Parked Domains Will Make Google Irrelevant

Today, I had a neat idea. I wanted to see if there was a such thing a type of dresser that is made up of modular, stackable sections. The dresser has a top, a bottom and one or more frames in between. Each section holds a one, two or three drawers. It’s a novel concept, but I never seen anything like that.

So, I searched Google for modular dresser drawers. The top result was exactly what I was looking for. Google seemed to have captured a very relevant result:

A snapshot of the Google results for “modular dresser drawers”.

However, when I clicked the link, I was severely disappointed. The top two results were parked domains, full of advertisements. Even their Sponsored Links are not very relevant either. It would be nice if Google was able to detect these leeches accurately. However, Google will probably do nothing about it. They even cater to these keepers of misinformation by offering Google AdSense for [Parked] Domains:

AdSense® for domains allows domain name registrars and large domain name holders to unlock the value in their parked page inventory. AdSense for domains delivers targeted, conceptually related advertisements to parked domain pages by using Google’s semantic technology to analyze and understand the meaning of the domain names. Our program uses ads from the Google AdWords™ network, which is comprised of thousands of advertisers worldwide and is growing larger everyday. Google AdSense for domains targets web sites in over 25 languages, and has fully localized segmentation technology in over 10 languages.

It not like the Google needs another way to acquire more money. However, this type of practice is going to have consequences. If I keep getting parked domains as top relevant results, I certainly have no use for Google. So, start looking at some other search engines, I first start with AltaVista. Before I started using Google exclusively, I used AltaVista. I was surprised that they still existed in some form. The results of the same query to AltaVista yielded something interesting:

A snapshot of AltaVista results for “modular dresser drawers”.

After taking a close look, I realized that even though the first few results are Sponsored Links, it turns out that they were the more relevant than Google’s result. The second (and most importantly to me) is that I did not find any parked domains on the first page of the results. I was very impressed.

So, how did others search engines do in my very unscientific test?

The results on Ask.com seem to have some relevence, but some of the results on the bottom of the first page point to dead links. Not a good thing, in my opinion, because that tells me that Ask does not check back often to see if the result is still relevant. Ask.com also has Sponsored Links on the top and the bottom, with some sponsored links repeated. Very annoying, indeed! On top of that, it was hard to tell the difference between a Sponsored Link from a standard result because the Sponsored Links only had a single text element telling me that it was a Sponsored Link. There was no background contrast, no boundaries, and no distinguishing text colors. The most positive thing about the results from Ask.com, there were no parked domains in the results.

On Microsoft Live, the results were about the same as Ask.com, but it was even harder to tell between a Sponsored Link and a standard result in the main content area. I had to look very hard. The first Sponsored Link in the right sidebar seemed to point to another search site. A little weird, but I can work with that. Again, to my surprise, there were no parked domains on the first page of the results.

On Yahoo, the results very familiar, almost like Google. The standard results are numbered, while Sponsored Links are bulleted. As with the others, the results are mostly relevant. But again, there are no parked domains on Yahoo’s first page of my results.

Of the major search providers, why does Google allow these shenanigans? Are they trying to be different, or are they seriously behind in this area? From my perspective, they are seriously annoying me as one of their customers. I have been using Google since it was located at google.stanford.edu, and I had been quite satisfied. However, they are slowly getting on my bad side. So, listen up Google, before you become irrelevant yourselves.

19 Responses to “Parked Domains Will Make Google Irrelevant”


  1. 1 TME October 8, 2007 at 3:29 am

    Google is always trying to improve it’s search algorithm. They do a lot to try and avoid returning ad spam in search results, but they aren’t perfect. They can’t be too strict or legitimate sites will get blocked, and many sites rely on google for their lively hood. The topic you searched for was pretty obscure, so getting spamming results isn’t entirely unexpected.

  2. 2 JRSofty October 8, 2007 at 6:21 am

    @TME

    That’s just an excuse for Google. I agree with the Author that if Google is going to return Parked domains in the first ten results then they are not helping people find their requested information.

    I had no idea that they were encouraging parked domains with AdSense. That is really a shame while parked domains are so annoying. I’m sure that I’ll be looking for other search engines to use as Google’s returns become more and more irrelevant to my search needs.

  3. 3 krsnakhandelwal October 8, 2007 at 6:44 am

    istead of serching as per the requirement, there should be defined topics and sub topics and ready made lists of the top sites to be referred to by the sercher and there google may fix a charge to cover costs of site appraisals or charge extra for the ads on such selected sites.

  4. 4 kL October 8, 2007 at 9:36 am

    Google is always trying to improve their revenue streams. “Don’t be Evil to Shareholders”, remember?

  5. 5 JP October 8, 2007 at 10:35 am

    When a Search Engine company gets into domain registration and web/e-mail hosting it is history, since they do it when the management is confident that ads sales revenue is going down….google RIP……

  6. 6 T.F. Torrey October 8, 2007 at 11:02 am

    An interesting observation. Other people have noted this evident conflict of interest for Google before, and I hope this isn’t an indicator of how well they will keep their promise to stay neutral. I’m wondering now if parked domains are excluded from Google’s results only if they contain non-AdSense ads. Thanks for the detailed analysis and write-up.

