Categorized | Parking

Say Goodbye to PPC Parking – Why Things Will Only Get WORSE

Posted on 25 October 2009 by Andrei

Not because parking companies are shady, not because type-in traffic never converts. Why? For one painfully simple reason, read on if you’re interestedin facing reality. If not, feel free to continue living in fantasy land.

I’m probably the only domaining blogger (or one of the few) who used to earn a living by gaming systems. Now there are two types of approaches:

1)  Gaming Popular Websites for Free (or Extremely Cheap) Traffic:

In other words, taking advantage of loopholes in order to generate traffic. This is what I used to do, it’s basically all a matter of playing cat & mouse with search engines, social media websites and so on.

SEO, even though a lot of clueless beginners or people living in denial don’t agree, is all about gaming systems: there’s no such thing as white hat SEO, it’s a contradiction of terms. If it were up to search engines, you’d have to limit yourself to waiting for editorial links (when people link to you without having anything to gain, those links are considered editorial and that’s what search engines want: they want all of your backlinks to come from websites which rewarded you for the quality of your content) and from their perspective, it’s an understandable position (they want the websites which provide the most value to rank well, not those which are optimized well: makes sense, doesn’t it?). Did you submit your site to one (just one) social bookmarking site? Well, sorry to have to tell you this but your hat is no longer white. You tried to game the system by practically giving yourself a backlink, it’s as simple as that.

Now some approaches are more unconventional than others but that doesn’t mean that terms such as “white hat SEO” are actually describing a reality. I know that reality isn’t always what we’d like it to be but please, let’s stop living in denial.

2) Fraud, Specifically Click Fraud

This is where things start getting shady, you’re basically taking people’s money without offering anything in return and that’s just wrong. That’s where I draw the line. I see nothing wrong with gaming a social media website for free traffic (for example) but on the other hand, taking money from advertisers without offering anything in return is something I’ll never agree with.

Click fraud will unfortunately always exist in one way or another and the only thing traffic networks can do is make the lives of those who want to commit click fraud harder. And that’s exactly why it’s only a matter of time until we’ll have to say goodbye to PPC parking in its current form. I want to make myself perfectly clear:

Committing Click Fraud via PPC Parking Is TOO Easy

Let’s cut the bs and see things from the perspective of someone who wants to commit click fraud via PPC parking. Let’s assume that the person in question goes ahead and registers 1,000 .com domains, then parks them. Then he uses a complex click bot (proxies, advanced “behavior”, no footprints and the list could go on and on) to click on his own ads yet fly under the radar.

Bada bing bada boom: he’s now making money and assuming that he isn’t a complete idiot, he will continue to fly under the radar for as long as he wants to. It’s all a matter of clicking a few buttons, that’s exactly the problem.

Parking companies are acting as middle men by displaying feeds and they’ll establish a relationship with the advertisers (Google/Yahoo) based on how good or bad their traffic is OVERALL.

Even if your traffic is great, you’ll have to face consequences as a result of the fact that you’re considered a “partner” of the people who commit click fraud and the people who only put poorly converting traffic on the table (myspace typos, for example). Put yourself in Google’s/Yahoo’s position for a moment. The same way parking companies have to “report to their superiors” (Google/Yahoo), the two companies have superiors of their own to report to (for example, Google’s “superiors” are the people who are paying for the ads via AdWords). If your traffic sucks, you get paid less. End of story. Here’s the painful truth:

Parking Companies Are Considered “Second-Hand” Traffic Networks

As a result, they’re in no position to demand decent payouts. Actually, I’d even go so far as to say that they’re TOLERATED and nothing more. They’re skating on thin ice because yes, on the one hand, they’re putting money in Google’s/Yahoo’s pockets but on the other hand, they’re also making their lives hard because they’re putting a lot of fraudulent traffic on the table. Again, PPC parking is seeing this decline because gaming the system is TOO easy. As a result, everyone has to pay for the mistakes only certain people make.

