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Largest Online Flooring Dealer Files Chapter 11

...and now the bad economy to affect the internet?

     
10:28 am on Dec 5, 2008 (gmt 0)

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I was involved in this industry with a smaller online company until I saw the writing on the wall last fall. Their busines model was somewhat different as they broke into establishing some brick and mortar stores over the last few years.

How immune is Google to reports like this I wonder? I know it sounds like chump change but...

"Suppliers of bamboo, tile and other flooring products dominate the list of unsecured creditors, although the second-largest is Google, which is owed $386,486."

[seattletimes.nwsource.com...]

10:32 am on Dec 5, 2008 (gmt 0)

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I thought that Adwords was a "money up front" payment model ?
1:57 pm on Dec 5, 2008 (gmt 0)

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You can apply for Net 15 terms when your monthly Adwords spend reaches a certain amount.
2:30 pm on Dec 5, 2008 (gmt 0)

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No surprise they have to spend that much on Adwords. Their website is poorly optimized in my opinion. Then again, coming up with unique text for flooring must be mind numbing.

Whenever I see an online retailer going under, I always study their website to figure out what mistakes they made.

3:24 pm on Dec 5, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Their website is poorly optimized in my opinion

Ok, but as per title, they were the "Largest Online Flooring Dealer". Must have done something right.

3:28 pm on Dec 5, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Whenever I see an online retailer going under

I suspect the online business was a small part of their overall turnover. According to the article they have 35 stores nationwide.

It's a bricks and mortar business with an online presence. I wouldn't look to that presence as the main reason for their failure - far more likely it was the bricks and mortar business which went wrong.

4:08 pm on Dec 5, 2008 (gmt 0)

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"Largest Online Flooring Dealer" And

"placed on the Inc. 500 list of fastest-growing private companies as recently as 2006"

Ego. Never dismiss the role of ego in business decisions. Bet some small sites are still making good money even in that tough field.

6:17 pm on Dec 5, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Ok, but as per title, they were the "Largest Online Flooring Dealer". Must have done something right.

From the amount money they took Google for, I suspect they were buying most their traffic.

When I searched "flooring" they were 20 or 30 down. You would think the number 1 online retailer of a product line would at least rank in the top 5 or 10.

I found very little text on their website, which makes long tail organic traffic difficult to get. They also were using .jpg's for most of the text on the home page, which is a bad idea.

7:11 pm on Dec 5, 2008 (gmt 0)

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There's one that has an affiliate program through a major network that's doing just fine.
10:03 pm on Dec 5, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Ok, but as per title, they were the "Largest Online Flooring Dealer". Must have done something right.

Yeah, they filed for loans and prepared a business plan/prospectus and acquired initial capital like few start-ups will ever see. That's what they did right.* What many of these "trend setters" and "juggernauts" of e-tailing have over us (or I'd like to think over me, at least) is, simply put, cash. I think (read: I am not positive) Amazon.com had a check book and a bank account with a balance of $550,000,000 before they had a URL or any products. If this flooring etailer had even 10% of that at start-up, it's not surprising they are the "Largest Online Flooring Dealer" regardless of any other factor.

*Sorry for my sour grapes on this one. It just drives me crazy when a business' size and expertise are taken as corellaries. Just because they are big doesn't mean they have, or ever had, a clue as to how to manage a business.

10:08 pm on Dec 5, 2008 (gmt 0)

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"Google, which is owed $386,486."

OUCH!

11:18 pm on Dec 5, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Frankly they should have stayed out of the brick and mortar. The timing was awful. Prior to that they did quite well. And incidentally there was much more content on the site several days ago.
6:50 pm on Dec 6, 2008 (gmt 0)

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I bought the bamboo floor for my house from them - then Costco started carrying it at the same price, but without delivery charges. Maybe that hurt.
9:49 am on Dec 8, 2008 (gmt 0)

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@Rugles and HugeNerd
Good points both. Especially jpg text. I withdraw my defence of the company, notwithstanding LostOne's observance that there was more content previously.

Its a fair point that the largest online retailer should do better than page 2 or 3.