  7. 7 bananasfk October 8, 2007 at 11:18 am

    Parked domains (and ad-laden sites) is am area where GoDaddy the domain registrar have an income interest in to.

    If Google wished to sort out the problem they should deny all godaddy domains access to the google index. Since most might be deemed parked domain advertising scams.

    The problem here is probably more to do with Godaddy.com business model.

    Then again do what i do and ignore the first pages of the google search (start from page 4) that is a good technique and upsets the seo’ers too.

    I wouldn’t recommend godaddy to start with (never been a client of theres).

  8. 8 Jay October 8, 2007 at 11:33 am

    The Altavista results are supplied by Yahoo, so it’s no surprise you’re getting similar results with those two engines.

    Google’s search quality has been degrading steadily as their results get filled with SEO spam. Try using another search engine like Ask or Yahoo for a week and you’ll see a real difference in quality for obscure searches.

  9. 9 wiskey3 October 8, 2007 at 12:28 pm

    thanks for the info

  10. 10 ジェイソン (Jason) October 8, 2007 at 12:43 pm

    How is “modular dresser drawers” obscure? It sounds pretty darned specific to me. That said, I’ve also noticed that parked domains are starting to rank much higher in the Google results.

    A few months back I did some digging into this phenomenon (because my boss at the time wanted the company website to appear higher when someone typed specific keywords) and it appears that many of these parked domains have decent Google PR’s thanks to links from other parked domains. It’s chains upon chains upon chains of spam sites that look real to the GoogleBot and create great PR scores (between 3 and 5 on average, depending on who owns the domains) and lots of random traffic. Once the sites gain enough value (PR, keywords, domain uniqueness, etc.), they go up on the block to the highest bidder😕

    Kinda makes me wish I had $20,000 in extra cash lying around to do the very same thing….

  11. 11 Autocrat October 8, 2007 at 1:32 pm

    Not a suprise really.
    Google is rapidly developing the same image/reputation that companies like MicroSoft get… they are big, they do a lot of things… an when they stuff up we view it as unacceptable as we expect better from them.

    I disagree with … TME … on the idea that the “obscure” is likely to return less filterd results. Either it’s a case of “no-bias”, as google to not apply any priority over content types… orthat due to it’s obscurity and smaller result range, by simple ration Google should have found them and removedas it has less to go through.

    I’m not one to agree wtih knocking the big boys as their big (which is a common social trait)… but I do beliee in the idea that if you have a lot of users and make the claims that they do, they should damn well stick to them.

    Permitting Parked domains to carry specialised adverts when they are blatantly Advert-spree sites is disgusting.
    So much for Google doing the job of finding relevant results.
    They have obviously opted for the “more money” choice over the “this is what you wanted” option!.

    May be we should call it “boo-gle” and bouycot😀

  12. 12 sketching October 8, 2007 at 8:34 pm

    Thank you for the informative post. Parked domains are becoming a contentious problem for search engines. Its very odd. the parked domains are nothing but link farms but yet they are usually in the top results. Most of the time however they will have domain names that just spell ‘Parked domain’.

  13. 13 Mike October 8, 2007 at 8:43 pm

    I have noticed the same thing with google, and on top of being irrelevant to the search, I have come accross sites I don’t go visit. How would you like to be looking for a metal sleigh bed and end up in a porn site, and trust me there was no sleigh bed on the page that pulled up. Thank goodness I got the window shut before my kids walked up.

  14. 14 Baby Milo October 8, 2007 at 11:20 pm

    Being heavily involved in SEO myself – lets say Google is one of the easiest search engines to manipulate. Maybe its because I only focus on this search engine though… the others just dont matter to me.

  15. 15 bleak247 October 8, 2007 at 11:50 pm

    I hate when people associate SEO with SPAM. A good SEO just follows Search Engine Guidelines on how to build a quality site that Search Engines Understand. Obviously, there are people looking to make a quick buck who abuse the heck out of these guidelines and find loopholes that get them to the top. The reason Google seems to have some bad results is because they command a much greater market share, and SPAMMERS focus their efforts there. As soon as searchers move to a new platform within weeks these other search engines will be full of SPAM as well. Don’t blame SEO, blame D-Bags who abuse the knowledge.

  16. 16 Ralph October 9, 2007 at 1:02 am

    @bleak247:

    There is no beef about SEO, especially if there is usable content. If a site has usable content, by all means the site should maximize their potential. My point was that these parked domains are containers for advertising. They have no usable content. They solely exist to measure how much demand there is for the domain name, and the owners can flip it for profit. What irks me the most is that Google is counting these leeches as relevant results.

  17. 17 Neil Dickson October 9, 2007 at 2:41 am

    The search above no longer shows the parked domains at the top. In fact this blog post is pretty high up there.😀

  18. 18 Ralph October 9, 2007 at 3:27 am

    @Neil Dickson:

    Wow! You are correct! I guess this entry provided a more relevant result.🙂

  19. 19 xhydra May 21, 2008 at 1:36 pm

    fast forward to 2008
    Google’s results pages are so clean now. I hardly hit any parked ad pages or even scrapper sites when I use google.

    Well done GOOG


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