If you’re like me, you probably registered a few extra domain names over the years and never got a chance to do anything with them. They just sit there and you keep paying annual renewal fees. While renewing one such domain name, I noticed that GoDaddy.com now offers a service that they call Cash Parking. I decided to give it a try to see if I could at least get these domain names to pay for their own registration fees.
Looking at the example GoDoddy shows, it appeared that a domain would easily be able to pay for itself. With any luck, my domains should generate somewhere near this level of performance. Here is how GoDaddy is promoting the service:
Make money from your domains’ parked pages! It’s easy with CashParking. Whether you have one domain or a growing portfolio, CashParking can turn those domains into a cash generator!
I start by sitting-up a Cash Parking account. The cheapest account is $3.99 per month. I was a little surprised, because I figured if there was so much profit potential in Cash Parking, I wouldn’t have to pay GoDaddy up-front to receive it. But what the heck, I’ll give it a try anyway. I pay my $3.99 for a month and move over 14 domains.
After a 5 weeks, my results are terrible.
- Number of Domains: 14
- Total Impressions: 90
- Total Clicks: 12
- Revenue: $0.99
- Customer Share of Revenue (minus monthly fee): -$3.00 (note: GoDaddy provides this stat in their Cash Parking promotional material, but not in their reports once you actually create an account.)
- Average RPM: $11.00 (Revenue per 1000 impressions)
- Average CTR: 13.33% (Click Through Rate)
- Average CPC: $0.08 (Cost per Click for an Ad)
So, at the end of one year, I stand to make about $10 from cash parking, while paying GoDaddy $47.88. Plus I still have to pay GoDaddy the annual registration fees for each domain name.
I don’t think my lack of success is because of the domain names are terrible, because some of them are not. I would list the domain names here, but I’m not going to because 1.) I don’t really endorse the content of the sites, and 2.) I’m paying GoDaddy $3.99 per month so they should be creating some traffic.
The lack of revenue is not because the domain names are brand new, because all of them have been parked at Godaddy.com for quite some time and GoDaddy has been making ad revenue from them for years and the pages are already in the search engines or where ever they should be by now.
I should state the at the monthly fee gives you Cash Parking for an unlimited number of domains, so the per-domain burden of the fee is higher the fewer domains you have. This program is really geared to having a large number of domains. But even if I did have a large number of domains, I still wouldn’t made enough to cover the annual registration fees of each domain.
One last complaint is that 4 of the domain names were flagged as “adult”. They clearly are not, in any way or permutation, adult-related domain names. But GoDaddy will not allow me to tailor the content to anything non-adult. Plus, there is no way for me to have them made “un-adult” and there is no explanation as to why they were tagged as adult in the first place. The only way I can have ads on these sites is if I allow them to display adult content, which is not something I am willing to do. The domains were registered in response to GoDaddy charging me administrative fees for “maintaining my whois information.” Perhaps GoDaddy flagged them as adult so that they could only display adult ads and not ads that may conflict with their business model. They would not allow me to use the keyword “GoDaddy”, so they are obviously looking after their own interest est in terms of content.
GoDaddy Cash Parking is a great way for GoDaddy to make more money from their existing customers. It’s a great way for customers to pay GoDaddy more money. It is not a money making opportunity. Perhaps if you have a large number of high-profile domain names, if you are will to do a lot of work promoting the domain names, and perhaps if you are willing to display adult-themed content, you could make money using Cash Parking. But I couldn’t and doubt the vast majority of GoDaddy customer could either.
I had my doubts about the scheme going in. It only cost me $4 to try it out, and now I know it’s not for me. For a reason I can’t fully put into words, the entire ordeal has lowered my opinion of GoDaddy. I’ve used them for years and I’ve put up with their relentless pitches for extra costly features each time you renew a domain. But something about this experience made me feel like I was been scammed. Perhaps it was the fact that some of my domains were forced to display adult ads or none at all. Perhaps it was the deceptive monthly reports that don’t show I’m losing money. Whatever the reason, I plan cancel my Cash Parking account and I also plan to forward the domains to existing website, rather than allow GoDaddy to park my domain name and display a GoDaddy logo and lots of ads (from which no revenue is shared with me.)
Update: I switched to Google AdSense for domains, which is a free service. After getting the GoDaddy.com DNS settings adjusted (using the Google instructiosn), it works well and costs nothing. If I’m lucky, I’ll be able to cover the annual domain renewal fees.