Google to kill Domain Tasting from Domain Tolls reports receiving a tip from a Google informant that Google will be preventing “domain tasting” from participating in the AdSense for Domains (aka Domain Park) program. Domain tasting is the practice of trying out a domain name for a 5 day-period. Registration companies will refund a domainer the cost of the domain, if the domainer no longer wants to hold on to that domain – if the decision is made within 5 days. NOTE: SEE UPDATE IN POSTSCRIPT BELOW.
Domain Tools says “Google had was generating as much as $3 million dollars a month from the practice.” Google is rumored to do away with that $3 million to uphold their motto of don’t be evil. Domain Park ads have been one of Google’s most controversial programs.
As I explained, users who land on a parked domain with AdSense for Domains are often confused. They click on the ads, in my opinion, out of not knowing what else to do. Advertisers, from what I hear, are not happy with the conversions on those ads. To Google’s credit, Google will allow advertisers to opt out of placing ads on domain park sites. However, this does not help with a searcher or user landing on these pages.
Domainers are not happy with this potential Google policy change (it has yet to be confirmed by Google).
Check more discussion at Techmeme.
Postscript From Danny: To clarify on the “confusion” aspect, that’s not applicable to all domain situations. Many people are interested in a particular topic and for a variety of reasons will guess that by putting words together and slapping a .com on the end, they’ll end up some place relevant. And many parked domains indeed will have relevant ads. However, you can have people enter typos, where they are trying to reach a particular site and get to another one by mistake. In addition, you can have domains that are not using generic terms, not targeted to anything in particular, where someone may wind up on them not really sure where they’ve gotten to. The conversion aspect for an advertiser on such domains is much more an issue than with other types.
Postscript 2: Google sent this statement:
We have long discouraged domain kiting as a practice. In order to more effectively deter it, we are launching a new domain kiting detection system. If we determine that a domain is being kited, we will not allow Google ads to appear on the site. We believe that this policy will have a positive impact for users and domain purchasers across the web.
Domain kiting is when someone registers a domain but never pays for it, then keeps registering it. Google said the policy will only apply to kiting. Those doing domain tasting — registering a site, trying it out with ads, and then actually paying for it — will not be impacted.