Archive for the ‘Domains’ Category

Google Ranks the Web’s Top Sites

May 27, 2010

Barry Schwartz at SEL posts on a new Google/DoubleClick AdPlanner ranking of the Internet’s top 1000 sites. This list is global, and the data come from installed Google toolbars and other sources.

Here are the top 25 sites according to the list:

Google has removed its own sites from the list, so no data on Google Maps traffic: %$#@!

The world’s top site is . . . Facebook with 540 million unique users. Yahoo is second and third (curiously). Bing is 13. Twitter comes in at 18, with 96 million uniques. Craigslist is 49th with 14 billion (with a “b”) page views.

Unfortunately there’s no ability to search the list, you have to page through it.


MerchantCircle Registering SMB Domains

April 22, 2009

Mike Blumenthal sent me a link to this post, where he describes the following:

It appears that Merchant Circle has purchased as many as 10,700 domains. These domain purchases have been going on for a number of months and are often in the format of MC has gone on to create a website for the business based on the unverified Merchant Circle record and appears to have done so without permission or engagement of the business . . .

Mike asks:

Is this MC’s newest SEO strategy to gain additional footing on the first page of Google? Are they taking cybersquatting to a new level to gain Maps traffic from the new local focused Google SERPS or are they just giving away domain names to businesses that “forgot” to buy them? I am trying to understand why MC would spend $70,000 on domain purchases, many of which have include the trade name for local businesses.

I haven’t spoken to MerchantCircle about this but will ask. I’m sure this is both an SEO strategy and another way to try and gain new customers/advertisers.

While this behavior is not illegal of course it certainly exists in a fairly gray area. The question in my mind is: does MC approach the businesses whose domains it has registered and, if so, what does MC tell the local SMBs about those domains?

Debating the Value of ‘Yellow Pages’

January 15, 2009

The ever-provocative Chris Smith pointed me to a blog post in which he criticizes the amount of money — $3.85 million — that AT&T reportedly paid for the domain “” Putting aside the price, I think the acquisition is part of AT&T’s consolidation of the “yellow pages” brand online.

Chris also mentions the nearly $100 million that BellSouth and SBC (which were merged and became AT&T) paid for “” several years ago. If you consider that second acquisition solely of a domain you probably feel the price tag was totally outrageous. If you consider the price tag the cost of the brand “yellow pages,” it’s not that much potentially. I was initially in the former camp but quickly became a member of the latter camp. 

Chris’ post discusses SEO issues but he opines about what he feels is the declining value of the brand “yellow pages”:

Fewer and fewer users are typing “yellow pages” into Google, as this graph demonstrates. It would’ve taken “” a good many years to repay for itself even when the traffic for “yellow pages” keyword searches was good, but with this declining trend in those searches very apparent, this is no longer a realistic longterm investment, and it will turn more rapidly into a major capital loss.

Considering this ongoing, downward trend, the monetary worth and traffic-bearing value of both “” and “” are declining. Many feel that the overall concept of “yellow pages” could be fast disappearing as well, and that will leave these as very dated-feeling trademarks only a short ways down the road. I’d say there are a very good number of young consumers today who don’t even know what “yellow pages” is! So, even the brand name value of these appears very short-lived.

I don’t necessarily agree that the brand value of yellow pages is eroding as fast as Chris suggests. But I do agree that yellow pages doesn’t have as strong a consumer association with local online in the way it does offline. 



As Oprah might say: What do y’all think?

What the Heck Is a ‘LocalSearchPuid’?

August 9, 2007

Gary Price noticed a bunch of new Microsoft domain registrations. Among them is the enigmatic “LocalSearchPuids.” What the heck is that? Price speculates: PUID = (Portable Unique IDentifier).

But what do you think? A local search “PUID” is:

  1. Portable Unique Identifier/ID
  2. A new ultra-portable micro PC device
  3. The local-search elves that Google is hiring to flesh out its Maps database and build local awareness of AdWords

Marchex’s Massive ‘Local Network’

June 27, 2007

If you can believe it, Marchex has simultaneously launched more than 100,000 local and vertical search sites representing over a billion pages. The move is probably unprecedented outside of a search index.

