Efficient Frontier Perpetuates the Domain Parking Traffic Conversion Myth
- Domain Ads: Twice the conversion rate of search ads (Case Study)
- Domain Traffic MORE THEN Twice As Good As Search Traffic
- Domain Name Traffic Converts Twice As Well As Search
- Google AdSense for Domains Case Study Shows Domains are Undervalued
I'm a little perplexed that Efficient Frontier published this study. Why? I first heard the term "distribution fraud" from Chris Zaharias, SVP at Efficient Frontier. When I wrote about the ridiculous garbage traffic coming from the Google AdWords *search* network, it was his post that made me realize this should be classified as distribution fraud and not as click fraud. Now his company is publishing a "case study" espousing the virtues of AdSense for Domains? No, something doesn't add up here. Note that I have great respect for Chris and am calling his company, not him, on this one. I gave him a heads up in May (read the comments here), before Efficient Frontier published the study on their site.
For any domainers reading this, I want to point out that I recognize the value of generic keyword domains and respect generic name domainers. I can appreciate the argument that genuine type-in traffic could convert as well as or even better than search traffic. After all, if the same keywords are typed with a ".com" on the end but in the address bar instead of the search box, advertisers don't have to compete with algorithmic search engine results. Unfortunately, this high quality parked domain traffic (I know many search marketers reading this blog will view that as an oxymoron but read my last sentence again) is being blended with garbage traffic across both the Google AdWords content *and* search networks. I know when I first started seeing significant amounts of garbage traffic from parked domains, I wanted to block them all.
Both domainers and PPC advertisers need greater transparency from Google (and Yahoo!). PPC advertisers need to be able to block the garbage traffic. Generic name domainers need their domains on a separate ad network from other domains and questionable content sites so they can earn greater returns on their domains (PPC advertisers will bid high for high quality traffic). Google needs to reduce the perception of click fraud. IOW, we all need to solve this problem.
Google is the gatekeeper. They need to stop distributing parked domain traffic on the AdWords search and content networks and to build a new, domain network. Doesn't that just make sense? On the AdSense side for publishers, Google offers: AdSense for Content, AdSense for Search, AdSense for Domains. However, on the AdWords side, there are only two networks: search and content. Google needs to add the third network and stop operating their hidden ad network. Or, are they really that reluctant to expose the "crazy aunt in the basement spinning straw into gold?"
Domainers are starting to realize that garbage parked domains hurt the reputation of the domain industry. I've listed specific examples of garbage traffic from both Google AdWords and Yahoo! Search Marketing. Domainers, put yourselves in the shoes of PPC advertisers. Would you want to pay for traffic from nonsense names? Would you actually spend your own money to buy any of the domain names mentioned in any of these posts from this paragraph? No, they're garbage.
Search marketers need to realize that, just as there are high quality and low quality sites on the AdWords content network, the same is true of parked domains. Trouble is, since there's no network dedicated to domains, PPC advertisers don't always know when traffic is categorized as AdSense for Search vs AdSense for Content vs AdSense for Domains, particularly when they don't separate search ads from contextual ads. But, don't paint all parked domains with the same brush.
Perhaps advocacy groups for domainers and search marketers need to work together to put pressure on Google (and Yahoo!) to distribute parked domain ads on a separate network. I'm thinking of SEMPO (Search Engine Marketing Professional Organization) and ICA (Internet Commerce Association). What do you think? Should Google create a domain network ad distribution option for AdWords to isolate the AdSense for Domains traffic? If so, who can convince them to do so?
Tags (made w/ TagBuildr but not TagMuse nor TagTrends before playing a game of TagMan): efficient frontier, chris zaharias, searchquant, domain parking, adsense for domains, distribution fraud, google adwords, andrew allemann, domain name wire, sempo, search engine marketing professional organization, ica, internet commerce association