The consumer product review site SharedReviews.com will announce tomorrow that it has taken an undisclosed sum of investment from parties in the domain buying industry. Those investors include Frank Schilling, one of the world's most successful domain buyers, Seattle based early-stage VCs Monster Venture Partners and the big domainers at Internet Real Estate Group.
Content from SharedReviews will subsequently be leveraged to populate a vast swath of parked domains. Genericly named domains, misspelled domains, random domains that show up in search results - now they'll have real live (syndicated) content on them, in addition to contextual advertising. Though it's easy to look with suspicion on anything that big domainers do, this might not be so bad for the rest of us.
SharedReviews is a somewhat complex site where review creators maintain profiles and reputations, publish directly to the site or through an offsite widget, then vote on each others' reviews to determine who receives a small shared revenue bounty. Think ExpoTV but with an emphasis on print and more community features. The company is based in Toronto.
It's a brilliant plan, really - so logical that someone else must have thought of it already. While people around the world scrape original content without permission to run beside contextual advertising on fly-by-night blog subdomains, these guys are going to be professional about it. Few are in a better position to do so than Schilling's company Name Administration and Internet Real Estate Group.
Other strategies in bulk-content monetization are being explored by other high-profile, substantial investors. Demand Media, for example, a company lead by former MySpace Chairman Richard Rosenblatt, has taken the route of acquiring small content-production sites like ExpertVillage and AnswerBag.
The strategy being explored by the investors in SharedReviews may be the next step in the evolution of the bulk-content monetization game. It may also make stumbling into what used to be the underworld of spammy domains a little less painful for the rest of us.