DNSAdvantage blocking parked domains

By , June 18, 2010

Hat tip to TheDomains for reporting that Neustar’s DNS resolver service DNSAdvantage is blocking parked domains with the message

For your protection, you have been temporarily blocked from accessing www.tackboard.com. The website has been blocked for the following reasons:

  • Parked Domain: Site may contain excessive advertising including pop-up or pop-under advertising”””

We leave the merits of whether this is “good” or “bad” aside. Predictably domainers will hate this, privacy people will likely not like it either, anybody who has a vested interest in monetizing parked (or expired) domains won’t like it – but the average run-of-the mill web surfer who uses DNSAdvantage probably won’t miss all those parked pages in the least.

Just remember where you read it first. Back in 2007 I said this:

Type-in traffic is always nice, but anybody building a long-term business strategy or “investing” large quantities of cold hard cash on the premise that it will continue forever (or even escalate) will, I think, be disappointed. The underlying premise is that internet users will grow less sophisticated over time and that there will be no further or meaningful user interface changes from here on in, that net neutrality will prevail and ISPs, access providers, network carriers, web browsers and even root or recursive nameserver operators are going to stay out of the realm of “errant or exploratory internet traffic” and leave it all to the domainers.

When I wrote that I was widely heralded as an idiot of the first order who “just didn’t get it”. When I read the  comment thread for the article at thedomains it looks to be about a 50/50 mix of denial and acceptance. Many of the same domainers who can’t stand to have their worldview perturbed are upset, calling for boycotts, rationalizing why parked pages “add value” while the realists are wondering what comes next after parking, or actually going out and trying to do something about it.

Make no mistake, DNSAdvantage is just another sign of the times. It’s not the only DNS resolver that blocks parked pages, some anti-spyware and anti-virus programs also do this. There is also a firefox plug-in to block parked domains. So expect more of this in the future and adjust your domain investing strategies accordingly:

For your existing portfolio:

  • Move from PPC landing pages / parking  to CPA or affiliate marketing strategies. When these are done right, you end up with a more of a targeted mini-site with relevant, actual content as opposed to a landing page with ad links. (Of course, done wrong you end up with a scaper site which is even worse than a parked page IMHO)
  • Develop your best domains into (*gasp*) actual web properties.
  • Explore lease or sales strategies for your portfolio to end-users at retail prices (instead of selling to other domainers at reseller prices)

And before you allocate capital into future domain investments:

  • Have a plan that provides an adequate return-on-capital that does not involve PPC earnings from domain parking, or
  • Ensure that your cost basis is low enough that it still makes sense even at todays’ diminished PPC returns, even better if your investment would still make sense after anticipating further declines in parking revenues.

It’s still possible to make money in domains, you just have to move with the times instead of digging in and putting on the blinders. There is an old Chinese proverb: “It is unlucky to remain obstinate in the face of overwhelming odds”.

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