This weekend I did a Q&A session at the Domain Roundtable Conference. It was an hour and a half of answering various questions. Rand Fishkin and John Andrews both did write-ups of the session. Rand and John were both on an SEO panel after me, which I enjoyed.
This was my first domain-related conference, and the vibe was interesting. It was smaller than a typical search conference, but many people seemed to know each other. I enjoyed seeing a few people in the audience that I’ve read about. People weren’t incredibly eager to volunteer specific sites to discuss, but I can understand that. Overall I definitely enjoyed the conference and talking to a different type of audience.
I kept a mental list of the places that I mentioned, and I remember talking about these Google resources:
- Google’s webmaster blog. Someone asked about moving a site to a different domain and we had just done a post about how to move your domain.
- Google Ad Manager lets you sell and manage ads on your site. You can also choose to use AdSense for the ads that you haven’t sold.
- Google’s webmaster portal. Someone bought a domain that they thought might have been bad in a former life. I told them that they should file a reconsideration request using the form in the webmaster console.
- Google’s DMCA Policies. In case you want to report copyright infringement to Google. The person already knew how to do a DMCA complaint to the webhost that was serving up infringing content.
- Google’s quality guidelines. Someone said that they had 800 links on a web page. I recommended that they keep it to under 100 or so, as we mention in the technical part of our guidelines.
One point that I wanted to make is that lots of people seem to buy domains for the joy of finding a “diamond in the rough” — a nice domain name at a good price. And plenty of people are into domaining as a way to make money. But only one person in the audience raised their hand when I asked how many folks really got into the domain business to build out and develop the content on domains. To me, that means there’s some opportunity there. For example, suppose you bought dullest.com for $1000 (full disclosure: I own dullest.com, but I paid about ten bucks for it.) If you’re not doing anything with it, you could make a deal with a blogger or web designer. The blogger could create content for the site, and if/when dullest.com was sold, the blogger would get a fraction of the profit from selling the domain. You probably wouldn’t do that with every domain in your portfolio of course, but if you had some good domains and they were just sitting around empty, it might not be a bad way to demonstrate the value of a domain. It’s Earth Day today, and both earthday.com and earthday.org are parked. If someone could develop one of those sites, that might be worth a cut of the sale. Who knows, maybe this is a stupid idea — or maybe someone is already doing it — but I liked the idea of giving an aspiring writer/designer/programmer/blogger some equity if they could improve the selling price of a domain.
Next up, I’m speaking at the Web 2.0 Expo this week. Tomorrow (Wednesday) I’ll be participating in a Speed Q&A: 5 tables, 5 experts, and the experts rotate to a new table every 10 minutes. The Web 2.0 Expo costs money, but I think you can get into the Speed Q&A part of the conference for free. If you decide to stop by, please bring questions that everyone would be interested in, not just “Can you critique my site for me?”
I’m also doing a short keynote (ten minutes) on Friday speaking about “What Google Knows About Spam.” I’m struggling with what exactly to say. On one hand, Google knows a lot about spam, as illustrated by this graph:
On the other hand, I don’t want to disclose things that would benefit people that try to spam. I’m sure I’ll come up with something by Friday. By the way, that danger dial-ish diagram above is a Google-o-meter graph.