Wild Card Traffic Defined

A couple of days ago, Domain Holdings published a report about its ability to monetize “wildcard traffic.” Someone asked me if I knew anything about wild card traffic, and I want to share some insight about it and why it might be beneficial that Domain Power is “is now accepting wildcard traffic, which includes leased subdomains, 404 and Under Construction pages.”

Wild card traffic is essentially error traffic to a website that doesn’t land on a content page but would otherwise be sent to a web browser error page and possibly monetized by the user’s Internet Service Provider. If the traffic is not monetized by the ISP or shown an error page and a link to the correct url, the visitor will likely end up on a dead page with no content or information.

For instance, if you visit www.elliotsblog.com, you will make it to my blog. However, if you visit ww.elliotsblog.com or anythingelse.elliotsblog.com where there is no subdomain, you’ll get an error page or dead page, depending on your ISP and your browser settings. Many people will eventually see their error, but they will possibly be redirected elsewhere if the visitor’s ISP monetizes the error page.

Using the example I mentioned above, with this new monetization offer from Domain Power, if someone visits ww.elliotsblog.com, rather than getting a generic 404 page, Domain Power would serve up ads on that page. Additionally, Under Construction pages would also be another type of page the company could monetize for domain owners. They could monetize pages that may have been dead, and apparently the company’s test went well as evidenced by the press release.

Elliot Silver
Elliot Silver
About The Author: Elliot Silver is an Internet entrepreneur and publisher of DomainInvesting.com. Elliot is also the founder and President of Top Notch Domains, LLC, a company that has closed eight figures in deals. Please read the DomainInvesting.com Terms of Use page for additional information about the publisher, website comment policy, disclosures, and conflicts of interest. Reach out to Elliot: Twitter | Facebook | LinkedIn


  1. Seems to make sense for parked pages. Does not make sense for real sites. On your ww. example, Chrome suggests the proper target site. A visitor easily finding your blog seems 10x more valuable than whatever ad revenue you might get from a parked error page (note: this assumes the ISP doesn’t hijack the traffic as you point out). Even under construction I would question whether ads outweigh ‘coming soon’ messaging for a real site about to be launched. JMHO. I like the innovation from Domain Power though, our industry needs more of that.

    • @ Tim

      I agree… I pay Google upwards of $2/click on Adwords campaigns for various sites. I wouldn’t want to be sending my typo traffic away for pennies.

      It’s good to see testing, but I don’t know who would prefer to send visitors away for pennies. Perhaps sites that were built simply for Adsense clicks?

      Maybe someone from DH can tell us why someone would want to monetize this traffic instead of redirect it.

  2. Hi guys,

    The pitch is typically aimed at hosting companies with access to expired domains acquired through various reasons (default payment on account, abandoned website). As hosting and registrar margins shrink, it is a way for them to monetize error, coming soon pages and others to capitalize on an otherwise untapped revenue stream.

    Domainers typically have the faculty to redirect any and all traffic to the right spot. Although, there are potentially some uses namely for those that target names on drop. Here’s a for instance – say you have a blog article that is linked to across various spots on the web, and your avid reader base has that particular article bookmarked for reference, etc. If your blog is scooped up on drop, and developed later, those bookmarks and backlinks still exist. As the new site owner, why lose out on potential revenue?

    Basically, as sites are shuffled around, or pages are added to sites, it’s inevitable that a 404 is going to pop up. When it does, why not try and monetize that traffic?

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