In May of 2006 Marchex acquired local search site OpenList and has used its technology assets and methodology to enable this launch. Before this acquisition, its domain portfolio business was essentially a collection of links to advertisers.


The rest of this post is at SEL. Here are my related posts about OpenList. Wanna Buy a Domain?

January 9, 2007

My colleague Brian Smith who blogs for Search Engine Land and has his own excellent blog, Comparison Engines, asked me to publicize that the domain is for sale.

How much is it worth? I would say at least one million dollars. 🙂 (not owned by Brian) is a B2B search engine.

Seriously, if you (or someone you know) is interested in the domain, contact Brian at “brian at”

What’s in a (Domain) Name?

October 27, 2006

InfernoThe WSJ’s Kevin Delaney writes (sub req’d) about the domain “” coming up for sale — a Halloween appropriate story: 🙂 is scheduled to be offered in a live auction organizers predict will draw bids of more than $1 million. The hot market for domain names, the addresses people often type in for Web sites, is being fueled by the surge in Internet advertising and the ease with which domain owners can make money from ads brokered by the likes of Google Inc. and Yahoo Inc. sold for about $12 million earlier this year and changed hands for $7.5 million. The big-money domain-name sales echo an earlier boom, when fetched $7.5 million in 1999. Today’s live auction of 300 names, by Seevast Corp.’s Moniker unit, includes more than a handful it predicts will generate bids of more than $1 million, including, and

Whether or not those domains justify those kinds of prices depends entirely on execution. Some of the most “intuitive” domains are “also-rans” in their respective spheres. For example, awkwardly named shopping sites “NexTag” and “PriceGrabber” considerably outperform the much stronger “”

There a numerous such examples where the category leader doesn’t have the best URL.

But if you’re building a brand around a URL, then the seven-digit prices may be justified in limited cases. (See my post on the absence of URLs and branding.) In my little local world, AT&T (then SBC) and BellSouth paid a reported $100 million for and then tossed out almost everything but the URL.

In one view of the world, “it’s the most expensive URL of all time.” In another view, AT&T bought the brand “yellow pages” on the Internet – something that no US publisher can own offline. Through that lens $100 million doesn’t seem like an outrageous sum.

But, the most “intuitive” brand in the IYP arena is not the traffic leader (per comScore):

  1. Yahoo! Sites — 23.9%
  2. Verizon SuperPages — 20.1%
  3. Google Sites — 12.5%
  4. — 12.0%
  5. Time Warner Network — 7.7%
  6. — 5.9%
  7. InfoSpace Network — 5.1%
  8. — 4.1%

What does Google mean? What about Yahoo!? What about eBay? And “Amazon” is a word but has nothing intrinsic to do with shopping. These top Internet brands executed and the brand followed.

Of course if you’ve got a brand/URL like “Revish,” “,” “Amigilia” or “Pytagor,” you put yourself at an automatic disadvantage because of the convoluted nature of your brand/URL.


From the WSJ — failed to sell: “ failed to sell during a live auction of Internet domain names on Friday, as no bidders met the $2.3 million reserve price set by its seller. Monte Cahn, chief executive of Seevast Corp.’s Moniker unit that held the auction, said bidding on exceeded $500,000, but that was far short of the minimum $2.3 million required for the online address to sell.”

Brands, Domains and Web 2.0

September 29, 2006

If you’re a traditional (offline) company you can create a domain name that doesn’t identically match your company name. For example, if you are “Widgets R Us” you could be or, and so on. Your offline brand and online presence don’t need to match 100%, although it’s desirable if they do.

Where everything breaks down is if you’re a pure Internet company. Then your domain is your brand. And there are virtually no domains left. Almost every word or word combination that isn’t pure gibberish has been registered. That’s why you see all these goofy and distorted new company names (unless they’ve bought the domain from someone else). It’s a backward way of doing branding.

Ordinarily one would sit in a room, come up with a brand and then establish a web presence reflective of that brand. But people nowadays have to back into a brand based on what domains are available (or pay the squatters’ extortion fees). Check out (itself an example). This a fascinating site that catalogs the Web 2.0 phenomenon in all its awkward-brand glory.

Only a fraction of these businesses will survive; so this will probably be the “Web2.0 graveyard” 18 months from now.