Industry News

News > March 2007

13-Mar-2007 Buys

The news feed site Topix thought that having a .net Domain Name wouldn’t be a problem these days. .Com addresses were running out, and their chosen name,, was available when they started the company in 2003, whilst had been registered in 1995 by a Canadian graphics and animation company. However, they realised the problem in March 2004, when press coverage about their website correctly listed their site as "" in the headline, but in the caption for a picture, put "" instead. Emails were mistyped, as were links to the site on other web pages. User surveys revealed that people liked the ‘Topix’ part of the name, but found .net off-putting for a number of reasons: it sounded like Topix "didn’t own their own name", or made the site sound technical rather than friendly. Chief Executive of Topix Rich Skrenta began to make moves to purchase, and handed over $1million this month in exchange for the precious web address.

It has not all been plain sailing for Topix since the purchase, however; changing the Domain Name has meant facing an inevitable dip in search engine rankings, as it will take time for the engines to crawl the site under the new domain and return it to prime position. Topix’s open admission that they were concerned about search engine optimisation was received with scepticism about reliance on traffic from search engines, but Skrenta writes in his blog entry on the purchase of the domain name, "The three words in retail are "location, location, location." The three words online are "search engine optimiziation [sic]." It means the same thing." continues to take various measures to return their search engine ranking to its original level.