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Expected revenue change if I merge a bunch of domains into one

     
7:47 pm on Jul 26, 2018 (gmt 0)

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I currently have 55 domains, all with similar layouts but with different content.

Technically speaking, when you go to foo.com, you're really seeing bar.co/foo... but since I have a .CO I can't really market it, so instead I use specialized domains. I park all of the domains on top of the one, then I use .htaccess to Rewrite the pages, then I use PHP to read the domain to determine the proper content to show. So the user has no idea that this rewrite is happening on every page.

In the last 30 days, my largest site had 4.8 million pageviews, and all 55 sites combined had 16.4 million pageviews.

I recently found the .NET of my preferred domain up for auction... which still isn't ideal, but better than .CO! It's not cheap, though.

So my question is, would I see a significant bump in ad value if I actually redirected all of the pages to bar.net, so that the one domain had 16.4 million pageviews instead of spreading it out across all 55?

It would be a significant investment on my end, but if it would cause enough of a bump in revenue to pay for itself then it would justified. I can't afford to spend that much money on nothing, though, so I'm hoping to hear from anyone with experience here.
1:57 am on July 27, 2018 (gmt 0)

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So the user has no idea that this rewrite is happening on every page.
Unless they read this...

It's likely you'll have an immediate loss of revenue by merging domains since traffic will be disrupted on several levels. Whether that revenue will return or even increase is anybody's guess.

But IMO - If it works, don't fix it.
3:13 am on July 27, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Based on what you described, the content across 55 domains is already merged into the .Co version via rewrite? And you are just thinking is the .net will offer better traffic than .co?
4:28 am on July 27, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Based on what you described, the content across 55 domains is already merged into the .Co version via rewrite? And you are just thinking is the .net will offer better traffic than .co?

No, as far as Adsense and Google Search are concerned, they're 55 different websites. On the server's end they're really just one, but Google doesn't see it that way; they see it as 55 different websites.

I can't really market a .co domain, because anyone would see a billboard and immediately remember .com instead of .co. But a .net doesn't really have that same problem... at least, not to the same degree.

So if I did this change, then Google and Adsense would see one domain with 16 million monthly pageviews.
5:16 am on July 27, 2018 (gmt 0)

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I see. I personally see it as a gamble, especially if the content are not closely related to one another. It'll be something hard to undo once you get it started. Google will go nuts.

If I am to do it personally, I would get the .net, but without the outright merge. Slowly introduce content into the .net version starting with the lowest traffic domain property to avoid nasty shocks. With cross promotion from the existing domains, the new site should pick up pretty quickly. It will take longer, but it's much safer. I would take the long term investment approach.

A no return merge into the main site .net with everything, is too much risk in my opinion. I do not believe adsense treats a 5 million pv versus 16 million differently, at least not within the same account. I think you probably see it too, is the 5 million pv site different than your 100k pv site? If the niche and audience matches, the RPM should closely match.

There are practical management benefits of having a mega site, targetted ads, less custodial maintenance work, potential future exits with packaged sale, etc, but not in terms of adsense based on my personal observations between bigger / smaller domains that I operate. But then I do not have domains that generate more than 10 million+ pv's. I do know there are certain advertisers / agencies with domain traffic requirements, but that's outside adsense's scope and reside more in the direct buy / deal space.

I utilize your approach with multiple domains with significantly varying traffic levels of my own. And I don't have the guts to do what you are thinking of merging completely :). I would love to see how it turns out if you do decide to go through with it.
6:06 am on July 27, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Do you have different accounts for any of the 55, or it is all under one account? If the latter, it probably won't make much difference ... what g sees and adsense sees might be two different things.
6:40 am on July 27, 2018 (gmt 0)

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If I am to do it personally, I would get the .net, but without the outright merge.

Well, the thing here is that the .net is going to be a $10,000 purchase, so I really can't afford to go slow and see what happens; I need for it to increase the average Impression RPM by at least $0.12 to justify the expense.


I think you probably see it too, is the 5 million pv site different than your 100k pv site?

Well, that's a pretty good point. Comparing my top 3 sites, the Impression RPM was decreased proportionate to pvs (the #1 site in pageviews had the highest RPM, the 2nd site in pvs had the 2nd highest RPM, and the 3rd had the 3rd highest RPM).

