Domain Parking occurs when a domain does not have content. Domain parking can be monetized when registrars put advertising content on pages that have been registered but do not yet have original content. Registrants can also participate in monetization via domain name parking through an agreement with their registrars to leave their domains parked, by creating pages with commercial content of their choosing, or by using a third party domain parking service. Domain parking monetization takes advantage of type-in traffic, when a user types the "URL directly into their browser," and can be very lucrative when the parked site is highly trafficked. Domain parking does not necessarily have to be monetized as pages can be parked for a variety of reasons, such as the site being "under construction" or if the domain name has recently expired.
Public perception varies on domain parking. Some view it as a means of making money through smart speculation on which domains will receive large amounts of traffic. Supporters of this practice claim "it uses domain names to deliver relevant advertising and enhanced search options instead of serving Internet users with an error page." Additionally, many registrars used parked pages to make revenue from pages that would otherwise have no other content. Extreme oppositional viewpoints see domain parking as Internet clutter that contributes no unique content to the Internet community and simply takes up name space that could be put to better use.
The outcome of monetized domain parking, very generally speaking, is the increased advertising.
Parked domains are frequently used to generate revenue through provided links or Pay-Per-Click advertising. This can greatly benefit the registrar and registrant, and can result in millions of dollars in profit for large registrars. Pages can be parked for a short duration or indefinitely depending on the responsible parties and the amount of revenue created. Sometimes, people target domain names that are similar to registered trademarks or company names to generate additional revenue through domain parking. This can lead to claims of cybersquatting or typosquatting.
Additionally, some research from the University of Indiana has indicated that certain domain parking companies use the services they offer to siphon money away from their clients. This research identifies abusive uses of domain parking, including providing links to malicious websites and under-reporting client click through rates in order to increase their own profits.
- ICANN's Expired Registration Recovery Policy (ERRP): this policy specifically mentions domain parking and requires registrars using an expired domain name as a parked page during the expiration grace period to also include renewal instructions for the registrant on the page. However, it does not address domain parking in a comprehensive way.
- Also, because the financial gain is much greater for domains that are highly trafficked, domain names that are similar to trademarks or are misspellings of famous brands have been used as parked pages. If this is the case, then the registrant and registrar may be subject to UDRP proceedings or an ACPA lawsuit due to Cybersquatting, Typosquatting, or trademark infringement.
The U.S. government currently has no legislation that specifically addresses domain parking.
Awardees have a clear policy on domain parking if they offer such services and do not monetize domains in a way that promotes abusive behavior, such as parking a cybersquatted domain.
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- Parked Domains, cPanel
- ICANN Policy Issue Brief on Domain Name Monetization (PDF), Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN)
- The Oscars Files Another Suit Against Godaddy Under ACPA Alleging Continued Violations by Michael Berkens (December 26, 2013), TheDomains.com
- What Is a Parked Domain Name?, Hostly.com
- Stop Domain Name Parking and Cybersquatting by Moses Aronov, Change.org
- The "Parked Domain Monetization" Business by Joi Ito (December 1, 2005), CircleID
- http://domainnamewire.com/2014/12/04/researchers-study-the-dark-side-of-domain-parking/ Researchers Study the “Dark Side of Domain Parking” by Andrew Alleman (December 4, 2014), DomainNameWire
- Implementation of Expired Registration Recovery Policy (February 28, 2013), Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN)