Contextual Ads on Parked Domains

Nice article from a few days ago over at CircleID titled Questioning Parked Domains and Google AdNonSense.

The author starts off by asking if contextual advertising is helping or hurting the web. He notes that on first blush, it appears to be a good idea. But, he digs a little deeper to see how it is being used in some instances, and decides that maybe it isn’t such a good idea:

To make money with contextual advertising you want your content to be bad. Yes, you want it to be bad. You do not want the user to like what you have on the webpage or find what they are looking for in hopes that after not finding it, they will either do another search in your embedded Google search box or they will click one of the contextual ads on the page in hopes of finding what they came there to find

I wonder how the advertisers feel about appearing on pages like these. Google recently published on patent application that described a method for advertisers to find good advertising partner, looking at such things as the quality of the content on the advertisers’ sites:

Determining prospective advertising hosts using data such as crawled documents and document access statistics.

If they follow through on that patent, and make that process a reality, will the number of scraper sites diminish? I’m not sure that they would. I think that has more to do with advertisers who are concerned with the quality of sites that show their brand, as well as the ad. But, many advertisers are more concerned with clickthroughs regardless of where their ads may be placed.

Danny Sullivan wrote a few articles about Google’s Adsense for Parked Domains program:

Google AdSense For Domains Program Overdue For Reform — And Yahoo & Microsoft Should Also Take Note.

Search Engines Making Millions Off Type-In Traffic From Domains

4 thoughts on “Contextual Ads on Parked Domains”

  1. I agree on the bad content thing in part. The content for one needs to be good enough to create relevant ads, and secondly should also bridge to higher paying ads. So it should be good content in terms of manipulating the contexts + ad relevance, but not so great in giving the user the info they want directly.

  2. Thanks, dcl

    I think that’s a good point to bring out. I was thinking more on this from the perspective of the pressures that a company like Google might have from different people.

    1. Benefit owners and shareholders of the company,
    2. Provide some incentive for content providers/owners of sites to show Google’s advertisements,
    2. Make advertising customers happy,
    3. Appear innovative and relevant to users of the services you offer.
    4. Profit

    There are some tensions in trying to fill all of those goal. There may be issues involved with having too many Adsense for parked domain sites appearing in search results, or other sites that are light on content, but which relevant enough to rank for a query.

    They may get some advertisers upset because of the context of where the ads are being seen, regardless of the amounts of clickthroughs.

    Some searchers may start thinking that the quality of the search engine is diminishing, when they keep on landing on pages that are primarily filled with ads.

    Is there a advertising saturation point, that searchers will tolerate, of the amount these “adwords for domains” pages (or similar pages that aren’t part of that program, but are light on content to encourage clicking)?

    Or are these types of pages becoming so overwhelming, as the author of the first article I linked to above, that all we are finding are “pages full of garbage that link to other pages full of garbage.”

    Or do many searchers think that search engines should return more and more relevant results over time, not expecting or understanding that many of the pages that they might consider spam could actually be part of Google’s advertising model? And when they don’t see improvements over time, they start searching elsewhere?

  3. I actually came here in searching for info on how to advertise on parked domains, but i guess it’s not worth it

  4. Hi John,

    Google has started sharing a little more about some of the many changes and tweaks they make to their ranking algorithm in their blogs, and one of those posts had this to say about parked domains:

    New “parked domain” classifier: This is a new algorithm for automatically detecting parked domains. Parked domains are placeholder sites that are seldom useful and often filled with ads. They typically don’t have valuable content for our users, so in most cases we prefer not to show them.

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