buys .com domain, worries about Google rankings

Kevin Delaney of The Wall Street Journal Online reports that, the news search site owned by Gannett, McClatchy and Tribune, has bought its .com domain after paying a Canadian company $1 million. About 50% of the visits to Topix come from search engines, and about 90% of that comes from Google. So, Topix plans to run its site at both and for awhile, in order to get over any unpredictabilities in Google and other search engine results.

Over at WebProNews, Andy Beal says Topix should have saved themselves the $1 million. Writes Beal, “I’m not going to dive into a how-to on 301 redirects … but do want to look at the bigger picture. Why in the world would you change your domain name anyway?”

Good question. And Rafat Ali of asked Chris Tolles, the VP of marketing for Topix, for an answer. In an e-mail, Tolles told Ali that the big benefit of this change is in the brand….”most of our first year’s traffic came in through SEO, while an increasingly large portion is coming in direct, and we think the .com will go a long way in user acquisition, especially around word of mouth and offline promotion.”

If you want to weigh in on the growing debate, head over to the SEW forums.

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