When I started in the Domaining space back in 2007 everyone I spoke to was going through some serious pain, the way they had made money for the last 8-10 years was changing. The catchphrase for 2007/2008 was “Parking is Dead” and thus began the great monetization Gold Rush. Domain Monetization had meant parking for years, now it meant something different. Here’s the thing that I didn’t realize back in 2007 that many other people did, parking was not dead.
As I got more involved in the industry I started to meet more people who made a substantial amount of income from parking. By substantial I mean more than $10,000/month. While they may have made $20,000/month or $30,000/month before, they still made good money then. Still, they saw the writing on the wall and began looking at developed websites as a way to make money with a small segment of their domains. Some went big and tried to do it with hundreds or thousands of domains but quickly learned that the law of diminishing returns applied.
Still, let me say this again, plenty of people were making great money parking in 2007, 2008, 2009, all the way up until now. So what makes now so different? There was always one major threat to parking, like kryptonite for Superman, and that was the death of the address bar. You see in 2007 the address bar was still alive and kicking, however browsers like Chrome were but small fish in a very large pond. However that has all changed:
As you can see from the chart above back in 2007 Internet Explorer reined supreme followed by Firefox. Both of these browsers have address bars which means while people were typing in domains less and less, and payouts were declining, the underlying technology still supported entering addresses. Enter Chrome in 2008, the browser that did away with the address bar and pushed users to search on Google for everything. Now fast forward to 2012 and you can see that Internet Explorer and Firefox are declining in popularity as Chrome takes over and Safari makes a break for it.
Safari used to be just like Internet Explorer and Firefox, but that has now changed and like Chrome, Safari has done away with the address bar and replaced it with search. In 2007 PPC revenue declined but people still had easy ways to enter addresses into browser windows. Now in 2012 PPC revenue is lower than ever and people no longer have an easy way to enter addresses into browser windows. The writing has been on the wall but I was wrong in 2007 to think it would happen so quickly, these things take time, but now I can confidently say, the time has come.
I still think there is a place for parking, I just don’t think that using parking as a core revenue model makes sense any more. Parking is however a great way to get something on your domain that can let people know that it’s for sale, this I see as the main advantage of parking now. While there will definitely be a handful of Domainers this year and next, and maybe even the year after that make some money parking, the real value will come from increased offers that come from domains that are clearly for sale.
Of course that’s just my take on it, now is where you come in! What do you think? Comment and let your voice be heard!