From Russia with Internet

Russia InternetLast week Afternic took part in the 17th Russian Internet Forum, the largest industry show in the country that attracted nearly 10,000 participants sharing experiences and discussing the latest trends in domains and hosting, online advertising, ecommerce and consumer trends.

The section of the show that focused on domains was organized by our trusted partner, the largest Russian registrar and hosting provider Hosting Community dba Rucenter. As the leading premium domains marketplace, Afternic participated in a panel and contributed to the debate by sharing our perspectives on existing and emerging trends in the global and regional premium domain markets.

Based on internal and partner data, we see opportunities for growth in the Russian-speaking internet space and a growing demand both for national domains and new gTLDs on the secondary market. What’s even more exciting is that we believe the average sale prices and transaction volume of these Russian domain purchases will be on par with those of the leading European platforms.

The panel discussion invariably touched upon the launch of new gTLDs, including the much anticipated .MOSCOW. The big question was how these new domain extensions would fit into the ever-expanding Russian internet, which already has the largest audience in Europe (and #6 globally).

Experts agree that the local internet industry is far from saturation and will continue to expand rapidly. The latest numbers presented by the Minister of Telecommunications at the Forum show that the Russian mobile internet population increased by 33% in 2012, while the advertising and ecommerce markets grew by 35% and 27% respectively. The average Russian internet user spends 100 minutes a day online, mostly on social media, mail, search and dating services – trends that local start-ups are picking up on fast. Afternic is looking forward to more business opportunities in the region, and will closely follow developments in the local internet space.

Afternic Weekly Sales: April 15, 2013 to April 21, 2013

Weekly Domain Sales Breakdown
Domain Sales for the week of April 15, 2013 to April 21, 2013

Afternic’s sales totaled $1,003,088.

The top public sale for the past week was TabletScreen.com, which sold for $25,000.

The Specials category came in first, accounting for 14.4% of all domains sold in the past week, followed by Business at 14.1%.

Below please find the list of highlighted public domain sales.

Weekly Sales

Want to see your names on this list? Join Afternic today.

Get Ready for the Next Penguin Update

Earlier this year, Matt Cutts indicated a big Penguin update should be expected. Experts are anticipating the 2013 update will come around the same time as last year’s – towards the end of this month. This update is expected to have a high impact on many sites, and there’s little time to prepare. Over the course of the next week, you’ll want to be as proactive as possible in order to prevent digging yourself out of a penalty later. Here are things you can do to protect your website from the impact:

Ratio of Brand and Natural Back Links to Anchor Text Back Links

Last year’s update affected websites with high percentages of keyword anchor text back links, indicating that the websites with healthy link profiles had at least 50% brand anchor text links. Each update gets more stringent, and we should expect to see the percentage of acceptable keyword anchor text links decline. Those back links containing valuable keywords on the cusp of medium to high search volume will be the most susceptible.

You can assess the percentage of natural back links to keyword back links by using a tool like Open Site Explorer from SEOmoz. The tool will show you the total number of links to your website. You can then filter to show only external links in the results. Using this number, you’ll want to hop on over to the tab that shows your anchor text links. Sort to show only those from external sources. If you add up the number of natural back links, such as www.yoursite.com, yoursite.com, yoursite, or straight html back links, you’ll have an idea what percentage of your link profile will appear natural to Google. If your back link profile is high in keyword anchor text back links, your only option now to prepare is to either edit the anchor text to your brand name or html, or to delete the links. This is a quick way to get an idea of your back link profile, but a tool like Screaming Frog will give you a complete list to work from.

Removing Poor Quality Links

In a YouTube Video by Matt Cutts, he discussed the types of links Google likes and dislikes. The common theme seems to be that if you have editorial control over the anchor text, that link will be considered lower quality by Google. While we’ll have to sit tight to assess the full spectrum of what Google tends to favor and frown upon with this update, directories and article directories are two types of back link sources which fall under this categorization. Submitting to a few, high quality and niche related directories is fine, but if your back link profile consists of dozens of directory links, it’s time to work on getting them removed. Given the short period of time you have to act, you should focus first on those back links containing the valuable medium to high search volume cusp keywords we mentioned before.

Relevance will increase in importance, so if you have a lot of links from unrelated websites, you should also focus on eliminating those. Moving forward, you’ll want to think about whether a link from a website will send traffic to your website. If you don’t think that site’s audience would be interested in your product or service, it probably isn’t a good link to acquire. When you do acquire a link, let the source choose how to link to you.

In the future, as these search engine updates are rolled out, you should expect the process of increasing your rankings to become far more difficult.   The tricks and shortcuts have reached the end of the road and relationship building will be essential.

Purchasing Domains: Can SEO on a Spammy Domain be “Reset?”

Before you buy, know how your prospective domain ranks.
SEO Reset
If you’re in the market to purchase a domain, you’ll want to make sure that you conduct the proper background research on the domain before completing any purchase agreement. While the domain name might perfectly suit your business and contains the keyword you’ve been hoping for, you don’t want your new purchase to jeopardize your web presence before you’ve even gotten started.

When it comes to acquiring a new domain, you have the opportunity to register a brand new domain, which has never been used before, or take advantage of a premium domain, that may have already been used previously. Since many quality domain names have formerly been registered, domain purchases on the secondary market have become quite popular.

