What is Domain Parking?
Domain parking is pretty simple, really. You let a parking company display ads on your domain. The parking company normally has a contract with Google or Yahoo! to use their ad feeds. A visitor to your domain clicks on an ad, the advertiser pays Google or Yahoo!; Google or Yahoo! pay a share of the revenue to the parking company, who pays a share of the revenue to you.
There is a phenomenon that internet marketers run into, it is called domain hoarding. This is where you end up buying domain after domain, until you end up with more domains than you know what to do with. People either try to sell the domains, create a basic site and flip them, or simply let the domains expire.
To try to monetize this, you can sign up for a domain parking company. Your domain is basically turned into an online billboard.
With the right setup and investment, it’s possible to turn a reasonable profit from parked domains. Plus they require little to no work once set up – true passive income.
Is domain parking ethical?
The fact of the matter is – the traffic is already coming to the parked pages. You have a choice of showing your visitors nothing, or parking the domain and giving your visitors what they are looking for. How that can be evil is beyond me.
As well, parked pages provide more choice to consumers – they can choose from several companies offering what they want, versus just one company if a website were there.
Still, I personally find these parked domain pages a turn-off when I run into them. I feel they are spammy.
Quantity over quality
If you’re keen to look into domain parking as a revenue source, the first thing you will need to know is that for this method, quantity is just as important, if not more so, than quality.
This is because like with most advertisements on the internet, the more traffic you have the more chance you have of generating the all-important clicks, so the more domains you have parked, the higher the possibility of getting some that have a high traffic flow.
It’s not uncommon for someone involved in domain parking to have hundreds of domains. In fact some services like Sedo’s Domain Parking for Professionals requires you to have a minimum of 500 domains!
The most important thing about choosing a domain is to find those domains that can generate traffic without help from you.
Parking companies strictly prohibit you from doing anything that would increase traffic to your domain. Sending traffic to a parked page (for instance, through advertising, link building, etc.) is against all parking companies’ terms of service. The logic behind this is that Google and Yahoo are trying to get their ads in places where they don’t already control the traffic – not recycling traffic that already exists.
Parking is for domains that have pre-existing traffic (normally through direct navigation). This normally means generic dot com’s and generic ccTLDs, typos, and domains that were once websites.
The key to success in making money from parking is owning domains that get natural traffic. Without the traffic, there is, well nothing. Parking isn’t about getting traffic to domains – it is about monetizing pre-existing traffic. To make money from parking, you need to research buying domains that already have traffic (by using various tools available, such as Alexa, Google external tool, etc).
Tip: If a domain doesn’t get traffic, there is no sense in parking it. If it looks like you’re trying to game the system they will suspend or close your account.
Brand new domains
This type of domain refers to new domains that are spelled correctly but may offer potential for traffic. In general these should be avoided or at least examined in detail to make sure they are worth the purchase, though at approx. $10 for a domain, it’s sometimes worth the risk.
This type of domain is one where you obtain a domain similar to another in the hopes that people will type in the incorrect domain name and end up on your site instead.
The most common way to do this is to look for plurals, e.g. instead of bluewidget.com, register bluewidgets.com.
There are some legal areas that you may struggle with here, especially if you start abusing brand names and copyrights this way, but it does offer the opportunity to catch traffic from popular sites.
A safer alternative is to pick up domains that have expired. These types of domains usually have had some traffic in the past that you can leverage.
It’s worth running any domain through a site that can provide more info on the domain such as Alexa for estimated traffic and Majestic for a more detailed report.
Basically you’re just trying to make sure you’re not buying a site that only had 3 visitors per year, as you won’t make a cent that way.
If you’ve ever examined a domain to buy or one for a PBN, then it’s basically the same criteria.
What sort of domains should you buy?
This is the difficult question, but in general they should be .coms or .orgs and should focus on a popular niche.
This would be the one time where you should even consider broader niches than you are perhaps used to with affiliate marketing, though as with anything online testing will be required.
Looking to current or potential fads and trends is definitely a decent angle to take, though these have a tendency to not be evergreen and run out of steam after a while.
Domain parking requires a lot of forethought and examination of a niche, from the keywords used to the general market, as well as potential traffic as everything focuses purely on the domain name itself as you have no other way to market the domain.
