Insane advertisers who don’t get it

I noticed a sudden rise in type in traffic on one of my domains last week, it had only just had a minisite put on it and suddenly had 100/150 visitors per day, checking analytics I confirmed these were actual type ins and not organic which just didn’t make sense.

Later that evening all became clear, a television advert was running for a new company that was not entirely dis-similar to my domain, traffic leakage. The problem being that the traffic was totally unrelated to my minisite and changing my content would mean I was trying to wrongly benefit from someone else’s business and trademark which could result in me losing the domain.

I decided to contact the company - just to inform them of the traffic leak and the lack of clarity in their adverts in relation to their domain name. To my surprise they were very excited to suggest I use a referral banner and were happy for me to send traffic on and pay me £2 per lead. Crazy! this company had a poor domain probably reg fee, I have the better clearer generic domain, they spend thousands on a TV advertising campaign which sends 150 visitors per day to me and then they pay £2 per lead for any of their visitors I send on through due to traffic leakage, effectively paying twice for the same traffic.

So I agreed 🙂 The TV advertising campaign runs for the next 4 weeks after which I’ll get paid. The marketing department really should have seen this coming, my generic domain was caught for free a few months ago so with this stroke of luck I should be well in profit and have a healthy payment in a months time. Just shows how old and new companies still just don’t get it.

About Scott Jones

Scott hails from the north east of Scotland and started earning online at the end of 2000 building websites for local businesses during which time he won an award from Lord Alan Sugar for Excellence in Enterprise. After having quite a bit of success with domaining Scott mainly runs educational evergreen websites which generate over 3 million visitors per month but is always on the lookout for a fresh thinking out of the box way to turn a buck. Follow on Twitter.


  1. Haha loving that. Shows the power of generics for sure!

    Chris’s last blog post..Silly Domain Evaluations, Why Do You Bother?

  2. A very ethical way of turning a profit Scott. Nice work.

  3. really, nice, what did you expect when you wrote to them. Did you think they will offer some money to buy your domain?

    • It’s always an option for them, this TV campaign may dictate what happens in the future, especially if it costs them 4 figures in traffic leakage.

  4. I am gobsmacked, the inefficiency and general lack of business nous of some companies is just staggering.

    Surely a decent offer on your name would have been a much better option for them (of course you don’t need to sell and have them over a barrel in that resect) but even still, wastefulness at its finest.

  5. Sorry, forgot to ask in my last comment, is Al still involved with SMM? Just that I haven’t seen a post from him in quite a while now

    • Al has been off to CES in Vegas at the start of this year so he’s just been busy/away.

    • Yeah sorry, December is my busiest month, which was followed by a holiday and then a week in Vegas for CES and Affiliate Summit. I’m back now.

      Thanks Scott for admirably holding the fort so to speak, I owe you beer.

  6. Some individuals/companies pay WAY too much for this stuff. I’ve seen people put themselves in a position where they literally won’t become profitable for years, just because they were too lazy to get out there and do the work themselves. Obviously it’s good to be able to delegate some tasks, but it’s NOT good to overdo it when you won’t be able to make up the margin in revenue.

    15 Minutes to Riches!’s last blog post..Information Overload Will Eat Your Brain

  7. One wonders why their ad agency didn’t give them advice on this. For that matter they should have seen it coming. Tch Tch.

  8. That’s a pretty cool little unplanned surprise! Though when I think about it, if they’re spending thousands on TV advertising, something tells me that they’d be able to spend more than $2/lead!

    Justin Cook’s last blog post..What is Google’s new SearchWiki?

  9. Are they happy to use your outgoing link stats then and did you have a contract template readily available?
    I would look at something similar but I live in a place where trust is a MAJOR issue!

  10. Thats a great story. Nice to see that it didn’t end up being a “bite the tongue moment”. Maybe with this situation seemingly working out for both of you it may bring about future cooperation.

    Jabna’s last blog post..Save 10% on Total Gym With This Coupon Code

  11. Scott, what about just redirecting all your traffic to them? For £2 per visitor I would through everything at them I could 🙂

    Mikael’s last blog post..Google Smack af EzineArticles?

  12. Lol, that’s quick thinking on your part to act on the situation and benefit from it.

    Extra money for almost nothing is always nice and an added bonus!

  13. Talking about being in the right place at the right time 🙂 Nice.

    Jason Capshaw’s last blog post..WP e-Commerce SEO Tutorial

  14. I don´t really know a lot about traffic to websites etc but it sounds to make like you got a fantastic deal out of their stupidity . no one can ever complain about that! 🙂 You would think that larger websites/companies who can afford to run tv advertising campaigns, woud have the sense to look at all the possible problems before they begin.. good news for you that they didn´t!

