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An untapped Internet marketing opportunity

Now suppose you wanted to buy your special someone a nice diamond ring. You’d probably type “diamond ring” into Google, right? So would I. But what would your not-so-savvy dad do? Is it possible that he’d type “nicediamondring.com” into the address bar of his browser? Read on to find out how you can advertise to folks like your dad.


Sendori.com wants to help advertisers reach this heretofore untapped audience. If your target market knows how to use search engines, you already know how to reach them. (I know a great book to buy if you don’t.) But what about those not-terribly-geeky people who don’t know how to use search engines? Why would you want to ignore them and only market to the smart?
You might think that there are very few people who skip the search engine and type in that weird domain name, but you’d be wrong. It happens over a million times a day, according to Sendori.com VP of Sales, John Appler. And what happens to these folks today? They get a 404 error, if the owner of the domain has not created a site. Or they get sent to one of those lovely “parked” domain pages that tries to induce an AdSense click to compensate its owner.
Sendori.com has a better idea. Why not send the visitor to a brand name advertiser who pays the domain owners for the privilege? If the payment is more than what the domain holders can make from AdSense on a parked domain, then they would happily go along. And isn’t that a better outcome for the visitor also? Perhaps it isn’t the exact site they wanted, but it sure beats a parked domain.
Here’s how it works. Sendori.com has applied for a patent for technology that treats parked domains as a direct navigation marketplace. Advertisers bid on traffic to their site, no different than the way they’d bid on keywords in Google. So, in our example, any advertiser can bid on “nicediamondring.com” in hopes that the domain owners would accept the bid. UPDATE: John Appler of Sendori.com clarified that it’s even simpler—advertisers bid on keywords just like with Google and Sendori matches the domains to those keywords. Thanks, John.
The owner of that domain is presented with the bid (marked up just a touch to provide Sendori.com with a tidy profit) and decide to accept it or reject it. Once accepted, the traffic that would have flowed to the parked domain page flows instead to the page the advertiser chooses.
Try it for yourself to see how it works. Type in “nicediamondring.com” into the address bar of your browser—it brings up the home page for DeBeers, the diamond merchant. From the advertiser’s point of view, this is no different from bidding on search keywords. If you’d bid on “nice diamond ring” in Google, why wouldn’t you bid on that domain name in Sendori.com’s auction?
Ofer Ronen, the CEO and Founder of Sendori.com, explained to me how it works. When the domain name owner accepts a bid for traffic, his home page is given a 302 temporary redirect to the page named by the advertiser. Sendori.com counts each visitor sent by the redirect so that the advertiser can be billed and the domain owner can be paid. Sendori.com manages the marketplace, so that the advertiser or the domain holder can stop the redirection at any time. (Or another advertiser might come along to outbid the first.)
Ofer calls Sendori.com a “marketplace for direct navigation search”—I know it’s a mouthful, but that is the way that advertisers should think about this opportunity. Today, all these folks typing in direct navigation domain names are landing on parked pages, where very few are captured by advertisers. Instead, they type in something else, slap their forehead and go to Google, or take some other step. Maybe you can intercept them in any of those places, but wouldn’t it have been easier to get them direct to your site when they typed in the domain name? That’s what Sendori.com can do for you.
Now, you might be surprised to know that Sendori.com already controls the traffic for 30 million visitors to these domains a month. But that’s not even the best news. According to John, Efficient Frontier issued a report last June that verified that direct navigation searchers have much higher conversion rates than those from search, while costing 25% to 50% less. Jupiter Research is calling direct navigation “the largest untapped market for paid search advertisers.”
Now, some might criticize Sendori.com for benefiting folks that have done nothing more than plunked down a few bucks for a domain name. True, if Sendori.com makes domain squatting more lucrative than it is today, it might prompt more of that behavior. But I think that the good outweighs any harm. Squatters already have bought up millions of domains and the experience of landing on one of these parked sites is universally bad. So why not create a better experience for visitors and provide a better vehicle for advertisers at the same time?
Your dad might want a nice diamond ring, but I want a nice way to reach my customers at lower cost. What about you?

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Mike Moran

Mike Moran is an expert in digital marketing, search technology, social media, text analytics, web personalization, and web metrics, who, as a Certified Speaking Professional, regularly makes speaking appearances. Mike’s previous appearances include keynote speaking appearances worldwide. Mike serves as a senior strategist for Converseon, an AI powered consumer intelligence technology and consulting firm. He is also a senior strategist for SoloSegment, a marketing automation software solutions and services firm. Mike also serves as a member of the Board of Directors of SEMPO. Mike spent 30 years at IBM, rising to Distinguished Engineer, an executive-level technical position. Mike held various roles in his IBM career, including eight years at IBM’s customer-facing website, ibm.com, most recently as the Manager of ibm.com Web Experience, where he led 65 information architects, web designers, webmasters, programmers, and technical architects around the world. Mike's newest book is Outside-In Marketing with world-renowned author James Mathewson. He is co-author of the best-selling Search Engine Marketing, Inc. (with fellow search marketing expert Bill Hunt), now in its Third Edition. Mike is also the author of the acclaimed internet marketing book, Do It Wrong Quickly: How the Web Changes the Old Marketing Rules, named one of best business books of 2007 by the Miami Herald. Mike founded and writes for Biznology® and writes regularly for other blogs. In addition to Mike’s broad technical background, he holds an Advanced Certificate in Market Management Practice from the Royal UK Charter Institute of Marketing and is a Visiting Lecturer at the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business. He also teaches at Rutgers Business School. He is a Senior Fellow at the Society for New Communications Research. Mike worked at ibm.com from 1998 through 2006, pioneering IBM’s successful search marketing program. IBM’s website of over two million pages was a classic “big company” website that has traditionally been difficult to optimize for search marketing. Mike, working with Bill Hunt, developed a strategy for search engine marketing that works for any business, large or small. Moran and Hunt spearheaded IBM’s content improvement that has resulted in dramatic gains in traffic from Google and other internet portals.

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