Exact Match Domains
Google has penalized exact match domains (EMD), but from a domain parking point of view it isn’t a problem. Parked domains won’t appear in an internet search anyway, so if the EMD looks like a good domain then pick it up!
How then can you increase earnings? One option is to do your homework and choose the right service that provides the best rates.
Other than that you could always create a faux parked domain. This involves sticking up a basic web page with related adverts on it.
Of course this is more work to create and maintain, especially if you have hundreds of domains, but it does allow you to have a lot more control and to choose advertisers (or affiliate schemes) that have fewer rules in force.
How To Increase Parking Revenue
This boils down to trial and error. Look at keyword lists to find out what keywords pay best in your domain’s niche. Try different ones out to see if that makes a difference.
As well, each parking company also offers different layouts for your parked pages – different ones work best for different niches. Test them out and see what works best for your domain.
Also, move your domains to another parking company. Some parking companies perform better for some niches.
Finally, if you earn enough money from parking, you can always approach your parking company and ask for a larger revenue share.
A lot of people seem to think that parking revenues are declining because the parking companies are getting greedier. While everyone wants to earn more money, myself included, I think that the parking industry is far too competitive for this too happen. People can — and do — switch parking companies all the time. There are simply too many alternatives available for any parking company to start getting too greedy.
Rather, the revenue downturn is likely due to other factors, such as Google and Yahoo! paying out smaller shares to the parking companies, the general bad economy, and the fact that advertisers can now opt out of advertising on parked pages.
A New Way Of Making Money From Parked Domains
There is a new service called MailboxPark, from 250ok, that will pay domain name owners for their parked domains’ email traffic.
The new service requires domain owners to point their MX records to MailboxPark, at which point the company will start paying domainers for email messages sent to your domain names.
They collect the email data from the traffic sent to your domains and resell that data to companies that send email. Mailers use the data to drive email insights, including detecting phishing attacks and other critical email issues. MailboxPark is not a messaging or advertising platform.
They DO NOT collect email addresses or build lists of email addresses to resell to third parties for any purpose, especially spam.
Domain registrar default name servers appear to all work with MailboxPark. Because there are so many registrars, they have not been able to test them all, but examples would include GoDaddy’s DomainControl.com.
Earnings can vary depending on a number of factors, such as volume and type of email traffic received by a domain, and the overall number of domains you possess. Currently, MailboxPark pays partners based on the volume of commercial email sent to a domain; however, traffic originating from individuals, botnets, or any other non-business entities cannot be monetized at this time.
Based on the monies generated by the 250ok customers paying to access this data, MailboxPark offers a monthly payout total that is split among the MailboxPark partners. Partners receive a payment that reflects the percentage of email traffic that was generated by their domains for that month.
MailboxPark certainly seems like a good way to monetize parked domains beyond just pay-per-click ads.
There is another company called ThreatWave (formerly Bounce.io) that has been providing an MX monetization service since 2013.
Their focus is broad data monetization, not just malware and malicious traffic use cases. Having become experts in data intake and processing, they have established a data marketplace for data consumers. Their refined output feeds help data consumers across Threat, Reputation, and Market intelligence use cases. Their Threat Intelligence feeds help protect users, networks, and devices from common dangers like spam, phishing and malware. As for Reputation intelligence , digital marketers are empowered to understand and improve their mailing practices.
They process billions of messages monthly, collect and analyze, reduce noise and streamline that data for all these use cases, and in the process support some of the world’s most influential security and email-focused companies who use this data to make the world a better place.
Domain parking isn’t for everyone. There’s a level of investment required that most people balk at (easily $1,000 – $5,000 or more per year).
As well as that, finding domains that can generate traffic without SEO and therefore income is an ongoing project; especially as fads and trends change over time (how much traffic would Olympics2012.com get right now?).
That being said, if you are skillful in your selection as well as use a scatter shot method (it’s odd to use both of those at the same time but there you go), then there is a potential to make your costs back and then some.
Most, if not all, facets of domaining are high risk, potentially high reward, and domain parking is no different. I think that the key to being successful with domain parking is to choose domains that have the largest amounts of type in traffic (well, that and obviously buy the domains for a good price).