The Hipster Domain Holding Page

Judging by the We’re Not Really Squatting Facebook group and my informal polling, many of us buy up domains with the best intentions but leave them fallow for extended periods of time. We’ve all ran across plenty of intellect-offending domainer squatting pages like this one:

Domain Squat Page at "WhatHaveYou.com"

And oh so many who offer in text at the top of the page suggesting they have “(domain name here) – What You Need, When You Need It” only to be followed by a bunch of sponsored links that may or may not have anything to do with anything…like our friend Gongle.com over here:

The Classic Domain Squat

It’s almost a mass art art form of its own.

I had to use guesswork to find that one. Google doesn’t return any of them when you search for that phrase, so I’m guessing they’re on to that particular script and filter it out.

I’m sitting on several domains myself and have them parked without even a “coming soon” page up. Between the enthusastic and sometimes spontaneous domain name purchase and the eventual build-out of the crazy idea it was inspired by, they sit on the registry shelf collecting dust. If I stop to wait to think of something thoughtful to put on every one of these, it never gets prioritized and I never get to it. It’s not like they are in-demand names or would likely get any traffic, but still, it seems like an awful waste. Why not make the visits of those ten random people that much more enjoyable?

So the thought is — why not create a re-usable page of useful and/or entertaining things to sit on all of my owned domains? Since I’m not a domainer, just a guy who buys domains from time to time, I don’t really need the links to make any money although if there was a way to do that that was truly “what you need when you need it” or of appreciable use to visitors, that might be a nice mutually-beneficial consideration.

Any ideas, sketches, or creative suggestions for what should go there or how the page should be structured? I’d like to make something generalizable that any old domain hipster could grab and use. It would be neat if it pulled in some dynamic information of some kind, but even just a thoughtful message or set of information would be welcome.

[props to Ken for the initial observation about “what you need, when you need it,” and collaboration on the whole idea]

8 Replies to “The Hipster Domain Holding Page”

  1. siteMighty would be a will to do something like this for you. What would you want in there to personalize it? your twitter feed? your blog feed? Flickr feed?

    Any of those are very doable and would help you personalize it. From the standpoint of monetizing it we can also throw in affiliate links in the category of your choosing. (Like Henry Ford, as long as your choices credit cards, right now). we also could include your own AdSense ads too.

    if you are interested in this type of a domain holding page, it is something that we could develop fairly easily through siteMighty. What do you think?

    Chris

  2. Why not create a page full of useful links that are related to the domain name. Like a Mahalo SERP http://www.mahalo.com/Las_Vegas

    People would be disappointed they didn’t get what they wanted, but they’d at least get some useful links, unlike the two parked page examples you had above.

    You could always sprinkle in Adsense if you’d like (affiliate links would make you just as obnoxious as those parked pages)

    Another possibility:
    Just show the top three results from Google, eBay, Amazon, YouTube, and Flickr. Make a generic page that just required you to plug in a search term to seed the results. You could even show that search term to the visitor and let them supply their own term if they’re looking for something else. You could display of recent search keywords since subsequent visitors might be looking for the same thing.

  3. Thanks, Chris! I’m still figuring all that out and looking for feedback.

    If there are monetized elements on the page, I think they’d have to be highly editorial. For example, if there were a way the domain owner could easily make it a page of actual recommendations from a list of things they’ve bought, that could be one way to go. Or it could pull from the list and just display a single item really nicely each time it comes up. I just bought a wallet from Etsy that I really like, and wouldn’t mind showing that off, or the Field Notes notebooks I’ve been using. I need to do some research on what some of the sites I buy stuff from offer in terms of making that information easy to grab.

    I know the less it relies on pre-existing automation the more of a hassle it becomes, so perhaps some kind of simple hack makes sense here rather than putting a whole lot of energy into building something elaborate.

    How about you — if you’re starting from scratch, what should be on a page like this in your mind?

  4. hey Dave –

    I’ve been mucking around with the idea of programming a widget that would let you post your own list of things you recommend while at the same time, earning affiliate commissions for doing so. In the meantime, Amazon and a couple of other ventures (Lemonade, Favorite Thingz) have recently launched these very same widgets. If only I knew how to program asp .net sooner…!

    Check out http://widgets.amazon.com. You can sign up for an affiliate ID for free. At the very least, it might earn you some pizza money while those domains are languishing in the parking lot :)

  5. Thanks! Lots of good suggestions here.

    Wendy: I like the widgets, though I wish I could rip them apart and create a non-widgety presentation type. I haven’t seen them out in the world on any pages yet, but will now keep my eye out for them. I’m going to take a closer look at all of Amazon’s services as well. Maybe there’s something there that can be part of the soup.

    Eliot: Thanks for the Mahalo SERP suggestion, and the results remix idea. Might be a good use case for Mahalo’s hand-crafted approach. I think some of this may come down to aesthetics in addition to functionality. I need to start doing some experimenting.

  6. I found this post totally on accident but it struck a chord with me.. I find myself wondering the same thing about 100s of domains i’ve accumulated for various projects or with genuine intentions.. As a fellow 90%er I’ve spec’d out various solutions to this problem to be quickly deployable and no maintenance, without the tacky slumlord feel..
    Unfortunately I am in the midst of my ambien induced stumble to sleep, if you want to discuss some ideas or just bs about what projects you would want to swap to get some motivation going.. shoot me an email..

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