Archive for April, 2008

How you can control the internet? – An Amazing Story!

April 14, 08 by Bharani

I came across the story of Kevin Ham, while I was researching some facts. Kevin Ham, is the most powerful domainer in the world with over 300,000 domains under his belt!

* He is earning around $70 million in revenue from the domains that he owns (primarily through ads served on the domains that he has parked)! A small example: He owns a domain name called “weddingshoes.com” and he earns around $9,100 per year through that domain. He incurred $8 to register the domain and spends $7 per year to maintain it!

* He is the man behind a very smart domain scheme – Many people mistakenly type “.cm” instead of “.com” in the browser URL bar. “.cm” is TLD for the country Cameroon. He stuck a deal with the prime-minister of Cameroon, wherein, he received rights to redirect all “.cm” domains to a website called Agoga.com. The site is filled with ads from Yahoo!

* His team installed a line of code called “wildcard” to redirect all unregistered “.cm” domains to “agoga.com”. The code is installed in the servers owned by Camtel, Cameroon’s domain registry. Revenue generated from “agoga.com” is shared with Cameroor government!

* He is in the process of extending the same scheme to countries like Columbia (.co), oman (.om), Niger (.ne) and Ethiopia (.et). These TLDs have spelling variation of “.com” and “.net” respectively! He is fighting out the legal suits relating to the idea..nevertheless, he exploited the loophole very well!

* Agoga.com receives 8 million unique visitors every month!

* He exploited the concept called “Domain tasting”. Most domain booking sites offer a free trial period (to protect the customers who mistakenly purchase a wrong domain name). He used this mechanism to book more domains and to see which ones are bringing traffic and which one’s aren’t!

* Ham, figured out that revenue based on CPC model may not be sustainable in the long run. So, he is converting some of his best “domain names” to mini-media companies. He is hiring more than 150 designers, engineers, salespeople and editorial folks!

Other learnings:

* Verisign publishes a “root zone” file, a file containing a list of millions of registered domain names.

* Typo-squatting: A term referring to the act of grabbing domain names with typographical variations of established trademarks

* Lots of people type keywords that they are looking for in the URL Bar of the browser and combine them with “.com” or “.net”. This is called as “Direction Navigation”. There are other lots of people, who prefer typing the actual url/website address in google search box/bar and navigate to the actual website from there on. Those are called as “Navigational Searches”!

* Some browsers are capable of fixing url typos! (Curious how this is done?)

* Internet explorer catches unregistered domains and redirects to a microsoft page

Read the actual story here:

Domain Parking Industry: Some facts!

April 14, 08 by Bharani

How many times you typed a query in google and landed up in Parked domain/site (a site filled with text-ads with words related to your keyword)? I am sure many of you are annoyed by such domains…But such domains are slowly becoming a force to reckon with! There are so many millions of people on the planet who are not immune to text-ads yet and they do click on the ads invariably….

Some Facts!

Domaining industry is at estimated $2 billion, as people buy and sell domain names similar to stocks and property.

Domain industry to reach $4 billion by 2010, as people and businesses continue to purchase about 90,000 domain names every day.

As of April 2007, more than 128 million domain names registered worldwide!

Total Ad revenues from Parked domains was $800 million in 2006.

Combined Ad-revenue for Google and Yahoo in 2006 is $7.88 billion.

Combining the above two facts, and assuming that most of the parked domains are filled with text-ads from google and yahoo, Parked domains are contributing almost 10% of ad-revenues to google and yahoo!

Verisign has indicated that 23% of all registered domains are parked!

We can split ad channels into content channel (contextual ads on content pages) and domain channels (contextual ads on parked domains!). The domain channel has been growing at 37.5% and is fast cannibalizing the content channel.

Combining the above two facts, it’s evident that domain channel is gaining bargaining power and domain channel is something that google and yahoo needs to careful with. As of now the domain channel is largely fragmented, but just a question of time before it gets organized and proves to be a significant chunk of page views

DangDang – Amazon of China!

April 10, 08 by Bharani

Dangdang.com is the biggest online retail store in china, popularly called as “Amazon of China”.

Competitors:
Joyo.com (Now, amazon.cn)
bol.com
store.sohu.com (Now, amazon.cn)
cp1897.com

Challenges (initial stages)
1. Low internet penetration (0.14/1000 in 1999)
2. Low bandwidth/transfer rate (33.3 kbps)
3. Avoidance of Credit card for payments.
4. Lack of nation-wide courier services like FedEx.

Promotional Techniques:

1. “Lucky Time Activity” – A randomly chosen lucky hour each day, during which all purchases are made free.
2. “An E-love story” – A colloborating book authoring exercise involving the site users!
3. Membership scheme/Loyalty programs – Reward points/gifts depending on the buying patterns.

Interestingly, Amazon.com has already swallowed 2-3 major online bookstores in china. Amazon did try to swallow Dangdang, but dangdang resisted. Amazon offered $150m USD for 70-80% stake. Dangdang rationalized saying that it was interested in investor and not in a buy-out. Sources say that, Dangdang actually was employing this tactic (Delaying) to up the price offer from Amazon, instead it backfired, as Amazon went on to buy Dangdang’s nearest competitor Joyo.com for a meagre 75 million dollars!

Similar to paypal.com, a popular online payment solution, China has it’s own online payment solution in the form of yeepay.com. Yeepay partnered with various online stores including Dangdang.com. This partnership helped dangdang.com in a significant way to increase the online purchase tendency among the users. It’s worthwhile to note that yeepay has both online and offline payment collection mechanisms! A combination non-existent in india!

Marketing Methods – All OUT

April 09, 08 by Bharani

KAPL (Karamchand Appliances Private Limited), the parent company behind the brand “All out”, was the first-mover in the vaporizer mosquito repellant segment. Their initial success was attributed to the technological innovation (as far as India is concerned. Actually, the technology was borrowed from a Japanese firm called EARTH), first-mover-advantage and mainly to their marketing. Some of the marketing techniques employed by them:

* Television ads: They employed two major creative agencies namely Avenues and HTA to created tele ads. But the group wasn’t happy with the results and the message conveyed through the ads. Eventually, they came up with their own versions using animated version of frog slurpping all the mosquitoes. The ad was a huge success. Again, the group borrowed the idea from Japan!

* Advertisement on Video-cassettes: Video-cassettes were the dominant home-movie-watching means during 90’s. Moreover, the group found that every video cassette was duplicated 20 times in the grey market. So, they started advertising in the video cassettes. Needless to say, the move was a big success in spreading the brand awareness. This move was initially criticized by the creative agencies but later the agencies had to eat their own words!

* Advertisement on Radio: Evening programs and Cricket commentaries were the targets as far as the Radio was concerned (AIR).

* Advertisement on Television: The group chose to sponsor the news program rather than sponsoring heavy-weight programs like KBC.

* Sponsoring song/dance sequence: The group experimented with sponsoring every song/dance sequence in movies on television and Satellite channels. Since every movie had atleast 4-5 songs and equal number of fighting scenes, audience ended up watching the ad atleast 5 times. The channel surfing was relatively less prevalent during those days! The result: Brand attained high mind-share among the customers!

Caveat: A survey revealed later that, many audience were not happy with repetitive viewing of same ads. Experts advised that such repeated ads telecast might prove counter-productive if continued. So, such kind of campaigns is useful for short periods…but for longer periods, it’s best to reduce the frequency of ads.

* Exchange scheme: Years later after the launch of the product, the group initiated “Deadly exchange scheme”, where a customer can exchange mat machine of any brand for the vaporizer. This move helped the growth of vaporizer segment.