Domain Traffic Spikes? Time to Set Up Alerts

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By parking your domain name portfolio at a venue such as the Uni Market, you benefit from two things at the same time:

  • You receive offers for the domain names that are for sale, and
  • You get pay per click (PPC) revenue through the platform's ad supporting system

Let's face it: PPC revenue is not close to what it used to be a decade ago, and the reason is how Google and other search engines treat traffic these days.

Natural traffic is great to have, and typo-traffic can still arrive in large volumes, but do they pay your bills?

Unless you have some miracle domain, most likely no. With traffic arbitration thrown out the window, it's no longer feasible to redirect that traffic to higher paying sources. That fountain has been sucked dry, and with Google as the biggest ad provider it's not an acceptable practice.

In a nutshell: Money from ad clicks might generate revenue, but it will be considerably less over time.

Revenue isn't the only reason, however, that you should be keeping track of your active domain traffic. In other words, look at the big picture of your domain metrics, and don't sort your data based on how much money your domains generate.

Some domains create a steady amount of money, and receive the same amount of visitors and clicks daily. These "unicorns" are nice to have, but what about domains that spike in visitors, and yet produce little or no revenue?

This is the reason why you should be checking on your domain stats daily, and it's easy to do at the Uni Market. First, log into your account, go to the Market tab, and select the Market > Reporting option from the drop down menu.

From there, you can see the charts that quickly show the performance of your domain portfolio. Choose the Advanced Reports to switch to detailed view, and enter a list of domains you want to see more details on. Generate a report for a period of time, such as the last 30 days, and view the spreadsheet by the individual domain, or the period of time you're interested in.

Then zero in on spikes in traffic that should be explored more carefully, to produce additional data.

Domain traffic does not spike with no reason, it's a typical indication that parameters that change the traffic flow have changed. We're looking for upwards spikes, obviously, because a drop in traffic is not good news at all!

Such traffic spikes mean that a source of traffic has increased its contribution, or that a new source of traffic has been added. But the most important thing to consider is whether a new brand is using your exact domain keyword on a different TLD, ccTLD or gTLD.

When your .com spikes in traffic, perhaps a .net or .org were registered, or the second part of the keyword as a gTLD. For example if you have ExampleTech.com and someone registered Example.Tech, there will be traffic leakage to your two word domain. It's just the way things work on the Internet.

This is the time to set up Google alerts to your domain's keyword, to try to identify the source of traffic. Google alerts are free, you can specify their time range, and control the maximum volume of email reports you can receive. So if our fictional "Example Tech" company just released a seed funding press release, Google will find that for you.

If you want to get more serious, you can try two additional paid services that are available.

DomainTools offers a powerful set of tools that once set up can provide you with daily reports on the "brand" or domain name you want to monitor. Another option is to use ZFBot, a great tool that can search millions of domain zone files, for the string matching your domain that is spiking in traffic. You can search for the exact match across most TLDs, gTLDs, and some ccTLDs, or as part of a longer string, with numbers and dashes either turned on or off. Lastly, Estibot offers another such option to monitor domains added to your portfolio for related domain registrations; it's a paid service.

Once you confirm that someone else's domain name is now leaking traffic over to your domain name, it's time to consider your action options. If you want to sell your domain to this new potential buyer, you must first determine your asking price, knowing who the other party is, and what their finances look like.

Pro tip: check the USPTO, Google or other databases for existing or pending marks, and make sure the PPC keywords on your domain are related to the primary meaning of the domain keywords and unrelated to the goods or services associated with the mark to avoid potential problems, if the keywords start to drift toward the trademark usage.

Conclusion: Domain metrics are important to peruse and analyze, even when the PPC revenue these domains generate is insignificant. By setting up Google alerts, and by monitoring the registration of domain names related to yours, you can possibly identify the source and prepare yourself for a potential sale. Being proactive is part of the domain name game!


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