Let me make one thing perfectly clear: there’s a LOT of quality type-in traffic out there but there’s unfortunately WAY MORE fraudulent or poorly converting traffic and that basically ruins everything for everyone.

If you own a domain like and are not doing anything shady, the quality of your traffic is great. People type in “Chicago lawyers” because they’re looking for… Chicago lawyers! As a result, the main advertiser (the person who pays Google/Yahoo so that they can pay your parking company) will probably be extremely satisfied. But there’s just one problem: people with great portfolios represent a dying breed!


Think about it: there are only so many domains with quality type-in traffic out there but on the other hand, there are more and more people who want to make a quick buck. You fill in the blanks.

So, unfortunately for you, even people with great portfolios have to pay for the fact that putting an end to click fraud is next to impossible. Time has proven the fact that the people who commit click fraud are unfortunately always one step ahead.

The Problems Don’t End Here

The fact that committing click fraud is extremely easy if you’re not a complete idiot is the main problem but it’s definitely not the only one. Here are just a few of the other problems which are affecting your income:

·    two middle men: the advertiser pays Google/Yahoo, they pay your parking company and the parking company pays you. Guess what: none of these middle men are working for free J
·    poorly converting (but not fraudulent) type-in traffic (again MySpace typos represent an eloquent example)
·    the fact that some (again, only some) of the parking companies are shady

Will We Have to Say Goodbye to Parking?

Nope! Read the title again: “Say Goodbye to PPC Parking – Why Things Will Only Get WORSE”. I definitely don’t think that parking (in general) will disappear, I’m referring to PPC parking exclusively when I say that there will be more and more trouble.

Look: as long as quality type-in traffic exists, there’s money to be made. As a parking company, as a portfolio holder, as an advertiser. But one thing is certain: parking will definitely have to CHANGE and we’ll probably see companies moving away from the PPC business model down the road. Now that sounds extremely dramatic but it’s not. Combating fraud is only possible if you’re smart enough to make the lives of those who commit it too hard for their approach to be worth it.

Let’s take the CPS (Cost Per Sale) business model as an example. That business model is not perfect (there are things like illegal chargebacks to worry about) but it’s definitely considerably better for the advertiser. Combating fraud is a lot easier, a LOT. Then there are also lead-based solutions, they’re also more manageable than PPC parking from a fraud prevention perspective. It’s a painful transition but it has to be done. Advertisers ultimately dictate how things work, so whether we like it or not, we have to please them. And if that means moving away from PPC parking, so be it.

Could PPC parking be saved? In theory yes but it would be extremely complicated. What would parking companies have to do in order to be in a position to negotiate great payouts? Simple: put better traffic on the table! And that would only be possible if they start being extremely strict when choosing the portfolio holders they do business with.

Something along the lines of:

John Doe: Hi, I’m John Doe, the owner of a HUGE typo empire and want to apply.
Parking Company Representative: Get out!
John Doe: But my domains have a lot of type-in traffic.
Parking Company Representative: Get out!
John Doe: But you’ll make a lot of money…
Parking Company Representative: Get out, we’re not willing to ruin it for the people who let us take advantage of quality type-in traffic
John Doe: Pretty please?
Parking Company Representative: Get out!

Desperate Times Call for Desperate Measures

One thing is certain: something has to be changed. Maybe we’ll have to move away from PPC parking altogether or maybe parking companies will have to drop most of their partners and only do business with people who own domains with quality type-in traffic.

But what about the people who don’t own domains with quality type-in traffic (typo portfolio holders)? Don’t worry, the market will sort itself out. Maybe they’ll have to find advertisers themselves, maybe parking companies which deal exclusively with poorly converting traffic will appear (the payouts will be extremely low but there’s money to be made nonetheless).

As domainers, we have to adapt or give up. When it comes to type-in traffic, quality needs to be separated from crap. Some people have a business model which revolves around type-in traffic, other people have one which revolves around traffic which actually converts. There’s money to be made in both cases but if we continue to mix these two business models, nothing good will happen.