  15. Very nice! £2 a lead, easy money and best of all its money earnt with a clean consience. It just goes to show that in business you can have a win-win (excluding the fact that the advertiser made a bit of a boo boo in the first place)

    John Essex’s last blog post..Permitted Development Regulations Update

  16. This sounds like a nice little earner, congratulations.

    I’m a little surprised they let you do this though as most affiliate T&C’s often state that you cannot use similar/mispelt domain names etc. Guess they don’t emply such rules in their T&Cs in this case.

    Fair play for giving them the chance to respond - but they are idiots for giving you so much money as a result. Make as much income as you can ate.

    Maybe you could do a follow up post if they do more TV adverts in future as this scenario might repeat itself!!

  17. Also - I know of someone else with a domain even more similar who is getting 5 x times my traffic, he is also getting £2 per lead.

  18. When will you be able to disclose the name?

    Giles’s last blog post..Motorola Hint

  19. Scott, I was thinking of using this idea for one of my sites. I see some of the larger insurance companies using Adwords to get traffic and as a supplement to that I was thinking of selling them my traffic and a far lessor rate per click.

    Did you sign any legal papers or anything that the company that you’re sending your traffic to?

    Also how are you 1) redirecting the traffic and 2) tracking the traffic that you send to make sure you get paid the right amount?


    Mikael’s last blog post..Automatisk link building mulighed

    • I am just doing a redirect on the homepage but have analytics installed so I know the numbers, no paperwork has been signed though so operating on an agreement made by email exchanges with their head of marketing.

  20. Haha … man, I wish this would happen to me. I barely get any type in traffic on any of my domains.

    At least the stupidity of the company benefitted you 🙂

  21. Scott you need to help me here. At one point you’re talking about using a banner to send traffic on to the company and in a comment to me you talk about redirecting all traffic.

    If you’re doing a simple redirect on all traffic aren’t this going to have an effect on your ranking and on being in Google’s index?

    But maybe you’re only getting type in traffic?

    The reason I’m asking is that I’m trying to sell traffic from one of my sites to another company on an ongoing basis but since my traffic is from Search Engines I would hate to lose it by doing a redirect and then loose trafic, rank and indexing.


    Mikael’s last blog post..Google Smack af EzineArticles?

    • They suggested I use a banner however the domain was brand new so 99% of the traffic was type in so I decided to best way to benefit was a redirect fo rmy purpose, nothing to lsoe, in your case I would suggest creating a navigation bar that all linked through to their site keeping content on the homepage to maintain your ranking.

  22. Perhaps someone could point me in the right direction here. I have an estate agent who wants to direct people from his website to mine if they are interested in mortgages. I can track incoming clicks from his site easily enough but he also wants a link to my site on his outgoing newsletter and wants to know how many clicks I get.
    I figured I could add a new page specifically for him which he could link to. I would then 301 that page to my main homepage.
    Will that work? is there a better way to do it? A wordpress plugin perhaps? I can then give him access to stats so he can see the results himself.

    Anyone done something similar?

    • Hi Andy, for he newsletter you could use a url like - the normal site will load and you can track those url’s in analytics.

  23. Just heard back at the end of the campaign on this and by redirecting the lost traffic back to them from my similar domain they have earned me £814 for the 4 weeks.

  24. Nice payout for very little work. 🙂

    Mikael’s last blog post..Google Smack af EzineArticles?

  25. Great result Scott - I would go on about how “lucky” you are but I know very that you make your own luck in this game so congratulations on a fantastic result.

    Would you have sold the domain on for that amount beforehand?

    • Thanks, I caught the domain for free (£5), then sold 50% share of it to a friend for £250, so jointly with my friend we made £814. Would have sold it for £1k initially but it seems the company is happy to continue the deal @£2 a lead so I may put the redirect back and let it earn passively that way albeit less traffic now the TV advert has stopped.

      • Nicely done - however I would ask that next time you need a friend to go in with you - buzz me ffs!!!

        In fact I think you´ll have a queue at the door before long!

  26. Wow they paid twice for the same advertising they might of been impressed by you coming forward that they decided to put up a banner. Many people don’t get the internet and most marketing departments don’t have some one who gets it. I have seen this in most of the companies i have worked for.

    Online Marketing BLog’s last blog post..Free Advertising for your Web site?

  27. Cool, any updates on this. did they pay you as agreed?

  28. I made around £1000 last time which they paid, just been informed they plan to run a TV campaign again in Jan 2010 for longer this time and want the same deal to pay per lead I provide. Looks like it could be a yearly event.

  29. Their lack of insight paid for your last Geo purchase then! Did you find out how much your friend netted (5x?) from the same arrangement on their domain?

  30. A nice little earner is that. I can understand what’s going on from their point of view, so having someone honest like you is a real benefit to their campaign. £2 a lead is not a great deal (to a large company). Good stuff!


    • £2 isn’t a lot per lead but if you add it to what they are paying for the TV advert it’s a needless expense if they had the foresight to buy a few obvious domains.

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