Jacques Mattheij

Technology, Coding and Business

warning do not do business with SEDO

I decided to see if I could sell some of my domains, and picked SEDO because they are pretty visible.

While setting up the domain I noticed they do ‘domain parking’ as well, which will take the traffic on unused domains and monetize it via ads associated with keywords that you tag the domains with.

So I figured that maybe instead of just using the service to sell domains I could also use it to generate a bit of income offsetting the annual cost of the domains.

I wasn’t expecting miracles but it seemed like I was leaving money on the table and figured that with a little effort I could change that in to a contribution to the monthly income.

The setup process was a total pain and very labor intensive, requiring an insane number of clicks and with all kinds of arbitrary limits thrown in but after spending a day or so I had a number of domains redirected to SEDO and entered in to the right categories.

The income was absolutely lousy…

On 25K uniques over April it made some 60 bucks. And then, to add insult to injury in the beginning of May I received a testy email:

“Our advertising provider has notified us that a significant portion of the traffic associated with your domains has been deemed “unnatural” traffic and is therefore ineligible for Sedo’s parking program. Your domains have been removed from the program, and the accumulated click balance generated by these domains has been forfeited in accordance with our Terms of Use. The sales option, however, is not affected through this block.”

So, not only do they give you a pretty shitty return on the traffic you send them, on top of that they have buggy fraud detection software run by a third party (their ‘advertisers’) that they use to seize the little bits of money that they owe you.

For the record - and just in case someone thought otherwise - I have made absolutely no attempt to defraud SEDO or their advertisers. I swear on my reputation that not a single click on an ad on one of the parked domains was caused by me or anybody even remotely associated with me directly or indirectly, nor did I ‘drive traffic’ or caused traffic to be driven to any one of the domains in any way.

The main focus was to sell some domains, the ‘parking’ was a side effect of listing the domains for sale and ‘nice to have’, but not a must. However, if you offer such a service it should work and the accounting should be accurate.

The problem is clearly on SEDO’s end, but instead of investigating the issue they take the easy way out and seize your funds.

I’ve given them a reasonable amount of time (about a week) to respond to my inquiry (ticket nr 110505-001075) regarding their ability to distinguish fraud from software bugs (at some point their statistics showed a 145% click-through on one domain, I can’t see any realistic scenario in which that could happen outside of grave errors in the tracking software, after all that would mean they’d be tracking multiple clicks on a single ad!), but they don’t seem to be interested. I’d happily provided a screenshot but they’ve wiped the statistics!

So, my message is simple, don’t do business with SEDO, for one it isn’t worth it money wise, second they’ll defraud you of what little money they might end up owing you.

This warning only applies to the domain parking portion of their service, I have no experience with selling domains through SEDO (though I did get some offers, but none that I would be inclined to respond favorably to).

However for myself I’ve decided to simply not do business with them at all. Even though they go out of their way to suggest that seizing the funds does not affect the sales portion they are somewhat out of touch on what such a one-sided and non-communicative move does to the trust factor.

After all, trust is with a party, not with a portion of a service, and if you can’t trust them for 60 bucks or to accurately account for traffic sent to them you probably can’t trust them with more either.

Goodbye SEDO, I hardly knew you.