Tag Archives: Google

GoDaddy Acquires 200,000 Domains For $28m From Marchex

Marchex logoGoDaddy has acquired the domain name portfolio business of Marchex a mobile advertising analytics company. The transaction included approximately 200,000 domain names and was completed for $28.1 million in cash plus $6.7 million in direct domain sales by Marchex since January 2015.

Marchex made the sale so as they can focus on their core business of mobile advertising analytics.

“Our complete focus is on establishing Marchex as the world’s leading mobile advertising analytics company,” said Pete Christothoulou, Marchex Chief Executive Officer. “A significant and growing majority of the consumer engagement and sales driven by mobile advertising happens offline, such as through phone calls. Narrowing our focus on this opportunity, while growing our balance sheet, strengthens our ability to continue delivering technology solutions that bring accountability to mobile advertising and transform business performance for our clients.”

With an average price of around $140 per domain, it suggests there are some quality domains in the portfolio.

“GoDaddy views this as a unique opportunity to acquire a large group of high quality names and make them available to businesses worldwide,” said GoDaddy Senior Vice President and General Manager Mike McLaughlin. “These names have not been generally available to the public. This means we’re able to bring more visibility and liquidity into the market for businesses everywhere. This is not a new direction for us, we have no plans to acquire additional domain names or expiring names.”

This acquisition builds on GoDaddy’s broader strategy to combine the primary and secondary domain name markets. GoDaddy acquired the world’s largest premium domain marketplace, Afternic, in Sept. 2013 and has now extended that technology platform to significantly increase the number of premium domain names available in its search results.

To see the list of names GoDaddy acquired, see www.NameFind.com

Google targets multiple domain names in next search algorithm update

Sydney gTLD plain logoGoogle announced this week it will soon implement a change to its search algorithm to penalise websites that use ‘doorway pages’ and multiple domain names to increase their rank in search results.

In summary, this means businesses that use keywords to rank similar content on multiple domain names or pages under one domain will be penalised.

This is a major update from Google and will have huge implications for domain name and Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) strategies.

Savvy businesses needn’t fear, however. If you are using new Top-Level Domains like .melbourne and .sydney, there are some simple steps you can take to ensure your website has the best possible chance to rank highly in search results.

What’s changing?

Google described the new changes as an attempt to penalise sites that “try to maximize their ‘search footprint’ without adding clear, unique value”.

Sites utilising this technique are often referred to as ‘doorway pages’, which Google classify negatively based on their impact on end users:

They are bad for users because they can lead to multiple similar pages in user search results, where each result ends up taking the user to essentially the same destination. They can also lead users to intermediate pages that are not as useful as the final destination.

What doorway pages look like

SEO expert Jim Stewart, speaking in a video blog about this latest Google update demonstrates how doorway pages are often used by businesses.

Using the example of ‘Freddy’s Skip Bin Hire’, Mr Stewart explains that the company has built several web pages under various suburb names and essentially replicated the content on each, replacing the location name. This has led them to create almost identical sites such as ‘Skip Bin Hire Waverley’ and ‘Skip Bin Hire Earlwood’.

Using this technique to essentially ‘trick’ Google into ranking your site is the type of strategy that will be targeted by this update, as Mr Stewart explains.

“If your site has created pages purely to rank for a particular key phrase… the chances are you could be smashed by this update.”

Will .sydney and .melbourne domains be penalised?

There is an extensive list of factors that impact a website’s SEO ranking. As Mr Stewart explained in an interview with AusRegistry last year, domain names are one of “over 200 signals” that determine your rank in search results, but by no means the deciding factor.

“There’s a lot of misinformation about the importance of domain names in search. There’s no doubt that if you can get a domain name with a good key word in it, you’ve got a good chance of ranking better than someone that doesn’t, but it’s only one signal.”

A major factor that can and does heavily influence search ranking is content. Using local domains such as .melbourne and .sydney solely to rank for your business in Melbourne and Sydney is not enough – local domains offer an opportunity to create valuable, localised content targeted to a particular geographic audience.

As Mr Stewart describes, “Google wants to makes sure it only displays results that are going to be relevant to the search done by the user.”

Meaningful content, he explains is the best way to ensure Google takes notice of your site.

“This obviously gives your site more content that Google can rank, but Google can also see that your site is active and updated frequently. In terms of ranking, Google sees sites like these as ‘worthy’ of sending its users to.”

