Sendori is a newly launched service that most of us will never see – and they could make sure we don’t end up seeing web pages defiled by the putrid stench of domain squatters either. That’s the most charitable way to look at this very interesting Sunyvale company. Sendori will auction off redirects from parked domains through their servers and to sponsored advertiser pages.
There’s a $2000 minimum buy-in for advertisers and the company is just expanding beyond very small beta tests now. Advertisers bid on a per-visitor basis. Sendori is currently running on angel funding.
The idea is that “domain portfolio holders,” as they are called in polite company, aren’t effectively able to monetize their domains right now with AdSense or other ads placed on those domains. Sendori believes that conversion rates are much higher when visitors are directed to a page with a single vendor’s recognized brand than it is on a page full of ads. That makes sense to me.
They believe that 10 to 15% of web traffic is via direct navigation or entering URLs – though keyword.com type URLs as Sendori will auction must be a fraction of that traffic compared to just typing in Google.com or your webmail URL.
Advertising on parked domains is undeniably big business though, and redirects from squatted domains as a form of advertising itself could likely be big as well. Sendori founder Ofer Ronen assured me that the domain buying industry has cleaned itself up quite a bit since the early days, though he said an estimated 20% of it is still made up of misspelled brand names. (Ronen cites Jordan Rohan of RBC Capital Markets with for that number.) While brand advertisers must be frustrated about domain squatters throwing ads on pages mistaken for theirs -imagine their frustration when they find that those pages are up for auction. Perhaps they should just pay the squatting piper.
The company says it will prohibit adult themed domains from participating but may create a separate marketplace for those types of sites at a later date. Classy.
None the less, I think their strategy is a relatively good one. Perhaps they will redirect me away from parked pages to something topical and I’ll be able to forget that this whole part of the industry exists. There’s certainly money to be made with such a plan.