In an unsavory atmosphere of fear, uncertainty and doubt (F.U.D.), combined with click fraud alarmism over a core of domain leasing, a new company that officially launched today called LeaseThis.com promises to eliminate click fraud — basically, by eliminating PPC advertising.
Yeah, and you can eliminate drunk driving by banning alcohol and cars, too. Hope all you V.C.s out there are pricking up your ears.
“New Online Advertising Model Eliminating Industry Problem of Click Fraud” screams the overwrought press release that landed in our inboxes today.
This is completely whack.
In its own words, LeaseThis.com “…bypasses search engines and directly connects the advertiser with the domain owner…For the first time, advertisers can lease a domain name for a specified time period, with the option to purchase it after the lease has expired.”
Well, they got that first part right. If you don’t advertise on search engines, you’re not going to be a victim of click fraud. No siree. What you are going to do as an advertising client of LeaseThis.com is not lease a domain, but sublease one from it’s “owner.” As we all know, domains aren’t really owned, they’re leased themselves.
The company is betting consumers increasingly bypass search in favor of direct navigation. My hunch is the tactic works with brand or corporate names (Sony, Apple, Starbucks, Bloomingdales), but not with domain names like “BestBar.com” or “Pizza90210.com.”
And that’s to say nothing of what happens to a domain when the sublet clause expires. Whatever moves in next could have an effect on the first advertiser equal to, if not much more devastating than, the effects of click fraud.
Is the domain leasing concept fully without merit? No.
But LeaseThis.com’s marketing strategy unequivocally is.