Can you still register multiple domain names?

This latest change for Google could mean a real shake-up of search rankings for those trying to ‘beat the system’ and use doorway pages to boost their traffic.

The key factor now will be value to the user – if you can offer meaningful and relevant content across each of your domain names, there should be nothing to fear from this update. Local domain names can still provide a dedicated portal for content that is targeted to a local audience and therefore “worthy” of Google’s attention.


5 steps to avoid being penalised by Google’s search update

  1. Use your .melbourne and .sydney domain names to offer localised content and valuable information for those in Melbourne and Sydney.
  2. Find and update pages on your website with duplicated content – or prepare to see their search rankings suffer.
  3. Build a content strategy that will ensure your sites remain up to date and are frequently being populated with current, relevant information.
  4. As Jim Stewart suggests; “look at what the number one result is doing, and do it better”. Consider what value your competitors are offering and up the ante.
  5. Don’t be afraid of registering multiple domain names. Holding a portfolio of domains is not a search sin – just be sure you are using them to add value, rather than trying to trick Google.

For more detail on how you can use .melbourne and .sydney domains to add value to local customers, read ‘How to use a local domain for your brand’.

This article was sourced with permission from ARI Registry Services. The article originally appeared at iconic.sydney/media-release/google-targets-multiple-domain-names-in-next-search-algorithm-update/


Google Pays $25m For .APP As ICANN gTLD Sale Coffers Grow

ICANN new generic Top Level Domains logoGoogle paid $25,000,001 for the .app gTLD in an auction held last Wednesday (25/2) making it by far the largest amount paid in an auction for a new gTLD string.

And as a result ICANN now has net proceeds of $57,015,622 in its piggy bank as a result of auctions for new gTLDs that were in contention. All proceeds from auctions are being segregated and withheld from use until ICANN’s Board of Directors define a plan for an appropriate use of the funds through consultation with the community.

In the latest auction twelve applicants participated in the two day auction for .APP with one of Google’s entities, Charleston Road Registry Inc., prevailing.

Previously the highest prices paid for a gTLD string was for .blog, which Domain Incite estimates was sold for less than $20 million.

In the .app application, Google “originally proposed .app as a closed registry in which only Google and its partners could register names,” reports Domain Incite.

“However, after the Governmental Advisory Committee pressured ICANN to disallow ‘closed generics’, Google changed its application to enable anyone to register.”

Still No Ranking Advantage Using New gTLDs: Google

New gTLDs may have benefits in getting a more relevant, and shorter, domain name, but there is no advantage when it comes to how well they perform in online search results.Writing on his Google+ page, Google’s John Mueller wrote “it feels like it’s time to re-share this again. There still is no inherent ranking advantage to using the new TLDs.””They can perform well in search, just like any other TLD can perform well in search. They give you an opportunity to pick a name that better matches your web-presence. If you see posts claiming that early data suggests they’re doing well, keep in mind that’s this is not due to any artificial advantage in search: you can make a fantastic website that performs well in search on any TLD.”Mueller was reiterating a post by his former colleague Matt Cutts in response to a follower’s question who asked “will a new TLD web address automatically be favoured by Google over a .com equivalent?””Sorry, but that’s just not true, and as an engineer in the search quality team at Google, I feel the need to debunk this misconception,” wrote Cutts. “Google has a lot of experience in returning relevant web pages, regardless of the top-level domain (TLD). Google will attempt to rank new TLDs appropriately, but I don’t expect a new TLD to get any kind of initial preference over .com, and I wouldn’t bet on that happening in the long-term either. If you want to register an entirely new TLD for other reasons, that’s your choice, but you shouldn’t register a TLD in the mistaken belief that you’ll get some sort of boost in search engine rankings.”Mueller also added that “just to be complete — we treat all of the new TLDs as gTLDs, meaning you can set geo-targeting as you wish in Webmaster Tools. There’s no automatic geo-targeting for TLDs that look like city or regional names.”

