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Just Bought A Competitor's Website

Best way to use it?

10:35 pm on May 25, 2004 (gmt 0)

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I need some guidance.

For the past couple of years we have been developing the internals for a new commercial website "widget central".

In an unrelated series of events, we just(this morning) purchased a business that sells widgets Although we bought it only to acquire the inventory of widgets for our own existing business, the deal unexpectedly included a widget website that has good profitable traffic.

Now we are wondering if it wouldn't be easiest to launch our new "widget central" project by simply renaming the website that we just bought and loading it with the new systems we have developed. Traffic from day one...hmmm

The opportunity only presented itself today. What are the pros/cons of this approach? Is there a better way to do this?

Some calm words of wisdom would be appreciated. It's been manic sort of day for us all.

11:14 pm on May 25, 2004 (gmt 0)

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I wouldn't do anything hasty - let things calm down, get through the transfer period, and take the time to really get to know the site that you bought and it's users. Don't change anything until you know the site well, certainly not the branding or design. How long that will take depends on a number of factors, but it is measured certainly in months rather than weeks or days! You'll need to hand-hold your newly-bought userbase through any changes without alienating them with a radical change of direction, even if this means slowing the pace of change to less that you might want.

Only after reflection will you know how the two sites will fit together, and for that there are many possibilities, including piggy-backing the new site on the old or vice-versa, or moving both into a new space, each in a subdirectory.

11:29 pm on May 25, 2004 (gmt 0)

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WebmasterWorld Senior Member rcjordan is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

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Ditto what encyclo posted. In addition, assuming that the site is still viable given that the business is being sold, I'd slap the best tracking software I could afford on the site and use the reports to see if there are any surprises ala untapped niches or as-yet-unknown keyword phrases.
12:09 am on May 26, 2004 (gmt 0)

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At all times talk to the site's existing users using the communication means they most expect you to use.

I had possibly my worst experience on the net in autumn 2000 when one expert answers site was taken over by another. My correspondence email address with the answers site on which I was an expert was a Y! address which was banned at my place of work (and at that time I did not have a computer at home).

This didn't matter, because whenever the answers site communicated with users and experts it did so through the account interface on the site itself.

However, when the site - which was very good - was taken over, the new (and rather inferior) answers site apparently did not know this and sent two emails as notification of the takeover.

The first I knew of it, the site I had been an expert on no longer existed, the format was wiped out, my account was gone and all of my answers (about 70 pieces of research) and user feedback was lost.

When I sent an email to the new company, I received the reply:

"Well, if you don't check your email, what do you expect?"

12:44 am on May 26, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Thank you all very much. Those were the words of wisdom that we needed.

I will take your advice to our planning meeting early tomorrow morning. Knowing my partners, the cautious approach will be the preferred option.