Don’t be evil (unless there’s money in it)

So Google has a new service called DomainPark. It’s basically AdSense for sites without content – parked domains. While there are certainly are legitimate uses for domain parking (such as for newly registered domains) I doubt those sites generate the 750,000 page views needed to get into the Google program. All that’s left are domainsquatters and typosquatters. One of Google’s driving principles is "Don’t be evil." How does that mesh with paying people who prevent legitimate site operators from getting descriptive domains?

5 thoughts on “Don’t be evil (unless there’s money in it)

  1. As long as they don’t become a registrar, I guess I’m okay with it. But let me go on record as saying that i dispise the notion of making money off a domain without content.
    Do any advertising companies give kick-backs per ad-views anymore? The world of pr0n has led me to believe that there is only money in click-throughs.

  2. Isn’t the whole plan here to make money off a domain without content? If the domain had content, it would qualify for AdSense. Instead, the only “content” is the domain name.

  3. How is domainsquatting different than investing in real estate? It, surely naively, seems to be the same to me: Both involve purchasing space with no real plans for development; the only hope is that the price goes up at some future date.
    Gedanken?

  4. I will concede that the plan assists in making money off a domain without content. But i do not view it as too evil.
    After more thoroughly reviewing the DomainPark service, i would venture to say it may be evil, but i feel it is ‘less evil’ than current common practices. While the DomainPark service may slightly increase the domain squatting industry, it could possibly have a sanitizing effect.
    Related example: You mentioned google AdSense. While I dislike being subjected to advertising in general, google-type text ads annoy much less than traditional banner ads. This may be similar.
    Question #9 of the Domain Park FAQ addresses restrictions related with the DomainPark service. I view these restrictions as an effort to ‘not be evil’, or at least “don’t be evil” relative to other services or practices.
    I see how it may be viewed as “being evil” to some extent. But I would never equivocate it to the same evil that is SPAM e-mail. The erroneous domain is requested by the user, and if the domain name is something like http://www.IWannaCar.com or http://www.FindMeACar.com , it isn’t too far-fetched to assume the browser is interested in deals on cars.
    (Amusing post-note: I just tried those two domains, and they exists. The first is a motor company; the second is a squatter/parked domain. Can buy it for only $750.00 ­čśë … it would make more sense for that domain to show car advertisements than gift baskets and gardening)
    I still prefer domains to have content, though i would never get beind regulations to enforce that.

  5. Ian – the biggest way that domain speculation is difference between domain speculation and real estate speculation seems to be that domain speculation has a flat cost. You can buy n domains for $35 * n, but real estate is trickier. If you start buying up a lot of land, the market responds and the price goes up, making it harder to monopolize an area. Domain speculation has a linear cost whereas real estate speculation (in the same place) has an accelerating cost. There are probably smarter comparisons out there but that’s what I could come up with.
    Gabe – Google is the lesser of two evils in this case, but that still puts them in the evil camp. It’s not as evil as spam or comment spamming, but it still encourages people to hoard a resource without developing it. City planners don’t like it with real estate and I don’t like it with the Intarweb.
    And I wouldn’t get behind regulations that prevent domain squatting either, because it’s such a grey area.

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