Parking companies are handcuffed in many ways by their relationship with Google and Yahoo, who essentially control the framework by which ads are shown on parking pages. Parking companies, however, now appear to realize the necessity of working with Google and Yahoo to develop options which allow a domain owner to exclude categories of ads which are shown on parked pages. Based on several conversations with parking companies at the recent T.R.A.F.F.I.C show that keyword category and trademark exclusion will soon be available.
The reason why this functionality is so critical is because domainers risk losing their most valuable domain properties by parking them. The software for parking companies naturally optimizes the AdWord listings towards the ad categories which end-users click on the most. If there is trademark-related traffic coming to that page, the most likely ads being clicked on are those related to the trademark. This model tends to push the parked page towards the most traffic. When your domain is identical or similar to a trademark holder’s website, this model also tends to push the parked page directly into allegations of cybersquatting.
I’ve always said that domainers cannot have it both ways. They cannot rely on the “descriptive” “generic” defense and at the same time park those domains and serve ads which are in the exact same market or category as the trademark holder. As previously discussed, virtually every generic or descriptive set of words has some trademark issues internationally. While serving up ads which exploit the trademark holder’s web presence and traffic adds PPC revenue, it creates serious risk of losing that domain in a domain dispute resolution policy proceeding based on allegations of cybersquatting.
We have advised domain portfolio owners to remove parking from their most valuable domain properties in order to avoid that parked page showing up as Exhibit A in a cybersquatting complaint. We look forward to the day when domainers can actively identify potential trademark problems and exclude those keyword categories from their PPC offerings in order to better insulate themselves against allegations of cybersquatting. This functionality will be a major step forward for domainers who take the long-term view that their domains will continue to appreciate in value.
If anyone is aware of any domain parking company which includes the functionality noted above, please let us know or post a comment here. While there have been rumblings of such functionality, we have not seen any in action yet.