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September 12, 2012

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Latest news of the domain name industry - The Next Big Thing in Domain Monetization?: New Companies Are  Making the Dream of Affordable Mass Development a Reality Founder Craig Rowe
speaking at the T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Down
Under conference (November 2008)

By Ron Jackson 

Though just celebrated its 3rd birthday, the company is the granddaddy of the rapidly expanding mass domain development space. Craig Rowe launched the company in March 2006 and he continues to manage the product development and day to day growth of WhyPark.  He has been active in domain development since 1998 and has built and sold a number of sites and successful, web-based services.  

Others who play key roles at the company are Stephen Douglas, the VP of Business Development (responsible for managing large accounts and creating partnerships for add-on services, content, etc.), Rod Underhill , co-founder of, who is an advisor to WhyPark and Alan Macomber who is both an investor and Board Director.

Rowe told us "WhyPark was built out of seeing a need for doing something more with domains, but in a mass scale environment.  There’s 

such a large market for domains that are great names, but have no traffic and never will without development.  WhyPark has been built from the ground up focusing on the needs and requirements of domainers:  inexpensive, easy to scale, focused on traffic and revenue growth."

Stephen Douglas added "it is my belief that WhyPark is the "Evolution of Domain Monetization™" for domain investors, because using WhyPark allows the domainer to choose many different paths to obtain revenue." Rowe and Douglas responded to additional questions I had about WhyPark's service in the interview below.

DN Journal: Let's start with some specific details about the WhyPark program – how you attack the problem of developing a large number of sites at an affordable cost.  

WhyPark: WhyPark is unique in that we match full-text, licensed content with a domain name’s theme based on relevancy.  To get started, there’s a one-time fee of $99 to support up to 100 domains.  More domains can be added at anytime, and there are discounts for larger accounts.  There are no monthly fees, although we do offer subscription based options that include
additional features like a greater range of premium content, image hosting, discounts on our managed and promotional services, automated newsletter options, etc.  

Development within WhyPark is as easy as filling out forms, choosing categories and layouts for your domains and pointing the nameservers to us.  We then match those keywords with our growing database of content to create highly relevant, niche sites that typically have about 35 pages per site.  We don’t use RSS feeds for content, which his really important, since the focus is on keeping a user on your domain and bringing them back, rather than immediately pushing them out. 

DN Journal: While these sites are often referred to as mini-sites, many of the current services allow domain owners to add their own content and advertisers (or feeds) to further the development process. To what degree does your system allow this?  Does your service allow a domain owner, to plug in third party content from a source like Tinbu for example?  

WhyPark: Since we launched in 2006, we’ve always allowed our customers to customize their sites on WhyPark.  That includes the ability to customize layouts, add unique pages of custom content and manage how they want to monetize their domains; whether that be through our integrated PPC feed or by using their third-party ad feeds, CPA offers, text links, etc.  

Yes, customers could use Tinbu modules as well, and we’ve been talking with them about creating easy integration of their modules.  Our focus has always been on providing tools to make it easy to launch and customize domains.

Stephen Douglas,
VP, Business Development

DN Journal: The #1 question on domain owner’s minds will be, will this service make more money for me than parking the same domains?

WhyPark: WhyPark's business model is one that isn't meant or intended to compete with "traditional" PPC companies. Our focus is on developing out those domains that wouldn’t otherwise make revenue through parking.  In terms of direct monetization, I’d say that parking performs better in the short-term on a revenue per visitor basis.  You’re getting a visitor to the site and offering them only paid options to leave, or back out of the site.  However, you always need fresh visitors since you won’t get repeat traffic or build new traffic through new incoming links, referrals, etc.  

