The new Domain Pigeon:
By far the most radical change to Domain Pigeon is that it is now completely free.
Until recently, only 25% of the domains on the site were viewable to everyone. The remaining 75% were viewable to members only, which cost a one time fee of $14.95. During the first two weeks there were a fair amount of sign ups, but surprisingly, the site was bringing in a nontrivial amount of money via the affiliate links too.
Here’s a brain teaser:
Say Domain Pigeon makes $10 when it displays 1,000 domain names. Will it make $40 if it displays 4,000?
I can see arguments being made that the revenues would become less than, about equal to, or more than $40. My hope is that more domain names = more selection and more word of mouth advertising = more registrations = more affiliate revenue. Brilliant, huh? Seems simple, and on one hand it is, but then you also have to factor in how much revenue I’m losing by not charging people for full access. Say 1/1000 visitors would have signed up for an account. Will I now make more than $14.95/1000 people? What if I had 1/2000 sign ups, but I make $X/1000 from affiliate revenue? And does that even matter? I’d rather make $3/1000 people with 10K visitors than $14.95/1000 with 2K visitors. Head asplode.
We’ll see what happens. Regardless of how the profits play out, I think its a good move because it makes Domain Pigeon a better service for its core audience: people looking for domain names.
The second major change is that domains are now added automatically throughout the day. Currently the homepage refreshes itself every 20 minutes with 20 new domain names. This works out to be 60 domains/hour, 1,440/day, 10,080/week. This likely will change a lot in the next few days. I’m going to make the amount of domains released proportional to the number of people that are currently on the site. This adds a whole new dimension to Domain Pigeon it’ll be interesting to see how it goes.