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I was thinking about something like a 401 redirect with mass e-mails going out to all of our current customers about the name change.
Also it will involve the merger of 2 websites into one. Could this be a problem?
Merging two domains into one is not an issue.
A 301 HTTP status code means 'Permanent Redirect'.
A 401 HTTP error code means 'Unauthorized access'.
This is very simple to do. With Apache this will work great:
Redirect 301 / [new-domain...]
With a 301 redirect, everyone will be redirected to the new domain. I suggest when you 1st do this, you do not change any site titles, content, or URLs. You do not want Google [or the other SEs] to think this is a new site, want you want is to transfer all page rank/weight to the new domain. After a couple of weeks, you can update the new site.
[edited by: TowerOfPower at 5:20 pm (utc) on July 31, 2008]