Domain parking sucks, is getting worse and worse, year after year… but could it get SO BAD that you end up with a negative balance? We have all had the 1 click for $0.00 but could it be worse? According to SmartName, it appears so. I mentioned my displeasure with SmartName earlier this week about “Quality Adjustments” and nothing to back up the “adjustments”.

In fact, I went back and forth with SmartName rep Elizabeth to get things straightened out and I think she stopped replying to me once I started asking her to verify that my domain parking balance is negative! I didn’t get a domain parking revenue payment the past two months and couldn’t figure out why. I was shown a “Total” in my account. A positive total. When a “Total” is displayed, that is what SmartName has always paid me. So here are the numbers:

quality-adjustment

Again, do you see a negative sign in front of my “Total” for either month? A negative sign by the quality adjustment number? No! December shows $73.31 total and November shows $33.85 total. It never dawned on me that the totals may be negative, because how do you end up with a negative balance, when if anything should happen, you end up with $0. If something was wrong with what you earned, they claw it back! If you have 5 fingers, get them all cut off for stealing, you have 0 fingers left! Not negative fingers, zero fingers!

I was repeatedly told from Elizabeth

we did receive chargebacks in those amounts from our feed providers, which were larger than the amount of revenue you accrued, so there was no revenue left over from those months that was due to be paid out.

How do you get a chargeback LARGER than what I earned? That doesn’t make any sense?

The way I am seeing the “Totals” now is, in November, I earned $46.96 in parking revenue, but the quality adjustment from the feed provider was $-80.81? Again, how do I earn $46.96 and have $80.81 taken away? This would leave me with $-33.85 . December was even worse! $7.51 in revenue and a chargeback from the ad provider of $-80.82, with a negative balance of $-73.31 .

What in the world?

I expressed that I needed some proof of these clawbacks. How do I know this $80+ chargebacks are not for another account than mine? I have parked the very same domain names month after month after month and changed nothing. Is SmartName padding other accounts to make up money someplace?

I want some answers! What went wrong to have the clawbacks? Show me some IP addresses. What domain name(s) were involved. Are we talking a couple clicks, thousands of clicks? How do you rank “good” traffic, compared to “bad” traffic? Show me some proof please Elizabeth:

The feed provider is not under obligation to provide us with specific information regarding chargebacks. We understand that you would like specific information, but we do not have specific information to provide.

So, blind again. I have to accept that, SmartName and the ad providers are the boss? They do not have to provide proof if they are stealing your money or not? What they say goes?

At this point is when I started asking for clarifications if my “Totals” are actually negative numbers and I haven’t heard back yet. I think it’s pretty clear that my domain parking revenue is a Negative Balance! Even though none of the numbers displayed “show” they are negative and with Elizabeth stating the chargebacks:

were larger than the amount of revenue you accrued, so there was no revenue left over from those months that was due to be paid out.

It’s clear they took back more than I actually earned and my balance is negative. How do you like those apples! Rotten! I moved to DomainNameSales.com shortly after emailing Elizabeth and won’t look back. Not for the parking, but for the sales, customer support and simply a better overall system. I used my SmartName pages with a link on top of the page that directly linked to Afternic listing pages. I would get a 5% kickback on Afternic domain sales with the domain parked at SmartName… and it made sense to do it. So, now I think I may just leave Afternic in the dust as well. At a minimum, I think I will remove my BIN prices from Afternic and see how the brokers do via DNS.

So can you end up with a negative domain name parking balance? I guess so! If they send me a bill, I’m taking a little trip to pay some people a visit!

About Jamie Zoch

Jamie Zoch is a domain investor, dad and dedicated husband who founded DotWeekly.com in 2008 to bring unique and helpful views on domain names. Jamie is very passionate about domain names and helping others learn and prosper.

26 Responses to Negative Domain Parking Revenue?
  1. A while back I wrote a parody story on DG about Sedo charging to display relevant ads on parked domains. Fiction trumps reality every time πŸ˜€

  2. Hi Jamie,

    I cannot speak for SmartName, but I’ll be happy to take your business if you’re looking to move. We’ve put a lot into our technology & customer service. We provide the information in a way you can actually understand.

    As far as the SmartName issue, likely what they meant to do is deduct an extra penny from the original $80.81. Instead, it seems they have deducted the earnings twice from you. On top of that, the math doesn’t make sense as -$33.85 minus $80.82 plus $7.51 would technically put you at a -$107.16 balance.

    It is however possible that their upstream ad provider (which is the same one we as well as DNS uses), has deducted for earnings prior to November. It is possible for them to go back 60-90 days in certain cases.

  3. Parking an only go so low before people pull their traffic from parking programs altogether and use their trickle of type-in traffic to sell the domain name at platforms like DomainNameSales.com or SEDO

    There if you are patient the payback on sales is already far stronger than parking and there is nearly no good reason to park today even if payouts are positive.

  4. I wonder why you are still parking your domains with SmartName… Have you ever tried DomainNameSales?

    • @Abdul,
      I stated at the bottom of the article that I have moved my domains to DomainNameSales.com now, after you mentioned it the other day.

