Today Google announced that is shutting down part of its AdSense platform that it had been using to monetise undeveloped domains. The platform was conflict of interest as Google benefited by selling Ad space on the domains but also took a cut of AdSense earnings from owners who chose to monetise via AdSense for Domains.
The shutting down of this AdSense product has likely come at the request of the web spam team who fight daily to remove websites from their index that are of low value, but also from the industry who don’t like Google double dipping. Typically the benefit to users visiting any Adsense domains was close to zero but it also provided a strong commercial incentive for people to register typo domains and incentivize typosquatting domains.
This could certainly be a large step towards cleaning up the image of the domain parking industry as it shifts away from encouraging clicks to parked domains that add no value to working to develop the domains into lead generation and affiliate channels. There are a number of domain parking providers that run wonderful networks that help create content, provide analytics and generally help you build some value into your domains. So it’s not the end of the world but there will be a number of unhappy domain owners that will have to start looking for a decent provide, but it will be golden days for domain parking platforms.
The announcement of shutting down its AdSense for Domain platform has potentially overnight destroyed a number of very profitable business models as I know a number of people who make great revenue from a handful of niche domains. But it will be interesting to see how this change will impact Google’s income stream over the next 6 months as people abandon it’s platform before it’s closed on June 27. It is also possible that a number of people might leave the domain parking industry so there could be a flood of domains that will start hitting the market over the next few months.
Based on this change I expect there is a significant Google algorithm change on the horizon that will potentially wipe out a number of these sites, so Google wanted to get out while it was ahead. So stay tuned there is something on the horizon that pushed Google to respond after all these years of easy money.
Google is also being very fast in how quickly they started shutting down their parking program, with just a matter of a less than 2 months. They are also careful not to suggest any possible domain parking providers, they just advise people to Google “park my domains”. It’s a very interesting and lazy way to shut down a marketing platform and then just suggest people Google a certain phrase if they want to find a new parking provider. The official Google guide to migrating your domains away is here.
Doing a quick search across a few tools, currently there is no traffic around “park my domains” according to Google Trends, this is likely to change very quickly, and there is only 210 searches a month for that term as of today. As you can see from the screenshot below there is currently not that many specialist websites setup to capture that traffic but expect this to change rapidly.
Google has tried to cut its ties with an industry it helped build and reward, but it will be an interesting few months on the AdSense support forums as domainers lash out that Google has cut off their revenue stream. It is now a bigger incentive to build out domains into real businesses but is everyone ready for the sheer amount of work that is actually required?
For a number of people who did well out of AdSense for Domains it’s going to be interesting change to revenue streams as previously they could just buy niche domains park them with Google and operate on razor-thin margins across a massive portfolio of domains. This is a very interest move indeed. You can read more details on the Google help page.