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Should I buy the expensive .com when my .net is already highly ranked
katch2




msg:3963246
 5:33 pm on Jul 31, 2009 (gmt 0)

I set up a niche genre book reviewing site on a .net domain 2 years ago. I couldn't get a .com because all the good names had been taken. The .com was for sale, but they were asking nearly $3000 for it.

I have worked thousands of hours and put together a volunteer staff of reviewers. We're now ranked #1 and #3 at Google for the most important key phrases and I'm extremely pleased with this. Over the 2 years, the company that owns the .com (same domain name, just .com extension instead of .net) has been trying to sell it to me. After explaining to them that I do not make money from my site (just $50 per month on Amazon referral fees) and that nobody ever would make money with it, they came down to $500.

I could afford this if I need to (it's a bit of a stretch right now) but will it help me to have the .com? I'm not a commercial site, but I do want to have the best book reviewing site in this niche and I want to, I guess, have the esteem and authority of a .com name. We have a lot of correspondence with publishers and authors and are becoming well-known among them so perhaps we don't need the .com, or perhaps it would actually help our site's reputation.

Another issue is will transferring the site (about 900 pages) to a .com cause the ranking to fall? I know I can just forward the .com to the .net, but it'd be nice to be at the .com address.

Any thoughts would be appreciated!

 

HuskyPup




msg:3963300
 7:04 pm on Jul 31, 2009 (gmt 0)

Welcome to WebmasterWorld katch2 and congratulations on your success and having .com owner see sense:-).

I love the .net extension so maybe I'm a bit biased:-)

You've got a couple of choices, the first of which you know:

1. Buy the .com and from your registrar's control panel you should be able to point it directly at your .net name so if anyone types in example.com it will automatically go to example.net.

I have done the following recently and it has worked perfectly even for all backlinks etc, there has been no loss in traffic and has taken Google about two months to update everything to the new address.

2. Take the .net site and copy precisely as-is to the .com space and then point the .net at the .com as outlined in #1. Make sure you delete the .net site immediately you're satisfied all is working well otherwise you may end up with a duplicate penalty.

Using the above method negates having to do any fancy re-directs on your server and keeps all urls the same with instant pointing by your registrar's server rather than creating delays on your server and processing time.

katch2




msg:3963325
 7:48 pm on Jul 31, 2009 (gmt 0)

>> there has been no loss in traffic and has taken Google about two months to update everything to the new address.

That is good to know! That solves one of my problems. So on to the next one: I don't know if it's worth the money and perhaps nobody here knows, but I was hoping someone might have experience with this issue.

The owner of the .com refuses to tell me about any type-in traffic, but I kind of doubt that there is much. Anyway, anyone who is looking for us will find us if they type in the .com and see that it goes to a portal and then does a google search (we're #1 in the search). I doubt that having the .com will increase my organic traffic in this case.

I guess I'm really struggling with a pride issue: is it worth $500 to be a .com instead of a .net when it's unlikely to organically increase traffic? Is it just me, or do many people think .com is superior to .net and think there's something wrong with us if we don't own the .com?

I appreciate the feedback -- especially since I'm new here!

HuskyPup




msg:3963343
 8:16 pm on Jul 31, 2009 (gmt 0)

Is it just me, or do many people think .com is superior to .net

Definitely in the USA a lot of people consider .com more preferable unless it is a really good "example" name and if you read these forums you will find out that there seems to be a significant number of (mainly) US users who type-in names directly into the url bar.

If the majority of your traffic is from the US it's worth thinking about.

They probably don't want to give you their type-in details since they most probably don't have any or they're that low they're insignificant!

I'm assuming that your .net is a generic word or made-up?

If so you have already succeeded by getting your site to the top therefore there is one question for you to consider.

Would anyone else buying the .com actually challenge your site for your reviews or is the name suitable for any kind of site?

katch2




msg:3963357
 8:38 pm on Jul 31, 2009 (gmt 0)

No, the name is not generic or made up -- it's a broad term describing what's on the site which is the reason that company bought the .com. It includes the genre of book reviews and that's part of why we're ranked so high. If someone else bought it, they would only buy it for the same purpose and could challenge our status (but they wouldn't do this for money, so they may not be willing to pay so much either).

katch2




msg:3963362
 8:39 pm on Jul 31, 2009 (gmt 0)

P.S. That company bought the premium name hoping to re-sell, but I think they didn't realize it wasn't a domain that a for-profit business would buy.

sorry -- didn't realize I could edit a post. Now I do, but I can't delete!

weeks




msg:3963391
 9:31 pm on Jul 31, 2009 (gmt 0)

Yeah, $500 is real money. If it was $5,000 or $50,000, you just could do the biz math. But, $500? This is just taking away fun. What a pain.