Google To Push Websites With HTTPS In Search Rankings For More Secure Web

In an effort to push security, Google announced they are starting to use HTTPS as a ranking signal in their search results.Over the past few months Google has been running tests taking into account whether sites use secure, encrypted connections as a signal in their search ranking algorithms and the results have been positive.For now it’s only a very lightweight signal — affecting fewer than one percent of global queries, and carrying less weight than other signals such as high-quality content — while webmasters are given time to switch to HTTPS. But over time, Google say they may decide to strengthen it because they’d like to encourage all website owners to switch from HTTP to HTTPS to keep everyone safe on the web.In the coming weeks, Google will publish detailed best practices to make TLS adoption easier, and to avoid common mistakes. Google have provided some basic tips to get started:

  • decide the kind of certificate you need: single, multi-domain, or wildcard certificate
  • use 2048-bit key certificates
  • use relative URLs for resources that reside on the same secure domain
  • use protocol relative URLs for all other domains
  • check out their Site move article for more guidelines on how to change your website’s address
  • don’t block your HTTPS site from crawling using robots.txt
  • allow indexing of your pages by search engines where possible. Avoid the noindex robots meta tag.

In their announcement Google note that security is a top priority for them. They note they invest a lot in making sure that their services use industry-leading security, like strong HTTPS encryption by default. That means that people using Search, Gmail and Drive, for example, automatically have a secure connection to Google.For more information and a few more links, see the Google blog announcement at:

Google Attempts To Shake Up Domain Registration Industry

Google is going to attempt give the domain name registration business a shakeup launching a beta invitation-only service that will see domain registrations in the US going for $12 per year.Justifying their foray into another field, Google claim their “research shows that 55 percent of small businesses still don’t have [a domain name].”So as we explore ways to help small businesses succeed online (through tools like Google My Business, we thought it made sense to look more closely at the starting point of every business’s online presence – a website. And that starts with a domain name.”The service will be invitation-only to begin and unless you go through the procedure of applying for an invitation, there seems no way of knowing how many TLDs the service will cover. But currently Google is only accredited to sell domain names for seven gTLDs – .biz, .com, .info, .name, .net, .org, and .pro. Google’s blurb refers to being able to choose “.com, .biz, .org or any of the wide range of new domains that are being released to the Web.” This would assume they will be signing the 2013 RAA quite soon.Additionally, as many ccTLDs and gTLDs cost registrars much more than this, it is likely that the number of TLDs available will be limited.The service will also provide tools to easily build a website (extra cost), no additional cost for private registration, up to 100 email aliases, customisable sub-domains and easy domain forwarding, most of which existing registrars provide.The announcement is also likely to impact on GoDaddy the most and in a couple of significant ways – one is to provide competition on price and the other is that GoDaddy, about to launch an IPO, could see the value of the company reduced.”This puts them in direct competition with GoDaddy,” said Keith Timimi, chairman of VML Qais, a digital marketing service agency, reported BBC News.Google, already an ICANN-accredited registrar, signed the 2009 Registrar Accreditation Agreement that allowed it the option of applying for accreditation to sell the 17 gTLDs prior to the new gTLD expansion.It may be worrying for existing registrars of the might of Google, but it would likely raise the ire of antitrust authorities, in the US and Europe in particular, should their search services give preference to Google as a registrar.

Domain Name Association Signs 8 New Members

Domain Name Association logo[news release] The Domain Name Association (DNA), the global trade association for the internet domain industry, has welcomed eight new members from all over the world, bringing the total to 30.

The newest members are:

“This membership growth shows gratifying support for the DNA’s mission at an exciting time for the industry, as hundreds of top level domain names are released to the public,” said DNA Executive Director Kurt Pritz. “Our globally distributed and highly respected newest members will play a key role in fulfilling the DNA’s objective to realize opportunities for the industry and new value for Internet users.”

The DNA promotes the common interests of the entire domain name industry, especially for the uptake, adoption, and use of domain names as the primary tool to navigate the Internet. As part of its mission, the DNA will play a key role in raising awareness about the opportunities in new and existing top-level domains.

The DNA was established in October 2013 by companies representing the broad Internet industry. Membership is open to organizations involved in all aspects of managing domain names, including top-level domain name registry operators, registrars, resellers, and registry service providers.

Organizations in the domain name industry are joining the DNA to collaborate with peers, share best practice and ensure mutual success through this period of major growth of the Internet. DNA members will be critical players in the next phase of the Internet, with the opportunity to influence important industry policy decisions. Members can also leverage the DNA’s marketing and education programs in their own activities, and they will receive exclusive information via newsletters and bulletins, as well as access to research results.

