General Search Market Trends, From Spam to Highbrow

Jan 9th
posted in

Straight Up Spamming
The economics of spam.

Thin Arbitrage
In regards to that $130 million investment in Geosign by American Capital... it turns out to be the arbitrage investment that was not:

American Capital CEO Malon Wilkus told TheStreet.com that as a result of the split-up, his firm recovered a "substantial" amount of its original investment in the form of cash proceeds. He declined to give the amount.

Domain Names
Oversee.net bought Moniker. They purchased SnapNames earlier this year. They must be pretty good at business to be able to afford over $100 million in acquisitions in one year.

Never trust Network Solutions again. They are now registering any whois lookups that occur on their network, and are challenging RegisterFly for the dirtiest register ever award.

Marchex has dropped below the sharp fall off back when they lowered Q3 2007 guidance. They currently trade at an 82 P/E ratio, and could unlock a lot of value if they had a real development strategy or started selling off some of their names. A Domain Tools blog post highlights how generic domains could appreciate if capital was more accessible for premium domains. I think before that happens companies like Marchex are going to need to issue a new strategic memo that is valid in the current marketplace. The Domain Tools blog post also had a comment from a search marketer:

Besides, the real downside to generic domains from my point of view is that every day, the “type-in traffic” generation becomes smarter, or dies off. More people use a medium such as Google or other search engines. With search engines, sites such as “Travelocity.com” and “travel.yahoo.com” become the apparent winners for the term “Travel”. Not Travel.com

As a search marketer who keeps spending more and more on Google ads, I firmly believe the above comment, and this is why I have been buying decent names and developing them. A balanced investment strategy where pieces build off each other and I put my marketing skills to work will outperform a strategy where I enter a saturated market late without a unique strategy. A strong domain is a great advantage, but you can still succeed with only a decent one and a bit ofsweat equity.

Yahoo! Buzz Index
Perhaps this is an old arbitrage strategy I somehow missed, but the Yahoo Buzz Index links to a list of popular searches. What better way is there to rank for them and drive traffic than to reference them on an high authority page, likeso:

That might be a nice strategy for other leading publishers to follow, though it makes Yahoo look a bit desperate in their marketing approach.

General Publishing Trends
Seth Godin highlights trends in the music industry, which is a set of trend applicable to just about every industry.

Published: January 9, 2008

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Comments

January 9, 2008 - 5:20pm

Thanks for the reference Aaron.
I feel special :-D

January 9, 2008 - 10:49pm

I like your blog. Its great stuff. :)

January 9, 2008 - 6:06pm

Network Solutions is a crappy excuse for a company.
They screwed us (a non profit) out of a domain name that belonged to us. After we pleaded with them, they sold it to someone else who, of course, jacked the price up many thousands of dollars more than we could afford.
Stay far, far away from them.

January 9, 2008 - 9:50pm

Even if they are just "kiting", and return the domain, I believe they at least have to pay in the first place.
What's the feasibility of getting several hundred(or thousand?) of people to try and register hundreds of domains?

If anyone else thinks it's worthwhile, I'd be more than willing to write a script for it.

January 9, 2008 - 10:51pm

Some domain services allow you to tast domains for a dime while others allow you to taste for free...so I don't think mass tasting would hurt NetworkSolutions at all. The only thing it would do would pollute the expiring domains data used by other domain tasters.

January 9, 2008 - 11:24pm

Ah, well it was worth a try. I thought the "taste" would create a refundable icann fee for the registrar. Even if it did though, it'd probably be too hard to get enough participants in.
Either way, very glad you enjoy reading :-)
Obviously, I enjoy yours as well haha

January 10, 2008 - 4:29am

I don't think it's even a contest any more for "dirtiest registrar." Network Solutions dropped the atom bomb of sleaziness and RegisterFly has no chance of achieving such evil.

January 10, 2008 - 4:24pm

I don't think they're registering everything any more, as of today. One of their reps was on WMW responding to the criticisms, of which there were many.

An intitle: search for "This Domain is Available - Secure it Now!" throws up some interesting results today. People have been busy making fun of this "feature". Check it out now, because I don't think this will last long.

January 10, 2008 - 5:24pm

Is there anything wrong with having domains at Moniker after oversee.net has bought them? I got an e-mail notification of that but didnt read beyond the title and didnt understand they had been purchased. Anything wrong with that or is oversee.net a reliable company (as of now)?

As for the travelocity and yahoo.travel.com taking the cake and not travel.com ...reminds me of domainers saying how great type-in traffic is b/c it's defensible (if people are starting to use search, etc. more its probably not)...and that it makes sense that somebody interested in a certain topic will sooner or later type in the exact match domain name.

I'm definitely into travelling, yet Ive never typed in travel.com. Nor reise.de or reisen.de (German). I don't know what's at SEO.com or webanalytics.com either (just did both :-)). However, I know what I can expect if I do type in such a strong domain name: usually a thin affiliate site that I'll bounce off within 5 seconds.

Maybe the reason for this is that most of what's on the web is crap and search helps filter it quite efficiently (even if far from perfectly), whereas a strong domain name doesn't need quality content that gets traffic...if people start to become more internet savy in general Im sure type-in traffic will go down.

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