Development, whether through WhyPark or anyone else, is a long-term commitment where you’re creating value for the visitor.  We’ve been online for 3 years now, so we do have that track record of building sustainable sites that continue to grow in revenue and traffic.  We have a mature platform that continues to evolve with changes in our industry and in user behavior.  We’re always honest with our customers though that if you have very short-term goals and already have substantial revenue with a parking service, then you’re in good hands.  If you want to build more traffic and create a sustainable business model with new options for traffic outside of just type-in, then you need to develop.  For that huge percentage of domains that do not have any traffic, you’ll need to develop to earn any revenue and build up traffic.  

Just as landscaping gives homes "curb appeal,"
making them easier to sell, content can 
do the same thing for domain names.

DN Journal: Many developers say there are additional benefits, beyond immediate monetization, to moving beyond the parking page. For example, more “curb appeal” for potential buyers, less likelihood of inadvertent trademark infringement (from ads served by the PPC company), etc. What do you see as the added benefits of following at least a minimal development strategy?  

WhyPark:  Relevant content on a domain is important for a domain investor who owns non-performing domains that still have potential resale or development value.  By developing a domain, there’s so 

much more potential to continually build new traffic and revenue rather than waiting for it to appear someday, or watch as ad blindness will erode the traffic and revenue that may exist on that domain today.  Some other benefits of development:   

• Content will help get the domain indexed by search engines.  Parking your domain will never get visibility outside of traffic that already exists on the domain.

•  Content can give the domain name credibility, and customizing the content regularly may help you get return visitors.

• Content can give the domain name "curb appeal" as you put it, for potential buyers. Our experience in the past has been end-users don't see the value of a domain that is just sitting with a page full of sponsored links on it. It's similar to a home buyer - real estate agents know that having a home nicely accommodated with furniture and accessories helps potential buyers "get a feel" for that property’s potential and will increase the likelihood of a sale.

• Developing a generic domain can help with protection from trademark infringement on generic terms as well.  By developing content related to the generic term and not related to the company that may own that generic trademark, development can help protect you from willful infringement of a trademark.  It shows that your interest in the domain is genuine and focused on the theme of the generic term only and not of a company’s trademark.  

DN Journal: Parking is a well established industry with many major players. Your service category is the new kid on the block. How do you see the equilibrium between these two sectors (parking and mini-site development) changing over the next couple of years – do they both hold their own, does the balance of power shift, etc?  

WhyPark: I see there being a place for parking companies and development.  Parking does a great job at monetizing existing traffic with very little effort being required from the domainer.  However, domain development is going to be required for building traffic and revenue on good domains that simply have little or no traffic or revenue.  

When PPC was doing well, domainers could more easily afford to carry those good names even though there wasn’t revenue there.  Now, as PPC declines, a decision has to be made to sell those domains in a buyer’s market, hold onto them and have a less profitable portfolio, or develop the names and bring them to life.  Development gives those domains a chance at new revenue and traffic.  WhyPark does this very inexpensively and focuses on making the process quick, easy and customizable for domainers.  

I don’t necessarily see parking declining on those domains that do well.  It’s simply too easy to keep them parked and collect the revenue, even if it’s declining.  However, I do 

think you’ll see a mass migration of underperforming domains from parking companies to development platforms like WhyPark as domainers see the need to develop as a hedge against declining PPC revenue, and an increasingly more sophisticated visitor who can quickly discern a page of ads from a real site.  

DN Journal: Thank you for taking time to give us this insight into WhyPark's mass development solution. Is there anything you would like to ad before we close?  

WhyPark:  In Summation:  WhyPark provides a wide variety of ways to help a domainer realize their domain's value if they aren't getting adequate returns from PPC. We have a mature platform in place to help domainers easily develop new traffic and revenue from their underperforming domains.   

The satisfaction from seeing a domain name start to blossom with content can be inspiring to the domain investor in providing new ideas on how to monetize the domain, while increasing the traffic and revenue. With WhyPark, we are planting the seed, and providing easy and inexpensive tools to help your domain grow.

Click any of the links in this table to learn about the mass website development services provided by other companies featured in this DN Journal Cover Story

Bonus profile of content provider

Click Here to Go to Page 1 of This DN Journal Cover Story


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