DNA membership is organized as a multi-tiered structure to accommodate various levels of interest and desire for participation in the work of the DNA. More information is available on the website.

About the DNA

The Domain Name Association (the DNA) is a non-profit business association that represents the interests of the domain name industry. It is independent and global in scope, and its membership is open to organizations involved in the provision, support, and sale of domain names, such as domain name registries, registrars, resellers, and registry service providers.

Founding members include ARI Registry Services, Donuts, GoDaddy, Google, Rightside and What Box?

The DNA’s mission is to promote the best interests of the domain name industry by advocating the use, adoption, and expansion of domain names as the primary tool for users to navigate the Internet. More information is available at www.thedna.org.

This Domain Name Association news release was sourced from:

Online And Tech Companies Object To Google TLD Applications

Amazon has suffered a backlash from US book publishing organisations and Barnes & Noble, and now it’s Google’s turn. A consortium of tech companies under the umbrella of FairSearch has now complained about a number of Google’s applications for top level domains.The group recently filed objections to Google’s request to control new the TLDs .search, .fly and .map – telling ICANN that accepting Google’s application will enable the dominant search provider to “gain an unfair competitive advantage against other members of this community through the improper grant of a perpetual monopoly of generic industry terms to a single company.”FairSearch includes TripAdvisor, Expedia, Nokia, Microsoft and Oracle as members and has been established to counter what they perceive as Google’s dominant search position.The group claims Google has already established a dominant position in the search market – with control of 79 percent of queries in the U.S., and more than 90 percent market share in Europe. FairSearch says Google doesn’t need more help in warding off potential competitors by giving it control over who gets access to new domain names. And, they warn, it’s possible that Google could access the data that flows over any other website who asks to register under a gTLD owned by Google, giving it even greater advantage over all other companies on the internet.FairSearch asks that if Google really believes that competition is always one click away, why did it apply to operate a new .search gTLD as a closed registry? This means that only those web properties owned by Google could have a .search web address.”The .search application demonstrates that Google intends to exclude all others in the Industry from using common generic industry terms for its business,” FairSearch argues in its objection.”Google’s applications for .search, .map and .fly are particularly concerning given the company’s market power and preferential treatment of its own search, map and online travel services.”Uncontested and unmonitored ownership of these gTLDs will only further strengthen Google’s dominant market power, which it uses to steer users to Google’s own product sites by prominently displaying its own products on its homepage, a practice often referred to as ‘search bias.'”ICANN should reject Google’s attempt to control an even greater share of the Internet through acquiring the new generic top-level domains for “.search,” “.fly,” and “.map.” The dominant search provider already exerts too much power to steer consumers to Google sites that strengthen its control over Internet traffic, rather than to websites with the information most relevant to consumers’ interests.”

Concerns Grow As To Whether Closed Generic TLDs Should Be Monopolised By Global Giants

With the launch of the first of the new TLDs coming later in 2013, there are growing concerns about the ability of large global businesses to monopolise the use of “closed generic” TLDs.An industry group led by Ireland’s only registrar, Blacknight, is urging the online community to take part in ICANN’s public comment period concerning these “closed generic” TLD Applications.For example, Blacknight asks is it reasonable to allow Google to monopolise “search” through their application for the .search TLD? Or should all bloggers be forced to use Blogger if they want to use theirname.blog?In recent months Blacknight has been leading the community in actively seeking clarification on pending TLD applications for broad term extensions like .blog, .music and .cloud, TLDs that would be severely restricted if monopolised by single entities that intend to use the terms solely to market their own products.Currently ICANN has a public comment period underway requesting comments regarding whether single entities may seek to operate non-trademarked generic word TLDs in a “closed” (not open to the public for registration) manner. The comment period, which opened on 5 February, will remain open until 7 March, 2013.”As longtime members of the ICANN community, we feel strongly on this issue and aim to raise community awareness of the effects of ‘closed generic’ TLDs, said Blacknight’s Michele Neylon. “We believe in an open and ‘free’ Internet and the idea of a small group of companies effectively monopolising terms that belong to all people just seems wrong.”Blacknight has expressed discontent with the possibility of closed non-trademarked key-word extensions through multiple letters to ICANN. The letters encourage ICANN to consider the adoption of a process in which applicants who wish to operate a closed TLD, meet certain, transparent criteria.According to Icann.org: “ICANN is seeking public comment on the subject of ‘closed generic’ gTLD applications and whether specific requirements should be adopted corresponding to this type of application. Stakeholder views are invited to help define and consider the issue. In particular, comments would be helpful in regard to proposed objective criteria for: classifying certain applications as ‘closed generic’ TLDs, i.e., how to determine whether a string is generic, and determining the circumstances under which a particular TLD operator should be permitted to adopt ‘open’ or ‘closed’ registration policies.”Responding to this Neylon says he “strongly urge[s] the online community to take advantage of this public comment period. Allowing companies that have no trademark claims to generic, key-terms such as ‘blog’, ‘beauty’ or ‘music’ is tantamount to granting them ownership of those words. This behaviour negates the purpose of creating a richer, more diverse Internet space. This is a slap in the face to those of us who worked so hard to help bring new TLDs into being.”The public comment period for “Closed Generic” TLD Applications is currently active and will remain open until 7 March 2013.To submit a comment, go to www.icann.org/en/news/public-comment/closed-generic-05feb13-en.htmPrevious letters from Blacknight to ICANN concerning “closed generic” TLD Applications are available at:blog.blacknight.com/letter-to-icann-clarifications-on-non-trademarked-generic-keyword-tld-are-needed.html