      • Sorry as I missed reading that particular line. However, IMO you took a great decision and keep us updated with how things turn out to be at DNS in coming days.

        Wish you all the best πŸ™‚

        • @Abdul,
          I’m still getting use to the DNS system, as there are A LOT of options. I did receive 2 inquires already though: One lady wants some cup holders and the other “I want this website”. I did figure out how to switch the domains to for sale landers only, so maybe that will help with the product and not so serious requests in the near future.

          • Yeah, lot of options and are very much useful. It takes time to understand the system and I just added you at Skype so feel free to ask me if you find anything complicated.

            Such inquiries come with nonsense messages… Although it seems the second inquiry seems okay but looks the person has little to no knowledge about domains and it’s value. Such buyers offer few hundreds at max.

            • @Abdul,
              Thanks Abdul! Sounds like a good blog post for you to do πŸ™‚ What options are a must use at DNS and why. πŸ˜‰

              • Not a bad idea though πŸ˜‰

                Some quick things to do:

                Under Settings, Sales Settings, you can activate Name Syndication which will syndicate the names in your portfolios with third-party domain marketplaces. Currently there is only one partner (DomainTools.com). Some time back GoDaddy was the partner as well. Also set your profile under “My Sales Profile” by entering all necessary detail including avatar contact IDs and using signature gives better impression to inquirer.

                You can also use Escrow.com integration for the deals to automate things.

                Under For Sale Configuration, I haven’t activated “Email Confirmation” feature as that reduces the number of inquiries and sometimes we may miss the genuine buyer.

                Under Settings, Auto Assignment, Old Lead Management tool is very important as I normally don’t follow up with inquirers. I have selected 30 days and all my inactive inquiries for the last 30 days get automatically forwarded to DNS brokers but you can assign any one you would like to… This is the most important feature and helpful in long run when you are not following up with inquirers regularly and I have sold many domains using this feature.

              • With the Name Syndication, you pay a 20% commission on top of any broker fees with DNS? That is the way it appears, so commission could be upwards of 40%?

              • How about how to get DNS to acknowledge your applications?

              • @Joseph,
                When I applied it took about 24 hours to get approved (not on a weekend) and I’m sure they want at least some quality domain names in your portfolio to make it worth while (not saying you do not have that, I just suspect that is one of the qualifications).

    • DNS does not entertain everyone. I myself have tried couple of time and every time they say that i need to have a larger portfolio of domains. I own around 130 domain names and have parked them with parkingcrew.com

  5. With Name Syndication, you pay only 20% when the lead is from GoDaddy (if you had any from the past when they were having partnership with them) and DomainTools.com. So you ends up paying 20% commission from the total sale amount and nothing more which to me seems very much reasonable.

    • Thanks Abdul! 20% is pretty common, so I’m good with that. Doubling up would have been painful, so I’m glad to hear it’s only 20%, so I activated it.

  6. To their credit SmartName has no control over their provider though I would have gone about handling a client in a more…diplomatic way. I wouldn’t delist from them completely, why cut off the possibility of a sale when it costs you nothing? Given don’t park with them but at the least have your names list at Afternic.com.

  7. When DNS is there, I don’t know why people are using these things. DNS increased my parking revenue by more than 10 times per month. I used to park at Sedo before that.

  8. As Matt said, clawbacks can arrive a couple months later.
    I receive pretty funny inquiries (even with a link stating that it’s a domain’s sale), some are naughty. At least they make me smile.

  9. “upstream ad provider”………….

    Are you people forbidden to say GOOGLE? Come on. We all know who is responsible for these evil NON-transparent practices.

  10. Jill – actually, that is correct. It is part of our agreement not to disclose who we work with by name.

  11. Hi Jaime,

    I might be nitpicking here but I didn’t notice anyone else pointing this out so I will.

    You state:
    “Again, do you see a negative sign in front of my β€œTotal” for either month? A negative sign by the quality adjustment number? No! December shows $73.31 total and November shows $33.85 total.”

    Actually yes I do see a negative sign. Whenever currency amounts are placed within parentheses that indicates the number is negative. So what I see in your screenshot is a negative balance of ($80.81) plus positive earnings of $46.96 leaving a negative balance of ($33.85) for December.

    The starting balance for January is $0.01 lower (or “more negative”) and I completely agree that makes no sense, however you might have caught this sooner if you recognized the parentheses indicated a negative amount.

    • Thanks for pointing that out J. I should ask my accountant student wife πŸ™‚ as I wasn’t aware of that. SmartName would never admit to the negative balance and only would use the wording as stated in the article. -$33.85 is pretty clear no matter who looks at it, so it would be best if they used that if they intended for the parentheses to show the number as negative. Either way, thanks for pointing it out and I’m out of SmartName so I don’t have to worry about it any more.

      • It’s an accounting thing, you’ll notice it as an option next time you format cells for currency in a spreadsheet.

        Anyway, I’m sure you’ll be much happier at DNS. I haven’t looked back and I got a great discount at Uniregistry also, combine the discount with the TopCoin credits they give you and let’s just say it’s a deal and half.

  12. thieves…
    when its zero balance the bosses get rich..when its negative balance its the lawyers.. ha ha.


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