How much of your traffic is new people? It's type-ins that you are looking for. Are your users tech savvy?

If you get a LOT of come and goes, first-times and they're not especially tech savvy, you'll see a nice bump. And, you'll protect your reputation and the reputation of your volunteers. That's worth something real.

katch2




msg:3963417
 10:44 pm on Jul 31, 2009 (gmt 0)

A lot of the traffic is new people who are looking for info about books and authors and find us with Google.

In general, they are probably not tech savvy. I don't know about type-ins... the name is two words and one is obvious to type in and the other is not necessarily obvious.

Leosghost




msg:3963430
 11:11 pm on Jul 31, 2009 (gmt 0)

buy it ..because if you can afford it at $500.oo and you dont buy it ..you will always wonder

" what if" ?

and $500.oo is cheap for peice of mind ..

Aslan said ..to Lucy .."one can never know what if" ..

( I think he actually said "one is never permitted to know what if" ..but I cant find the book ..and eat very late dinner at the same time ..and it's been awhile since I saw bcolflesh here ..who always knew the quotes to what I forgot ..I miss bcolflesh :(

Anyway ..if you don't buy it ..but you wanted to and still do ..
Then the details of how you might redirect "which to whom" and "with what" etc etc ..are not to my mind really germaine ..

like weeks says ( hints ) as does HP ..this is meant to be fun ..

$500.oo to know what might have been ..

let the plastic see the rabbit ..

( with all the usual caveats about making sure you get the access to the dom control panel etc etc before the plastic takes the hit ).

good luck ..you have your site ..now you get the chance to see if with dot com wings she can fly higher ..
:)

buckworks




msg:3963438
 11:23 pm on Jul 31, 2009 (gmt 0)

is it worth $500 to be a .com instead of a .net when it's unlikely to organically increase traffic

Acquiring the .com would keep it out of the hands of potential competitors. How much is that worth to you?

GaryK




msg:3963451
 11:44 pm on Jul 31, 2009 (gmt 0)

It sounds like we have somewhat similar sites except yours is for reviewers while ours is for authors. And a somewhat similar situation.

Ours is a two-word domain name that perfectly describes our niche. You see the name and know exactly what we do and who we cater to. Type in the two words, which is what most everyone does, and we're #1 on all the major search engines, complete with dozens of supplemental links. I think that's what they're called when there's one main listing and lots of sub-listings to different parts of the same site.

Only downside is we have the .org. Some squatter owns the .com and .net. He's asking $5,000 USD for each domain. We can't afford that. We'll never be able to afford that.

If he lowered the price to $500 USD we'd buy it in a heartbeat. We can sort of afford that price. Maybe it would be better to say we could justify that price since we could always use that money for other things.

It wouldn't get us any more recognition cause it's impossible to rank higher than #1 with all kinds of supplementals as well.

But the prestige alone would be worth it to our members and especially to our supporters who would fund such a purchase.

We think publishers would look that much more favorably upon the site when considering authors for publication. And maybe that, in turn, would give the .com some added value that makes it worth buying.

Hope that helps. :)

ken_b




msg:3963452
 11:46 pm on Jul 31, 2009 (gmt 0)

I'm not a commercial site...

Keep in mind that even if you aren't making much money from the site now, that could change. Having the .com might help get enough new traffic to help that happen.

I'd buy the .com if possible if it was me. If nothing else, you never know what might show up on the .com if you don't buy it.

katch2




msg:3963458
 12:24 am on Aug 1, 2009 (gmt 0)

GaryK, that is nearly identical to my situation except that I don't have any funders. It's just me.

And a few of you make a great point that I've been thinking about -- what if someone else buys it now that the price is lower and they compete (I don't think that's likely since it's a hobby -- thousands of hours of work for no profit) or put up a #*$! site.

I do get the impression, which is what I was looking for, that you, as experts, or at least as people who think about this kind of stuff, consider the .com to be more prestigious. That is probably all I'll get out of it, but I'm a proud person, so that's worth a lot to me.

I've just talked my husband into it ($500 is a big purchase) by telling him it will be my birthday and Christmas present for the next two years. He thinks that's crazy, but he agreed.

Thanks so much for all your help!
I've got email notifications on, so if anyone has anymore comments, I'll see them.

GaryK




msg:3963475
 1:16 am on Aug 1, 2009 (gmt 0)

He thinks that's crazy, but he agreed.

