Domain Speculation a Bust for Palin Squatters, Pay-Per-Click Affiliates Doing Well

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Upcoming election will quickly end domain flipping frenzy for either McCain/Palin or Obama/Biden cyber-squatters. Pay-per-click affiliate sites better investment, ethical questions aside.

I'm not trying to extort anybody. I think I provide a valuable service by using obscure domains to direct lost people back to the information they are really looking for.

Of the 537 Sarah Palin related domains tracked by ScrapeGoat.com's data analytics service, zero ROI is the standard for election ticket speculators. Even impressive catches like McCainPalin2008.com and VicePresidentPalin.com have failed to attract interest from potential buyers. And, for at least one side, time is running out.

With the election just days away, the inherent value in domains such as eSarahPalin.com (a cool $10 million on eBay) is rapidly diminishing. Should the McCain ticket fail to conquer the Obama ticket in November, the owners of such pricey names might have a hard time selling them for enough money to buy lunch. The inverse holds true for domains such as jobamasucks.com and obidensucks.com whose registrants are trying to make a quick buck off of these popular "sucks" monikers.

However, in the current economic situation, an investment that can buy you a lunch or two might not be such a bad idea. Although disappointed that his investment in WhoIsPalin.com and electSarahPalin.com did not yield any quick buyers, Aaron Willis reports he is still getting a great return on his $20 registration fees.

Instead of pointing the domains to eBay or other after-market sales venue, Willis earns revenue each time a site visitor clicks on one of the pay-per-click advertisements shown on the domain websites via an affiliate commission. "Much better returns than my stock portfolio is giving me at the moment," says Willis, "Sarah Palin has a long political career ahead of her regardless of this election's outcome. I expect to continue getting bits of traffic for years to come." With a couple of high quality domains under his control, he may be right.

An analysis of the traffic going to Willis' two sites show potential earnings of thousands of dollars over the next few years--even if site visits dwindle to a fraction of what they are with Palin in the national spotlight. But Willis hopes as thousands of speculators abandon their Palin domains, many of their uncaptured visitors will find their way to one of his sites.

Of course all of this this begs the ethical questions of making money off of someone else's name.

Dan Banescu learned the value of pay-per-click affiliate commission years ago when Red Hat shut down his redhat9.com and LinuxFast.com websites where he shipped CD copies of the free operating system for dialup users who were unable to wait for the large files to download. "After the dispute with Red Hat, I quit burning CDs and put up pay-per-click ads instead. Red Hat didn't have a problem with that as most ads back then went to them anyways and I made more money than I ever did mailing CDs," said Banescu.

Banescu was quick to jump on the political "sucks" wagon, as well--buying up names such as mcpalinsucks.com and McCainPalinSucks.com--but plans to let them expire once post election traffic subsides.

When cornered about the moral concerns of registering someone else's name, Banescu replied, "I'm not trying to extort anybody. I think I provide a valuable service by using obscure domains to direct lost people back to the information they are really looking for." Ironically, the McCain/Palin "sucks" domains contain positive ads redirecting surfers back to the official McCain campaign site.

Ethical dilemmas aside, as people are busy restructuring dismal investment portfolios, the math on registering a few lunch-money domain names might just add up. Holding a domain hostage, hoping somebody will pay a large ransom does not.

About ScrapeGoat:
ScrapeGoat.com is a data mining company specializing in web reputation management, task automation, data aggregation and analytics.

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Aaron Ross, Advanced Development Manager
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