14 Comments For This Post

  1. nmwando Says:

    I know someone who once paid for parking traffic and it sucked for him. Until companies do something to erase this bad reputation, rock bottom payments will continue to be a standard. Too bad for the legit domainers.

  2. Mike Says:

    Nice article. Thanks for writing something useful. I appreciate the perspective.

    I’ve gotten tired of domain blogs that only talk about who will be at a show, or who sold a domain, etc….. Who cares? Let’s all talk about things on a deeper level like this article does.

  3. Crasty Says:

    Thank you! You often write very interesting articles. You improved my mood.

  4. Andrei Says:

    @Crasty: I approved your comment but removed the link, no shady sites please.

  5. Andrei Says:

    Lol, did I just talk to a spam bot? wtf?! Need to get some sleep… NOW 🙂

  6. Henry Says:

    One thing that no one is talking about is the fraud that happens in CPS. How do you keep track of a sale from the advertisers side? There are as many bad advertisers as there is ppc fraud. Some advertisers will report some of there sales as chargebacks when there was a real sale. And some will find a way to clear a sale out of there system all together. This is why CPS has not happen in a big way.

  7. Andrei Says:

    @Henry: sure, it’s tempting to believe that PPC is legit because it’s next to impossible to shave clicks without getting caught (since it’s easy to track them yourself and call companies out if they try something like that) but that’s unfortunately just not true. If they want to pay you 40% less, they’ll find a way to pay you 40% less: if not by removing clicks from their system (since, again, it’s so easy to get caught that it would be stupid on their part to try something like that), then by messing with the amount of money you get paid for each click and at the end of the day, it’s the same thing 🙂

    You can only be 100% certain that nobody is screwing you over if you monetize via your own product(s) or through direct ad sales, which is what I try to do whenever it makes sense.

  8. Peter Says:

    Interesting article, but in reality, how much click fraud is actually committed? Most click fraud comes from specific countries, such as India/China, and the clicks are already low or worthless.

    I believe parking providers do a good job in combating click fraud with individual TQ scores and whatnot to see how good of a conversion your traffic is according to Yahoo/Google.


  9. Andrei Says:

    @Peter: there are two angles worth analyzing. On the one hand, you have lots of people who commit click fraud on a small scale but on the other hand (and here’s where things get complicated), you have a handful of individuals who are spending lots of money in order to fly under the radar. In my opinion, it’s easier to deal with small timers because they often make foolish mistakes. But when someone has tens of thousands of seemingly legit domains and knows what he/she is doing, measures such as the ones you’re referring to are unfortunately just not enough.

    And you’re right, traffic which comes from the countries you’ve mentioned won’t get you a lot of money per click. But here’s the thing: even if someone’s not from the US, there’s no stopping him/her from creating click bots which use US proxies.

  10. domainshouse Says:

    thank you. very interesting article. I think it seems concerned and caring about this problem as i can see some improvement on the traffic they have (example the keywords they use). at least for now because i ignored how they worked before. Sedo is one of the worst parking web sites in that matter, sorry to say because i am in there yet (listing domains for sales). Just to give you an example (if not offend anyone), one of my domains is that is related with jet, aviation, flights, travels, etc. but Sedo also include in the keywords and related links very hardcore adult terms (sorry to not mention some examples of that). Result: my domain got in days more than 400 visits and only 6 clicks. Guess why!

    Thank you.
    Carlos Martins

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  12. friendship gift Says:

    I have received a parking fine from a private company and have decided to ignore the notice stuck to my windscreen following all the advice that is available on-line.

  13. Carlos Martins Santos Says:

    Yes, i totally agree. There is so much work to do with another ways as explained on the article above.
    For us it was a week when we pay more than we receive mainly to bring traffic to the web site, gain more visibility on search enginmes, facebook, twitter and so on.
    Thanks and regards

  14. Dennis Livecchi Says:

    You should really add bookmarking widget to this page, so I could re-post it on my Twitter.

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