does domain parking provide a service?

Does domain parking provide a useful service? Or is it utterly valueless to the public? Many bloggers and tech writers are vehemently critical of domaining in its essence, calling it cybersquatting, typosquatting, or domain hoarding. They overlook the fact that domain parking provides at least one very basic service.

I’ve recently read two mainstream articles on cybersquatters – here’s one from CNET of all people (CNET has a large domain portfolio) – in which all domainers have derisively been lumped into the cybersquatting bin. These authors, who don’t seem to have a clear idea of what cybersquatting is, seem determined to negate any value that may exist in domain parking. They insist that parked pages generate clicks only by fooling the reader, who apparently is a dummy who doesn’t know what he’s looking for.

Domainers typically respond to these articles with the argument that parked pages provide a service by marrying people who are looking for something specific to businesses that provide that thing. Some domainers insist that these authors are simply jealous because they missed the boat.

Be that as it may, both these authors and the domainers are failing to mention one very basic service that parking provides: when a user navigates to a parked page, at least there’s something there. For example, I just registered several domains related to biometrics, including BiometricCars.com (I’m excited by the future possibilities of biometric devices). Anyone who navigates to that page is presented with links on relevant topics, including biometric security, biometric locks and biometric safes.

On the other hand, let’s say someone is curious about the use of biometric devices in motorcycles and navigates directly to BiometricMotorcycles.com. What happens? He gets a blank page with a “server not found” message, because at the time of this writing no one has registered this domain name (there’s a freebie for you, readers; it’s yours if you want it).

Which of these two experiences is more user friendly? Which provides more value?

Clearly a parked domain provides a fundamental service. There’s something there, and it provides relevant links to boot. How can anyone argue with that?



4 Comments to “Does Domain Name Parking Provide a Useful Service?”

  1. D | October 19th, 2007 at 7:59 pm

    Parking provides no benefit to anyone but the person getting paid for the ads. Wrap it up whatever way you want.

  2. Nick Wilsdon | October 21st, 2007 at 11:56 am

    In my view, there is no such thing as bad traffic. It’s all just a question of how much it costs vs. the conversions. If parking pages can direct users to buy products then they serve a useful purpose. Google has gone some of the way in letting advertisers bid separately on the content network but they do need to open this up to their partner network too.

    However parking page systems need a lot of work. They often seem to produce content irrelevant to the search query and seem a pretty blunt tool. Some domainers have realized this and are moving towards providing custom, targeted content. The Holy Grail here is doing this on a large enough scale at the right price. If the parking pages fund this development then they are putting money back into the web economy.

  3. Tony Duran | November 13th, 2007 at 5:05 pm

    Nice article. I also feel that parked pages provide some value to a surfer’s experience. However the biggest value, I think, is not that “There’s something there”. Instead the biggest benefit of a parked page is that it helps to filter or narrow down a surfer’s goals.

    By this I mean if I search for “cars” (for instance) that can mean a whole host of different things I am actually looking for. But if I encounter a parked page that helps me narrow down my search by make, model, location, accessories, etc, and then points me to sites where I can purchase these items, I would think that to be a useful service.

    A parked page then is a sort of targeted portal to help buyers find what they want. In fact sometimes a parked page might even show you categories you didn’t even think of in the topic you are looking for.

    By the way, what parking service are you using for BiometricCars.com ?

  4. W.H.A. | November 13th, 2007 at 6:00 pm

    Tony, thanks for your comments. That’s a TrafficClub page, but eventually I’ll move it over to Sedo. I have more experience with Sedo, they have great stats, and I usually get pretty good CTRs once I’ve optimized the page.

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