Until recently, domainers used to park domains with nothing but ads on them. They tried to get traffic from mis-spelt URLs or people who’d directly type a URL in the location bar. There wasn’t any content to attract the search engines, so unless they were paying to direct traffic to their site, the number of eyeballs was pretty low. However, if they did a good job of providing relevant links, the user was likely to click on them, if nothing else then atleast to get away from their site. I had several sites parked with Sedo.com and so far I’ve made $0.24 over a 2 year period! Pretty lousy way to park domains.
However, a site called Domain Embarking is trying to revolutionize the way domains are parked. Instead of putting up a site with nothing but ads, they’ve come upon an automated way to ad relevant content to your site.
Through their user-friendly dashboard, you can add your Domains (which may be registered elsewhere) and fill out 3 fields regarding keywords you’d like to target and the title. There’s a useful tool that tells you what the top searched keywords are for that title so you can modify your title to include them. There’s also a preview tool so you know what your site will look like beforehand.
Their content-generating tool automatically generates several pages worth of content for you with news clips, photos, a paragraph from wikipedia and ads from Google. Quite an innovative idea. Apparently search engines index these sites and visitors have been reported to bookmark them.
So compared to the old “spam sites” created by companies like Sedo, you get actual sites that people enjoy visiting. And if you’d like to spend more than the 60 seconds it takes to fill out the keyword and title details, you can go in advanced options and tweak some more fields and maybe add a paragraph of your own text.
Even their revenue share model is quite interesting. They keep 50% of the ad revenue and the members get the other 50%. Members earn Premiere Shares, which entitle you to a certain % of the profits. You get additional shares for each site you “embark” with them. According to their site, 1 Premiere Share entitled members to $15.11 during the last quarterly distribution. You also get Premiere Shares for referring new clients and their since service is free so you might as well get cracking!
They also provide web hosting and domain registration plans, but I prefer cheaper alternatives like 1and1.com for domain registering and Dreamhost for hosting (Use code DIVIDENDS and get free domain registration at Dreamhost).
As soon as I heard about Domain Embarking, I had to try it out. Opening an account took 1 minute and then I added my domain Cosmetic Forums, a site that I wanted to develop into a forum on plastic surgery but I’ve never had the time. Parked at Sedo, it was generating $0, it had no traffic and wasn’t even indexed. If you see the image, you’ll understand why. Lots of irrelevant ads.
However, the new and improved Embarked version looks much better. There’s some static content (below the fold and thus not visible in the image below) and some dynamic images and videos that change every time you refresh the page. At the top of the page there are links to News and other pages. Click through and check it out. Its still not perfect, but considering it took only a 1 minute to create, its a thousand times better than the Sedo-parked page was.
Now I’m satisfied with the results, I’ll be porting all my sites over to Domain Embark. Even if they don’t generate any traffic, they’ll get indexed and that will at least increase their resale value.
There is also another domain parking service called WhyPark? They charge a one time fee of $99.95 and similar to Domain Embarking, they also creates content-rich websites automatically. However, I haven’t tried it so I can’t really recommend how it works or whether its better than Domain Embarking.
UPDATE : As of April 1st 2008, I’ve earned $60 this year, or around $20 per month. Compared to Sedo.com’s average of 1 cent per month, this is a much better result! Now that I’m making money, I can now declare that Domain Embarking’s free domain parking service is a better alternative to Sedo’s domain parking and probably even GoDaddy’s low cost domain parking. GoDaddy’s CashParking service has 2 packages ranging between $3.50 and $9.99 per month. Godaddy’s service cost is negligible for people who do domain parking in bulk quantities, but it doesn’t provide the automated text generation and so I don’t think there’s anyway to develop any sort of indexing.