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Local.com Gives Octane360 More Octane

July 12, 2010Domain Services, Domaining, Domainnamewire, heath clarke, local.com, octane360, peter huttoComments Off on Local.com Gives Octane360 More Octane

[Editor's note: Last Friday I interviewed Local.com CEO Heath Clarke and Senior VP of Corporate Development Peter Hutto about their company's acquisition of Octane360. In doing research, I realized the first article I ever wrote on DNW -- March 9, 2005 -- was about their company's purchase of the Local.com domain name for $700,000. That was 3,575 posts ago.]

Local.comI’ve long thought Octane360′s business model was one of the most innovative monetization strategies for domain owners. The only challenge was that, as a startup, it was going to take time for its model to be fully realized. It needed a bit more octane.

That all changed July 1 when publicly-traded Local.com snapped up the company, drastically accelerating its strategy.

“We bring the scale component,” said Local.com Chairman and CEO Heath Clarke in an interview with Domain Name Wire. “We offer Octane360 access to capital and we can do ad sales at scale.”

Indeed, Local.com has a market cap over $100 million and touches 20-25 million users a month, both on its flagship Local.com site and through syndication deals. On the same day it announced the acquisition it also announced a $30 million line-of-credit from Silicon Valley Bank.

In return, Octane360 gives Local.com the opportunity to expand beyond its main site and offer new products.

Peter Hutto, Senior VP of Corporate Development, explained that the acquisition “Takes our footprint and expands from Local.com into potentially hundreds of thousands of sites. It gives us an expanded product set to offer to small businesses.”

Local.com has a solid sales machine, but now has a new and innovative product to sell. “We lack the right suite of products to really light that up,” said Clarke. “We were selling a product that has been in the market for 15 years. This product is new for our audience.”

It will also allow the company to go upmarket by offering a suite of products from Octane360 that can sell for $1,000 or more. That’s a major difference from selling a $50 product, as it opens up an entirely new sales channel.

“This allows us to have a product at a price point that a feet-on-the-street sales force can sell and make money,” explained Hutto. “That opens up channel sales partners. We have all those partners already; what we don’t have is a product to sell through them.”

Until now.

Not only is having a product to sell through outside sales representatives a first for Local.com, but it’s also a first for domainers.

“This is entirely new for the domain industry, period,” said Clarke.

Octane360 clients should start to see increased revenue in the near term. Local.com’s pay-per-click search listings have already been integrated onto Octane domains. Soon you’ll see the effect of sales from more call centers and through additional channels. For now, the company still works mostly with domain owners with 500 or more geo category domain names.


© DomainNameWire.com 2010.

Review and rate domain name parking companies at Parking Judge.

Related posts:

  1. Local.com Buys Octane360 for Up to $11 Million
  2. Octane360 Monetizes Long Tail Geo Domain Names
  3. Success Story: Octane360 Takes Domain Monetization Beyond PPC

Local.com Buys Octane360 for Up to $11 Million

July 1, 2010Domain Services, Domaining, Domainnamewire, octane360Comments Off on Local.com Buys Octane360 for Up to $11 Million

Company powered by geo domains is acquired.

I got a “we should catch up” email from Octane360 CEO Adam Rioux last night. Then this morning I see this – he just sold his company for $5 million in cash and stock plus an earnout of $5.9 million.

My first thought: that was fast. My second thought: I’m not too surprised.

I’ve been singing the praises of Octane360′s business model for a while, and talking about what it can do for owners of localized domain names. But talk about a fast sale — it was still essentially a beta offering.

My previous success with Octane360 was selling listings on sites such as StlDayCare.com. But as the company pulled the pieces together and started selling the leads collected on similar sites, that started to pull in additional revenue. By teaming with Local.com, Octane360 should quickly move to the next level.

I consider this a win for the domain industry. In many ways Octane360 is a domain name company — one that has figured out how to merge the world of SEO and local geo domains.


© DomainNameWire.com 2010.

Review and rate domain name parking companies at Parking Judge.

Related posts:

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5 Alternatives to Traditional Domain Name Parking

April 13, 2010devhub, Domain Parking, Domaining, Domainnamewire, epik, octane360, rootorange, smartname, whyparkComments Off on 5 Alternatives to Traditional Domain Name Parking

Parking revenue got you down? Here are 5 alternatives to try.

Here are five alternatives to traditional pay-per-click domain parking.

RootOrange – RootOrange will lease your domain name on a local basis to multiple parties. In theory, this leasing will provide you with a steady income stream that should top what you can achieve by using the domain at an international-only level. Check out DivorceLawyer.com for an example.

Shopping Feeds – if you have a product domain, you should consider “developing” your domain by including products on the page. This will make it look like an e-commerce site. SmartName offers SmartName Shops, which uses a PPC feed from Shopping.com. You can also try Epik Product, which uses various affiliate feeds. Epik charges a set up fee, but offers a guarantee.

Octane360 – Octane360 creates directory sites on your geo domain names (e.g. WashingtonAllergists.com) and then sells directory listings to local businesses via a call center. Sites can also be monetized using PPC and pay-per-lead.

DevHub – DevHub offers a simple, WYSIWYG editor to create web sites quickly. You can drag-and-drop shopping product feeds, news, video widgets, and more. Monetization is primarily through PPC, but also includes affiliate and CPA options.

