Topix.net, the news search site majority owned by Gannett, McClatchy and Tribune, has bought its .com domain after paying a Canadian company $1 million in January (late last year Topix received $15 million funding), and is planning to move the site onto Topix.com, reports WSJ. The story, which makes a bigger point about search engine influence on other sites, says it is worried about the effect on its Google rankings after this. About 50 percent of visits to Topix come through a search engine, and about 90 percent out of that is through Google…Even if traffic to Topix, which gets about 10 million visitors a month, dropped just 10 percent, that would essentially be a 10 percent loss in ad revenue, CEO Rick Skrenta said in the story. Topix will run its site at both Topix.net and Topix.com for awhile, in order to get over any unpredictabilities in Google and other search results.
The company thinks Google should have a better way to help sites/companies manage domain change and the search results that get affected as a result. To which Google says that sites shouldn’t become overly reliant on traffic from searches and should find other ways to get visitors, such as by setting up user forums.
Chris Tolles, VP of marketing for the company, said in an e-mail that the big benefit of this change is in the brand….”most of our first year’s traffic came in through SEO, while an increasingly large portion is coming in direct, and we think the .com will go a long way in user acquisition, especially around word of mouth and offline promotion.” I have talked in the past about Topix’s “rut of low visibility”.
Related: Topix Tries Again; Raises $15 Million Funding
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