For instance, if you’ve started your own landscaping business you might be interested in purchasing a keyword-rich domain that properly represents your business or business name. While your initial reaction may be to purchase JohnSmithsLandscapingUnlimited.com, in order to cover the compete name of your business, you might also want to consider a shorter domain option, such as Landscaping.com. Since the first domain has never been used by anyone before, you are free to register it as a new domain on a registry website. Landscaping.com, however, is currently in use by another company. You’ll need to first get the owner to agree to sell it, but not before you do your research on where the domain stands in terms of SEO value and customer feedback.

If given the opportunity to purchase a domain that has already been used or developed before, you’ll want to make sure that you’re not starting at a disadvantage with a spam-ridden domain. On the occasion that the seller is attempting a last ditch effort to make a few dollars off of their deteriorating domain name, it is essential that you know where the domain stands before buying. A domain that has been flagged by Google as spam will be incredibly difficult to recover quickly, making it difficult to rank in organic search results. Even with new website development, you’ll need time to earn back a good standing, which is time you might not have.

In addition to Google’s lack of approval, you’ll also want to explore consumers’ opinions of the domain. Since a successful domain relies heavily on its ability to communicate with customers, it’s crucial that consumers will respond to your website and everything that comes with it, including your domain name. If the domain name has a poor reputation and customers perceive it to be spammy, then this may not translate to a successful website.

Because there’s simply no “reset” button when it comes to domains, be sure to do your research before you buy. If the domain requires more work than it’s worth, don’t be afraid to explore other domains for sale. You might just end up with an even better alternative in the end.

Travel Domain Investment

Take advantage of the summer vacation boom.
Travel
If you’re in the market for a new domain name, you might want to consider investing in a travel domain name. With the summer months quickly approaching and the temperatures slowly increasing, consumers are starting to think about their travel plans. Whether they are just beginning their preliminary research, or know exactly where they want to go, the internet has become an increasingly popular resource for planning travel experiences.

The boom of social media and mobile devices has further increased opportunities for any investor interested in the travel industry. Since 2010, travel queries on mobile devices, such as smart phones and iPads, have increased over 20% and continue to boom. Social media sites are also driving a tremendous amount of traffic to travel sites, taking account for nearly a quarter of all online bookings today.

As almost half of the American population, over 140 million people, prepare to take a vacation this summer, the revenue potential for a travel domain is incredible! Considering that the average vacation costs $1,180 per person, now is the time to take advantage of the opportunity to capitalize on consumers’ travel plans.

Whether you plan to develop a comprehensive site including everything from transportation to hotel accommodations, or offer reviews of destinations, the travel industry offers unbelievable promise. With the average customer visiting four vacation rental websites during research, and 49% of travelers relying on reviews to make their travel decisions, there are endless possibilities for successful development.

International visitors to the U.S. have also increased and added to the growth of the travel industry. As of this January, spending of international travelers has increased 11% from the previous year and brought total spending to $14.4 billion. The international market allows for great expansion of product or service offering, and further inflates the lucrative potential of a travel domain.

Afternic Weekly Sales: April 1, 2013 to April 7, 2013

Weekly Domain Sales Breakdown
Domain Sales for the week of April 1, 2013 to April 7, 2013

Afternic’s sales totaled $973,532.

The top public sale for the past week was TribalWars.com, which sold for $34,910.

The Specials category came in first, accounting for 12.7% of all domains sold in the past week, followed by Society at 12.2%.

Below please find the list of highlighted public domain sales.

Weekly Sales

Want to see your names on this list? Join Afternic today.

ICANN 46: Beijing

Another conference, another great destination.
ICANN 46
Beginning yesterday, April 7th, and running through the end of the week, April 11th, ICANN has officially kicked off their 46th conference! The conference is taking place at the Beijing International Hotel, located in the heart of Beijing, offering not only a schedule full of networking and informative sessions, but also rich in culture. With hundreds of professionals interested in learning the latest news ICANN has to offer, the tickets have been completely sold out.

If you’re attending the conference, or are interested in watching the information sessions remotely, the ICANN 46 schedule can be viewed on the ICANN website. As the launch of the new gTLDs grows to over 93 passing applications, the new gTLDs are sure to earn a considerate amount of attention and talk at the conference. Included in the week’s schedule are sessions such as the following:

  • New gTLD Security Stability and Resiliency
  • gTLD Registries Stakeholder Group
  • At-Large New gTLD Working Group Outreach Evaluation Meeting
  • New gTLD Pre-Delegation Testing Process Review

The conference also offers many other information session opportunities on a range of topics. While the new gTLDs may be a hot topic, the other sessions will prove to be informative and interesting as well!

As the world’s largest domain marketplace, Afternic is pleased to be in attendance at this conference, and is looking forward to the networking opportunities and insight into this ever changing community that the conference provides.

Afternic Weekly Sales: March 25, 2013 to March 31, 2013

Weekly Domain Sales Breakdown
Domain Sales for the week of Mar 25, 2013 to Mar 31, 2013
Sold

Afternic’s sales totaled $1,483,223.

The top public sale for the past week was WaitTime.com, which sold for $20,000.

The Specials category came in first, accounting for 14.2% of all domains sold in the past week, followed by Society at 11.5%.

Below please find the list of highlighted public domain sales.

Weekly Sales

Want to see your names on this list? Join Afternic today.