Categorized | Random Rants

A Dose of Realism – Let’s Build on a Solid Foundation, Shall We?

Posted on 06 December 2010 by Andrei

The quality of type-in traffic as a whole is going down (read this post if you want to find out why) and has been for quite a while, advertisers are becoming better and better at filtering out traffic which doesn’t convert and this situation will only get worse. Let’s stop living in fantasy land, acknowledge the truth and build on a solid foundation, shall we?

First of all, here’s why the quality of type-in traffic as a whole is going down, it’s an extremely simple situation:

Less Navigational Type-in Traffic, More Typo Traffic

How can you not love navigational type-in traffic as a person who is monetizing it? Someone wants to buy shirts and types in buyshirts.com, there you have it: targeted traffic. But, unfortunately, as the Internet matured, less and less people type in URLs in order to find information.

Why should they when there are a LOT of better alternatives such as performing a search for the term “buy shirts” and actually finding relevant information? Let’s face it: as the Internet matures, less and less people type in strings such as “buyshirts.com” because they know that they’re better off relying on other navigation methods.

This is extremely obvious to people who have owned portfolios which received a lot of US traffic over a period of several years, just compare the numbers people were seeing back in 1997 to those from today.

Now as far as countries which aren’t as developed as the US are concerned, there are enough “newbies” who are just getting to know the Internet and who will end up typing in URLs but there are two problems:

1) there aren’t a lot of advertisers who pay for that traffic, so your average CPC will be pathetic

2) in the long run, today’s newbies will be tomorrow’s savvy Internet users and as a result, it should be obvious that the long-term potential of navigational international type-in traffic is just not there

Now as far as typo traffic is concerned, the situation is different:

1) even experienced Internet users make spelling mistakes
2) people are spending more and more time online
3) there are more and more websites which are receiving HUGE amounts of traffic

The result: when it comes to typo traffic, “scarcity” is definitely not a relevant word.

Less Quality Traffic, More Poorly Converting Traffic

This is what it all boils down to and it should come as no surprise that advertisers aren’t thrilled. As time goes by (and, once again, as the Internet matures), advertisers will get better and better at filtering out junk traffic and I’m sure the implications are more than obvious.

I’ve said it once, I’ve said it twice and I’ll say this again: the Internet is maturing. It’s turning into a better place for consumers, it’s turning into a better place for the average advertiser but as far as type-in traffic as a whole is concerned, things aren’t exactly peachy.

What Now?

We’re all intelligent adults here, so let’s face it:

1) the quality of type-in traffic as a whole is going down
2) more and more advertisers are avoiding type-in traffic sources
3) parking companies are suffering due to the fact that you can’t demand higher payouts without putting traffic that converts on the table

Let’s not live in denial and fool ourselves with a “domainers are innocent victims but things will get better as time passes, just wait and see” way of thinking. Reality isn’t pretty but let’s look it in the eye, build on a solid foundation and rationally figure out ways to do what all of us ultimately want: make more MONEY!

13 Comments For This Post

  1. Nick Says:

    Well said. Typein traffic isn’t as important to end users as it is to domainers anyway, I guess in the future domain investments maybe more like gold. You invest in something that doesn’t give you a periodic return in the hope it appreciates in value. In 20 or 25 years I doubt quality typein traffic that makes domains have revenue will exist anyway. Right now it still exists but yeah nowhere near the level it was at in the 90’s.

  2. Steve Says:

    Ok. So a new business owner is better off setting up a store on ebay twitter,etc. or a site on a crazy name like widgets.blogspot.com or a perfect name like widgets.com.

    Yesterday, today and tomorrow someone selling widgets would be insane not to utilize the generic, descriptive easy to remember name specifically describing their product or service. Widgets.com, .net, .org or a cctld related to their local market would be my pick.
    I have several specific product domains that I can’t keep the product in stock, I’m sold out often on a $20k item. A keyword domain gets great traction on the engines and it’s easy to remember. I don’t know if I would type in “buy shoes” but I know “shoes.com” will have shoes, today and tomorrow.
    Find a niche, get a keyword domain and sell expensive items. Forget about pennies and focus on dollars. imo
    Best Regards.

  3. Andrei Says:

    @Steve: this post is strictly about the current state and long-term perspective of type-in traffic and not about the value of domains in general. If I thought domains as investments have no long-term viability, I wouldn’t be here writing this blog post 🙂

    The #1 message I want to get across is this: we as domainers who buy and sell generic domains will inevitably end up eliminating type-in traffic from the equation sooner or later. The sooner we realize this, the sooner we can start building on a solid foundation.