Australian Internet Governance Forum To Help Shape Local Internet

An Internet Governance Forum is coming to the Australian capital of Canberra in October with the goal of bringing government, industry and community members together in an open, apolitical forum, to discuss Internet-related policy issues, exchange ideas and best practices, and help shape the future of the internet in Australia.Hot topics for the inaugural auIGF down under include security, the IGF landscape, openness, privacy and access and digital inclusion. The latter is an issue in Australia due to the difficulty in getting remote and regional communities online and engaged, as well as people of lower socio-economic backgrounds along with people with disabilities.There will also be a number of interactive, community-led workshops, investigating specific internet policy issues in greater depth.”The Internet was built with a spirit of openness, collaboration and accessibility”, said Chris Disspain, CEO of .au Domain Administration Ltd (auDA) in a statement. “In establishing the auIGF, we aim to embrace these principles and provide a mechanism to ensure Australians have a prominent and well-informed voice in Internet discussions.”Speakers lined up come from both Australia and New Zealand and include representatives from Facebook, Google and the Australian Privacy Commissioner.The auIGF is coordinated by a number of prominent industry stakeholders, including auDA, the Internet Industry Association (IIA), the Australian Communication Consumer Action Network (ACCAN), the Australian chapter of the Internet Society (ISOC-AU) and the Asia-Pacific Network Information Centre (APNIC). It also has the support of the Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy (DBCDE) and corporate partners including Google, Facebook, AusRegistry and Maddocks.”The collaborative nature, timing and agenda of this forum is strongly supported by the IIA”, said Peter Lee CEO of IIA. “Given the significant focus on issues such as security, privacy and convergence in a digital world, it’s important to facilitate open discussion of those issues with all stakeholders.””Access to the Internet is essential for participation in today’s society across a range of areas including employment, community, education and access to services”, noted ACCAN CEO, Teresa Corbin. “The auIGF will be an excellent opportunity to share experiences and strategies aimed to promote digital inclusion, to ensure that everyone reaps the benefits of a connected society.””Given the importance of the Internet to the Australian economy, forums such as the auIGF are vital in facilitating policy discussions that promote the continued expansion and innovation of the Internet”, added Adrian Kinderis, CEO of AusRegistry. “The open, participatory, multi-stakeholder model has made the Internet a successful driver of social and economic growth and this is set to continue in Australia under the guidance of the auIGF.”The outcomes of the auIGF will help influence domestic policy and decision-making and will be fed into international policy processes including the UN’s World Conference on International Telecommunications and the 2012 IGF in Baku, Azerbaijan.”The IGF format has proven to be influential in global decision-making – both as a reference point and a repository of essential information that should be considered in policy-making processes” said Paul Wilson, Director-General of APNIC. “I invite all stakeholders to show their support for this model, both through the auIGF and other national and regional initiatives that will feed into the global dialogue.”For more information or to register ($50 per person) for the auIGF, check out the website at igf.org.au.