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Rather than risk losing hundreds in taking case to court, decision was made to stand down and let intruder take name. Yes, you read that right… I counted my blessings and moved on. And most interesting part? It has been a huge success! Here is what happened.
A new name was created for site. The new name is purely a brand name: ‘Pleppin’. I had turned against many self-proclaimed SEO experts that say a website should have keywords in its domain name and instead bought domains www.pleppin.co.nz and .com. The risk was huge, to try and re-brand an entire site overnight and relaunch without causing a stir or a loss in traffic. Did I mention that site had over 3500 pages at time? Content is King! All logos were replaced, all references to old name was replaced, a page informing visitors of change in brand and address (with our reasons) was introduced, and a 301 redirect was added making sure that all visitors to old site went straight to new version. All of this worked wonders, but icing on cake was strategic press releases. The media love a story that goes a little differently, and this was it. New Zealand media quickly picked up on story about little guy being ‘pushed around by big boys’ and were intrigued that we had taken decision to stand down and let them have their fun. The following morning release had been printed in New Zealand’s leading newspapers and on over 40 important news websites. Traffic to site didn’t dip, but instead tripled within 48 hours and has continued to increase at a faster rate ever since.
The moral of story? There is a couple: First of all, do not be afraid to break out your new site with a brand name. Pick something catchy and give it a try. After all, a name like ‘Pleppin’ which no-one generally knows what it means, looks a whole lot more professional than a name like ‘New Zealand Focus’. Sorry to all keyword domain name fans, they just don’t look all that professional. Oh, and branding really works. People are starting to remember it and it is even being searched in Google, Yahoo, and MSN now. The second lesson is this: No matter what you have thrown at you, and what obstacles you come across, don’t give up! Use press releases to your advantage, take opportunity to learn new technologies, fine tune your work, and come back bigger and better than ever!
Greg Scowen is the developer of various websites, including the Pleppin New Zealand Tourism Guide (www.pleppin.co.nz) which successfully bounced back from an incident of website identity theft. In his spare time Greg doesn’t really do much, because he has so little of it.