  4. Steve Says:

    Andrei,
    I have to respectfully disagree on this one. What is a better foundation to build on than shoes.com or cars.com, etc. Easy to remember names that don’t get lost in the clutter.
    Best.

  5. Snoopy Says:

    “I have to respectfully disagree on this one. What is a better foundation to build on than shoes.com or cars.com, etc. Easy to remember names that don’t get lost in the clutter.
    Best.”

    ////////////

    Geez, read what he is saying, type in traffic is dying in the what the post is about, not whether cars.com is a bad domain.

  6. Snoopy Says:

    As a general comment I disagree with the suggestion that typo traffic is on the rise whilst generic traffic is not, the two are somewhat related because a lot of that natural traffic is people looking for another site with a similar name, but I think increasing use of search engines is effecting both.

  7. Steve Says:

    “Geez, read what he is saying, type in traffic is dying in the what the post is about, not whether cars.com is a bad domain.”

    Hey Snoopy,
    Again, with all due respect type in traffic is not dying. Direct navigation traffic to generic names is on the rise imo. It’s just that there are more people online using the engines,etc so the volumes may appear to be leaning the other way when it is actually an increase on both sides. Many of my sales come from direct nav traffic right to the keyword domain, not from the engines.
    As well a specific keyword domain always rises to the top of the engines with good content, etc.
    Cheers!

  8. Andrei Says:

    @Steve: do you have any data to support your claim that generic domain type-in traffic is on the rise? I have access to data related to thousands upon thousands of domains and generic domain type-in traffic has decreased DRAMATICALLY if you were to compare some figures from let’s say 1997 to those from today.

    I’m sure Snoopy and anyone else who has been in the game for a fairly long time can confirm. Based on the data I have at my disposal, I can affirm with certainty that generic domain type-in traffic has decreased dramatically over the years and I have no reasons to believe that it won’t decrease further.

    As far as typo traffic is concerned, I don’t have relevant data to back up my claims but I disagree with Snoopy (in my opinion and it’s only an opinion in this case, there’s more typo traffic on the table now than in the past) for three simple reasons:

    1) people spend way more time online today than let’s say 10 years ago
    2) there are far more people who spend time online than let’s say 10 years ago
    3) people (even folks who are Internet savvy) will always make typing mistakes

  9. Steve Says:

    Andrei,
    I only have info from my sites. When I check the stats I see people come directly from another site (not engine) to mine. There are no links to my sites from the referring site so the direct nav appears to be the route.
    I certainly get great traffic from the engines but that is because of the keyword generic domain with relevant content that gets the extra juice. So I guess it’s a win/win. Direct nav, engines it doesn’t matter to me as long as I am getting the traffic.

    How would you suggest someone sell shirts, etc. if they were starting out today?

  10. Andrei Says:

    @Steve: the most important question is if you have data over a period of several years and enough domains in your portfolio so that the data can be considered relevant. When making claims such as “Direct navigation traffic to generic names is on the rise”, it’s important to have actual data to back up these claims.

    1) How many domains have you analyzed?
    2) Did they receive more type-in traffic 5 years ago than today or less?
    3) Did they receive more type-in traffic 10 years ago than today or less?
    4) Did they receive more type-in traffic 5 years ago than 10 years ago or less?

    The list could go on and on but I’m sure you get the point. All of the data I have at my disposal clearly indicates that generic domain type-in traffic has been decreasing considerably and to be perfectly honest, I’d be extremely surprised to see relevant sets of data which indicate another reality.

  11. Steve Says:

    Andrei,
    I guess I just thought it sounded like direct nav was dead. It’s not the case for me but I really don’t care where the traffic comes from. Even if direct nav is dead people will still need a relevant easy to remember moniker and a keyword domain will always deliver. Many people say domains will be irrelevant in the future but my own experience is they have become more and more relevant to my sales.
    Thanks for the discussion, I appreciate your opinion very much. With all the stats showing direct nav is down how would you suggest a newbie start selling products online? twitter account, facebook, keyword domain name?

    Cheers.

  12. Ken Roberie Says:

    Thank you. I’m supposed to cook for my new vegan girlfriend this week and have absolutely no idea what to make! I found tons of recipes at this vegetarian recipes site but with soo many to choose from I just got confused. Do you have any favorites youself, like .. the tastiest vegetarian recipe, ever, or something?! Thanks in advance! I’m so clueless about this vegetarian stuff

  13. Komodo Dragon Says:

    You raise some very valid points. I myself can’t realize when I last typed out an actual URL. I am just getting so used to simply typing where I want to go in basic words more often than not. Even when it comes to visiting sites I frequent a lot, I just type in the first alphabet of the URL and today’s browsers just bring up the site automatically. Add to that new features like Google Instant too.

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