But then the site that had the 4th highest traffic had the highest RPM of all, so that kind of blows my theory! LOL

I guess I was thinking more along the lines of, would a single site with 3 times as much traffic be more appealing to buyers that would then bid more? If that's the case then comparing a site with 5 million pvs to one with 100k pvs wouldn't really be the same as comparing it to one with 16 million pvs.


Do you have different accounts for any of the 55, or it is all under one account?

Nope, it's all just the one account.
7:10 am on July 27, 2018 (gmt 0)

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There's your answer. Making this move would be to gain value in a more recognized "top" tld, and .net certainly qualifies ... HOWEVER, since the .com is not available who will you be competing with .net v .com? As .co you have no "competition.

As far as adsense is concerned, you have an account with many many different urls ... if, as you say, each one is content different than any other that shouldn't change much in that ... other than whatever concerns that I addressed above might introduce to your SERPS.
11:36 am on July 27, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Sounds like a huge shuffle of your network of sites, merging, AND change of URLs . I am not sure anyone can tell what is going to happen. It can be good, or bad, or in between. May be you can do it progressively, posting your new content on your new site, and may be "progressively" redirecting old content to the new one.

Personally, I am not fan of ".net", excepting if it has a meaning within the domain name itself. It sounds like a poor alternative to a .com , also, .net is abusively increasing prices years after years, much more than .com.
11:55 am on July 27, 2018 (gmt 0)

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That may be, @Dimitri, but .net has a global value slightly above nation state tlds as far as web users are concerned... not saying better, just more RECOGNITION as "top level", same "name recognition" as .com, .edu, .mil and .gov ... with .net being right next to .com.
6:49 pm on July 27, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Sounds like a huge shuffle of your network of sites, merging, AND change of URLs

It would actually be really easy to change them all at once on my end... I change one line in my variables.php, another in variables.lib, and one line in the .htaccess. The user can already go to foo.co/bar if they want, so all I really have to do is park a new domain, change the $home variable, and remove the RewriteRule.

Doing it progressively would be a lot more complicated, though.


Personally, I am not fan of ".net", excepting if it has a meaning within the domain name itself. It sounds like a poor alternative to a .com

It's definitely not my first choice! But here's my dilemma.

The best choice for a domain for me would be a 4-letter .com, but this domain was purchased by someone in 1999 and (according to the Way Back Machine) they only used it for a year to promote a computer repair store. I've emailed the address in the WHOIS a thousand times with no reply, and there's nothing on the domain with contact info or about being for sale. And it's currently registered until 2020 with the last update being a few months ago, so it's apparent that the owner just plans to hold on to it until they die.

A few years back I bought the .co version (when Overstock.com was promoting O.co) in the hopes that it could be marketable, but it's really not. I ran a billboard using the .co, but had hundreds of calls from people saying that the site wasn't working... because they were typing in .com.

I've tried at least a dozen varieties (fooinc.com, foonetwork.com, foo.biz, etc), but nothing has quite stuck. I really need that .com!

So the .net is by far not my first choice, but it's the best alternative without the .com being available. Unless the guy that owns the .com lets it become available in 2020, and I happen to be able to snatch it before a reseller can.

From a marketing perspective, it has the potential to increase my traffic and decrease my marketing expenses... but I was really hoping it would increase my ad value first so that it would pay for itself pretty quickly. Ad revenue has been so far down the last couple months that I'm barely keeping my head above water, and really can't afford the purchase "in the hopes" of saving money long term.
9:01 pm on July 27, 2018 (gmt 0)

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It would actually be really easy to change them all at once on my end...

I meant, a big shuffle, form a Google (and other search engines) point of view.
12:25 am on July 28, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Oh, I see :-) I was thinking that I could just change the canonical links to all existing pages to point to the original domain (so that when they're on bar.net/foo/whatever the canonical would point to foo.com/whatever) so that all of the old stuff would stay the same, but then new pages would have the canonical to bar.net/foo/whatever.

That would something I could easily change over time, but it's still mostly all or nothing. Once I do it, there's no real turning back.

All of the variables are driving me insane... I wish Adsense had a clear doctrine of "sites with up to W ad impressions get $X, and sites with up to Y ad impressions get $Z".
3:45 am on July 28, 2018 (gmt 0)

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I ran a billboard using the .co, but had hundreds of calls from people saying that the site wasn't working... because they were typing in .com.


Via advertising you can make any domain work ... just have to do it right. Try something like

"example.co NOT com"

I bet your visitors will never forget. :)