Traffic Quality is paramount
While I am just starting to get into the domain game with some personal investments, I am a sizable buyer of this traffic through various search engines and other products. Earlier this week Frank Schilling wrote about traffic quality. For those of you who do not know Frank, he is very insightful and his blog is well worth your time and effort.
In this post he talks about how the potential for good traffic sources to have their CPCs adjusted lower because they are lumped in with lots of poor quality traffic.
I am in the process of buying lots of names and parking them while I wait to either develop or sell them. I do not have much traffic, but most of the niches are of high enough quality as to be able to pay the annual domain bill with just one or two clicks.
I have now tried 3 different services and am finding the value of similar clicks varies wildly. I am not a large enough traffic volume to get in to any of the “elite” programs so I am just left with what will take me.
As a sizable buyer of this traffic, I noticed one of the better known and I assume well respected players in parking start to show up in my Google content reports no longer as Parked Pages, but actually start to show up as their own name. Not sure why this happened, but it did happen about 3 weeks back.
Assuming that most parked traffic is valuable, I asked one of my analysts to take a close look at conversion rate with my eye on trying to site target or otherwise increase my volume from this player. What we learned shocked me. The CR from this one traffic partner which was 5% of that accounts traffic, was 0.6% at a CPC almost 30% higher than my average.
The traffic quality was horrible and it was expensive as well. I would have found this in our end of month report, but I was so excited at finding the potential ability to exploit an opportunity that I expedited the process. Turns out this one partner was creating a drag of about $1200 a day in profit from this poor traffic quality. I quickly checked out the data on my other content accounts and learned that this was not an isolated event. I was losing money on this parking company on every single account I have, even some of my personal stuff.
Now finding poor converting partners and turning them off is not that unusual. What is unusual is that this particular parking company not only took the initiative to make sure that Google reports broke out their traffic, but they did not seem to care that they were mostly representing junk traffic. My conversion rate was so radically different (and the traffic volume pretty high) that this was very likely click fraud on some level.
If you are a legitimate domain owner and just happened to have one of your domains sending me traffic, you have just lost out on about 3 of the top 7 names in that industry, to be replaced with much lower paying arbitrage type traffic. Their was obviously some legitimate traffic that if isolated would probably be profitable to us, but when surrounded by all of the bad company we cannot afford to buy your traffic any longer.
I am sure some domain parking companies are very vigilant about traffic quality and very protective of their reputations, those should allow Google to isolate them so sophisticated traffic buyers can find and bid directly at your high quality traffic. While others seem to sell my Google ad results to any 2 bit punk with a dial-up connection that thinks they can have friends click on them and make some money.
This is a 2 way street and I now find myself to be standing in the middle of it. I am willing to pay a very high and fair wage to traffic sellers of good quality, while I am unwilling to even think about bidding on poor quality traffic. At the same time, I have found a few domains that get enough traffic to be worth parking them, the traffic is typed in generics so likely decent quality since that person has just stated that they are looking for that service by typing it in. Yet I wonder if I am hanging out in a bad neighborhood without even knowing it.
In the future I expect to see far more visibility from all major sellers of traffic which will allow buyers to pick and choose based upon quality.
As an advertiser, are you buying quality traffic and not buying bad traffic? Do you take the time to find out?
As a domainer, are you making sure to surround yourself with only other quality sites? The kicker here is how can you even tell?