My GF thinks most of what I do online that involves spending money on intangibles is crazy. I think some of the stuff she spends money on is equally crazy. Ultimately it's all about what's important to you! It seems like the .com is important to you. You certainly have valid reasons for wanting it. As others have said, if you don't get it you'll always have that, what if, feeling. It's a large amount of money, but it doesn't seem large enough that you'll have to go without food and shelter. For what it's worth, I think you made the right decision. It's the one I would have made. Frankly, I'm a bit jealous. I wonder if I can get my domain squatter to look at this thread! ;)

tangor




msg:3963535
 4:05 am on Aug 1, 2009 (gmt 0)

Domain squatters tend to overvalue their items... and it takes a few years of maintaining that domain AT EXPENSE to drive that home. Then again, when the original asking amount drops to 10% of that is an indication some reality has arrived. Will it go lower another year on? Two years? Who knows... but there's always that "Why chance it?"

Ultimately, if affordable, the control of the desired domain is not a deficit. Whether it will bring in MORE is the $64K question. You'll never know if you don't take the plunge!

katch2




msg:3970234
 1:30 am on Aug 12, 2009 (gmt 0)

Hi everyone. Here's an update:
Five days ago I purchased the .com, uploaded everything there, and took down the .net. I forwarded the .net to the .com. I've lost my high rankings. Both the .net and .com are on the first page of the search results for the keywords that are in the domain name (which I ranked #1 for before) but I dropped from #3 to #27 for the other particularly important search. I assume this will all come back in a few weeks.

For the SEO, do I need to ask those who have linked us to change their links? Or will Google get it?

Thanks so much for all of your advice about my decision! It helped me talk my husband into spending the cash for a domain name that's a hobby and isn't really going to bring in much money.

buckworks




msg:3970245
 1:54 am on Aug 12, 2009 (gmt 0)

I forwarded the .net to the .com

How exactly did you do that? The kind of redirects you set up can make a huge difference to how the search engines respond to changes.

Philosopher




msg:3970248
 2:27 am on Aug 12, 2009 (gmt 0)

I'd want to know what type of "forward" it is as well as there are many different kinds and in this situation what you ideally want is what is called a "301 Redirect". Basically no matter what URL from your old site was accessed, your server should issue a 301 redirect to the identical .com URL.

The above is very important. Without the 301 in place all your old links to the .net domain are close to worthless. Once you have the 301 redirects setup properly then all the link juice from any links pointing to any URL on the .net site will transfer that juice to the new site.

Exactly how you will setup the redirect will depend on the type of server you are on. You'll want to find the appropriate forum here and do some reading and get that done asap.

Once the above is in place and the engines start picking them up, you should begin to see your rankings return.

katch2




msg:3970289
 4:53 am on Aug 12, 2009 (gmt 0)

I did as huskypup suggested above: at the registrar, I pointed the .net to the .com.

ogletree




msg:3970293
 4:57 am on Aug 12, 2009 (gmt 0)

Don't buy it if your not making much money. There just is no point in it. Or just offer the guy $100 and walk away he will one day take it. Many people hold on to Domains for years in hopes their ship will come in one day and it never does. It really is sad because a lot of people can use these types of domains for small hobby and small business websites. They are just being wasted. They will never get any money from it. I have registered domains and never got any offers and zero traffic. When I let it go somebody snapped it up and it has been parked ever since. I know they are not making any money from it and nobody will ever pay much for it.

buckworks




msg:3970303
 5:23 am on Aug 12, 2009 (gmt 0)

I did as huskypup suggested above: at the registrar, I pointed the .net to the .com.

Actually, you did the opposite of what huskypup suggested. His suggestion was:
Buy the .com and from your registrar's control panel you should be able to point it directly at your .net name so if anyone types in example.com it will automatically go to example.net.

That suggestion assumed that the active site would remain on the .net, at least for a while.

Pay attention to what Philosopher said. Investing the time to set up proper redirects from the old URLs to their new equivalents is the single most important thing you can do to preserve the value of incoming links, and your search engine rankings.

Get other sites to update their links whenever you get a chance to ask, but make it your top priority to look after the redirects.

The kind of redirects you need have to be created on your server. Exactly how it's done would vary depending on your hosting setup, so you might need to check with your host, but the ideal would be to have an individual 301 redirect from every old URL to the equivalent new one.

If it's too crazy-making to do the whole shebang, at least try to set up redirects for every URL that has incoming links from other sites.

