prime real estate, kind of like owning a square mile of manhattan, first you add the infrastructure, now you can build the skyline...

I wish these articles would not focus on the typos names such as the amazo site mentioned, I think in the next 2 years these will soon disapear, the real story is in the legit biz sites that they own.

Great work as always, the blog provides great inspiration


I think the above comment refers to Google, for the most part. There are other lesser (for now) search engines that may see such sites valuable. And in fact, if many users start landing on these pages and find them of quality and the sites get independent referrals Google will be on the alert. If users like the sites, they will be serp'd if history offers any insight.

However, this business model is a lot more vulnerable than direct navigation as it relies on an outside traffic source. And you never know when that traffic may completely disappear. It does look like they are working along the search engine guidelines according to the robots.txt in place. This bodes very well.

Paul Sloan

Come clean, Franky, how many shares do you own? :)


It may be the future, but other companies have no clue what to do with local.

We've talked to quite a few of the parking companies, and most of them responded with a 'huh?' The idea that the search box on the site (especially geodomains) could be used for actual search results, instead of just PPC (and thus bringing true value into the equation) seems to be a completely foreign concept.

I've been a big believer in local (and thus geodomains), but parking companies are still at step 1 at unlocking their value. I would peg Marchex waaaay ahead of the curve - buying OpenList itself was a fantastic move, and now pushing it on all these domains is brilliant.

Rob Sequin

No bump in the stock price yet. Maybe we are the only ones who care? Then again, aren't we the only ones buying Marchex?

I bought 500 shares a few weeks ago. Hoping for a little bump today but maybe the news will take a few days (or quarters) to sink in.


frank! take a look at this new iPhone video... you'll notice that when you're typing in URLs, Apple has added an automatic .COM button so you can type your URL faster... a nice little added value for domainers. :)



The one problem I see with this local network is the "reviews" component. In a perfect world reviews are genuine and honest. However, anyone who has done a review site will tell you how much hassle it becomes to sort out the garbage posts day after day. This includes derogatory reviews created with an agenda by a disgruntled customer, former employee, or a competitor. You can end up having an enormous amount of legal exposure as a result.

Nice concept though and it will work, but I'd simplify the review component with just a favorable or unfavorable button, or a scoring scale, instead of giving posters free reign to say whatever they want to.

Steve Smith

Dear Frank:

Since many missed out on buying Marchex @ $12... what is your take on this Nasdaq domain industry stock: Local.com(LOCM), currently trading around $4/share?

Attached please find a recent press release link from Local.com, the company recently received a U.S. patent for local search and web indexing technologies.

All the best,




I have approximately two dozen domains related to erp software and crm software. I currently have a modest amount of type in traffic (250 to 300 per month total for all domains). I do believe a crm software company would be very interested in leasing / licensing these names.

What is your advice with regard to this issue.

Do you recommend modest development of these sites to maximize advertising revenue or making them available for leasing / licensing?

Thank You.

***FS*** These types of questions are always better on the forums, Domainstate.com, namepros.com etc...

Tad Crazy

Wrong Frank! You should have bought a generic domainn domain for $12! I was going buy MCHX and I said to myself NO! Buy Generic Domains! Even now they are bargins!
BTW Frank don't post this! I consider it inside info!
Like THAT episode i talk in !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

***FS*** You are right :) .. That comment was to my friends who 'have' to buy stocks

Domainer's Gazette

they're also gonna have a problem getting all the engines to actually index 100 bazillion new pages of content released at the same time - tends to get you pinged with a nasty filter (one that I've experienced first hand)..

and even if the engines were nice enough, and attempted to index, they'd wince at nasty url's like this:


***FS*** thanks for sharing.. that could hurt ;)

Rob Sequin

Great idea and execution. Too bad the market didn't care.

Are we buying Marchex or do we already own it?

If we domain investors are not buying Marchex, why not?

Disclosure, I own stock in Marchex.


I'm not entirely sure how much "better" or "easier" these sites are to arbitrage. Jordan Rohan's report seems to point to Google's recent policy changes regarding monetizing "Made for Adsense" sites, and says that this policy makes Google a less likely candidate for a switch in monetization partners.

What it doesn't seem to mention is that Google has cracked down on the buying end as well ("Option 2" arbitrage according to Mr. Rohan).

Geosign's main monetization partner is Yahoo as well. While this is a rumor, not a confirmed fact, it appears their arbitrage activities were crippled overnight by Google's decision that their sites weren't of high enough quality to be buying that volume of traffic (hence the layoffs). Many individual domainers have seen similar effects by having search campaigns disallowed in Adwords.

So while these sites might be ok for arbitrage activities today, tomorrow, who knows? The borg may decide that it's search spam and crack down on the arbitrage.

Overall though, I applaud the effort. The sites look slick and are hella useful.

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