With all the current domain controversy, we are taking the time to discuss domains on the blog.
A common trend is to register as many alternate domains as possible, and ‘park’ them just so no-one else can use them in competition with you.
Google has a way you can monetize these parked domains, by allowing ad placement. A disgruntled advertiser says it did him no good at all!
I was aware that you could use parked domains for advertising, but hadn’t done a lot of research into how it worked. Actually, Google has two programs for alternate ad revenue, so we will take a look at both of them. Neither one seems to be worth much!
The program for parked domains is rather annoying. Both the domain owners and the advertisers really get the short end of the deal. The idea is that when a person ends up at a parked domain, the search is redirected to a page where Google matches ads to an analysis of the domain name and displays these ads in formatted HTML.
This is called AdSense for Domains, and Google presumably has been making money off of it since it has been around for three years. Another program, called AdSense for Error Pages, displays ads on returned 404s.
This is where the disgruntled advertiser comes in. A lawyer paid around $130 for an ad campaign that garnered him less than a hundred clicks and zero conversions in two and a half months – out of nearly a quarter million views! He claims to have been swindled by Google.
Going by these numbers, it’s no surprise domain owners aren’t raking it in over clicks on ads either. The error pages do better when it comes to clicks – the advertiser’s campaign in that department still yielded zero conversions, but had 25 clicks out of 1,009 impressions.
So is Google out for themselves, or what? The concept behind the whole idea seems flawed to me – I barely look at the page when I hit a parked domain myself. My attitude ( and a lot of other people’s, obviously) is “Whoops, nothing helpful here…”
Fortunately, if you are an advertiser, you CAN opt out of having your ad show on parked domains and error pages. This will save you money and ensure your ads are being utilized in a more lucrative fashion.
I’m not sure who wouldn’t want to opt out, but I guess there’s a sucker born every minute! May as well take advantage of it, if it earns Google a few extra bucks.
Interestingly enough, the numbers on Google earnings as relate specifically to these programs are obscure. I would definitely be interested in seeing the ratio between how much these campaigns make Google, VS the amount they make domain owners and what really ends up in the advertisers’ pockets.
Moral of the story… beware when deciding how to spend your ad dollars – and don’t let Google sweet talk you into hundreds of views available on parked domains. It’s not worth it.