On my server such redirects would be created by adding lines within the .htaccess file of the old domain:

redirect 301 /old-url.html http://example.com/equivalent-new-url/
redirect 301 /some-other-url.html http://example.com/any-new-url-you-want/

A 301 redirect tells the spiders that the content has permanently moved to the new location, which is exactly the message you want to send.

callivert




msg:3970304
 5:39 am on Aug 12, 2009 (gmt 0)

your site should remain .net, except that if anyone types in the .com version it will resolve to the .net (just as wikipedia.com resolves to wikipedia.org).

buckworks




msg:3970306
 5:44 am on Aug 12, 2009 (gmt 0)

She can move it to the .com if she wants, she just needs to be careful about the details of how it's done, and be prepared for it to take a while for the search engines to sort things out.

katch2




msg:3970430
 11:26 am on Aug 12, 2009 (gmt 0)

Huskypup's second option was
I have done the following recently and it has worked perfectly even for all backlinks etc, there has been no loss in traffic and has taken Google about two months to update everything to the new address.

2. Take the .net site and copy precisely as-is to the .com space and then point the .net at the .com as outlined in #1. Make sure you delete the .net site immediately you're satisfied all is working well otherwise you may end up with a duplicate penalty.

Using the above method negates having to do any fancy re-directs on your server and keeps all urls the same with instant pointing by your registrar's server rather than creating delays on your server and processing time.


There are about a thousand pages on the site, plus blog and forum posts, so it was much easier to point the .net at the .com than to do redirects. I realize that I could have pointed it the other way (.com to .net), but I was hoping this would work since it did for huskypup.

Will the search engines understand and give me the credit for links to the .net now that I'm moved to the .com? (Or shall I move this question to another topic?)

Philosopher




msg:3970470
 12:33 pm on Aug 12, 2009 (gmt 0)

Please understand...it is CRUCIAL to setup the redirects. If the URL structure of the new .com is the same as the URL structure of the old site, setting up the redirects should be VERY easy.

On a *nix based machine, it could likely be done with about 2 lines of code in the .htaccess file. In a windows box it would likely be almost as easy.

With your method, all of the old links to your .net site are NOT transferring any link juice to the new site. Even if you go to each and every site that is linking to you and ask that they change their links to the new site, you are effectively getting NEW links to a NEW domain. It will reset any "trust" in those links that has built up over time.

Even Google's own webmaster's area states you should use a 301 redirect.

[google.com...]

For your long-term success, please don't skip this step.

katch2




msg:3970476
 12:56 pm on Aug 12, 2009 (gmt 0)

Philosopher,

If I have the .net pointing to the .com, do the webcrawlers even see the redirects? Do I put them in the .htaccess for the old or the new site? Or are you saying I need to do the redirects and unpoint the .net?
What are the two lines of code for a *nix machine?

Thanks! I really appreciate the help!

callivert




msg:3970478
 1:02 pm on Aug 12, 2009 (gmt 0)

I don't understand why you wouldn't just 301 the .com to the .net. It is much simpler and risk free.

Philosopher




msg:3970527
 2:12 pm on Aug 12, 2009 (gmt 0)

It sounds like, the way you have it right now, regardless of whether a person types in the .net or the .com of your domain, the person ends up at the same place. Is that correct?

If that is the case, then basically, you have two sites which is not what you want. You want them each to be separate sites. Then, in the .net site, place the required code in the .htaccess file to redirect to the .com site.

katch2




msg:3970536
 2:23 pm on Aug 12, 2009 (gmt 0)

Yes, whether a person types in .net or .com, they end up at .com. I took down the site at .net. I really wanted the .com to show up in the search results (I felt it had more authority).

According to my host, when I pointed the .net to the .com, it used a 301. They say:
If you redirect your domain using a 301 redirect, it sends people to the site you specified in the Forward To field using a "301 Moved Permanently" HTTP response. The HTTP 301 response code tells user-agents (including search engines) that the location has permanently moved.

I thought this was the same as if I did it myself with the .htaccess file. I still have the .htaccess file at .net (but I only have it redirecting the homepage), but I doubt that it even gets looked at since I redirected the .net to the .com through the host.

later edit: Google says:
Your old site's server should be configured to serve 301 permanent redirects to your new site.

Isn't this what I did at my host?

Philosopher




msg:3970546
 2:35 pm on Aug 12, 2009 (gmt 0)

It sounds like it. It's hard to say without seeing it in action.

It could also be that the host is redirecting any URL requested to the home URL of the .com. Again, ideally, if someone tries to get to

www.example.net/your-page-name

they should get a 301 redirect and be bounced to

www.example.com/your-page-name

Your host may have been smart enough to handle this properly. If so, great.

This 54 message thread spans 2 pages: 54 ( [1] 2 > >
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