WhyPark – now owned by domain parking company Parked.com, WhyPark quickly develops domain names using articles and other syndicated content. You can also add your own custom content for better results. Although this is traditionally recommended for domains that don’t get much traffic, WhyPark has been able to take good type-in domains and make more money than with traditional parking.


© DomainNameWire.com 2009.

Review and rate domain name parking companies at Parking Judge.

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Success Story: Octane360 Takes Domain Monetization Beyond PPC

February 10, 2010Domain Services, Domaining, Domainnamewire, local search, octane360Comments Off on Success Story: Octane360 Takes Domain Monetization Beyond PPC

Company brings multiple revenue streams to domain names.

Octane360In December I wrote about Octane360, a startup that promises to bring new monetization options to domain names. I’m happy to report that the company is delivering on its promise.

The company’s bread-and-butter is monetizing long tail geo domain names, such as CityDermatologist.com or CityPlumbers.com.

The company creates a small directory web site on each domain name. But unlike many other domain development solutions, Octane360 doesn’t just try to get traffic that will monetize with pay-per-click ads. Octane 360 uses multiple monetization methods for each domain: pay-per-lead, ppc, directory listings, and sometimes pay-per-call.

The real power behind Octane360’s system is its salesforce. The company has contracted with an outside call center to sell listings on the domains over the phone. Within a couple weeks, this salesforce will grow to 100 people solely selling listings on Octane360 sites.

And it works. A few months ago I set up about 200 long tail geo domain names on the system. It took about 6-8 weeks for the domain names to start getting good search engine traction; now about 90% of them are ranked on the first page of Google for their primary keyword. Once the domains get good search rankings, they are added to the call center’s database to sell listings to local businesses.

Although it’s still early, a handful of my domains already have paid listings on them. (Here’s an example for Anaheim Custom Homes.) Because of the commission Octane360 pays the call center, most listings will bring in about $5 a month to the domain owner. But that’s $60 a year per listing. The sites Octane360 has been successful selling listings on used to make less than $10 a year from pay-per-click. Between a couple listings, some pay-per-lead revenue, and PPC, decent domain names could make between $120-$200 a year on Octane360’s system.

It gets even better if someone uses the self-service feature on the domains to add their own listing. On one of my domains, a dermatologist added a listing for $60 a month. There’s no call center commission, so I’m earning $30 a month as long as that dermatologist keeps its listing. (Octane360 gets a revenue share on directory listings and leads; domainers keep 100% of pay-per-click revenue.)

Octane360 also gives you the tools to sign up advertisers yourself, which of course means you keep more money than a a listing sold by the call center.

The company is still innovating and working out its business process. But in a sea of new solutions for domain name owners, Octane360 shows some of the most promise. Not only does it get your domain names ranked in search engines, but it doesn’t rely solely on PPC.

The company isn’t making empty promises — it is delivering real revenue to domain names that previously made little money.


© DomainNameWire.com 2009.

Review and rate domain name parking companies at Parking Judge.

Related posts:

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  3. GoDaddy Takes on eBay, Amazon.com, and Yahoo

Octane360 Monetizes Long Tail Geo Domain Names

December 1, 2009Domain Parking, Domaining, Domainnamewire, octane360Comments Off on Octane360 Monetizes Long Tail Geo Domain Names

Company provides scalable solution to monetize long tail geo domains.

Octane360Connecting local businesses to customers is a huge business. But it has always presented a challenge to owners of long tail geo domain names, such as (City)DaySpa.com. A couple scalable platforms exist to let you build out these domain names, but monetizing them with anything other than PPC has proven elusive.

That’s where Octane360 comes in. The Los Angeles-based company provides a platform for developing these domain names and monetizing them directly with local advertisers. I just started a test with Octane360 this past week on 200 domains and will report back frequently with my progress.

Here’s how it works. You add your domain names to Octane360’s platform and “build them out” based on a template. For example, I own a number of CityDermatologist.com domain names. Working with Octane360, we created a “dermatology” template that is applied across all of these domains. (Templates are already available for most major categories). You can see an example at SunnyvaleDermatologist.com.

Each web site’s focus is on local directory listings and lead generation, but also includes content such as an interactive Q&A section and shopping when applicable. Web sites can also include Adsense or other display and PPC advertising, but the focus is on driving leads to local businesses.

And that’s where the magic happens. It would be challenging, if not a waste of time, for the typical domainer to contact small business owners for each domain to sell them a directory listing. But Octane360 has partnerships with call centers that sell listings for you. They’re already calling on customers and prospects to buy certain advertising products, and the local directory listings on your domains are one more product to peddle.

Octane360 gave me a glimpse of its back-end advertising sales system and it’s impressive. When talking to a prospective customer, a sales rep can pull up an entire list of relevant directories within a certain radius of the business to cross sell. The company splits directory earnings with publishers, and publishers can keep 100% of Adsense earnings.

Octane360 has more development and directory capabilities, but for now I’m only working with them on these local directory sites. Will it perform better than PPC? The bar is set pretty low, and Octane360 shows promise. Stay tuned.


© DomainNameWire.com 2009.

Review and rate domain name parking companies at Parking Judge.

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