Maybe you heard it, maybe you didn’t… but Walgreens is shutting down two generic domain name websites they own and operate:

  • Drugstore.com
  • Beauty.com

They acquired the two, plus VisionDirect.com and SkinStore.com from some $420+ million in 2011 time frame.

When I read the news yesterday about the decision by Walgreens, Toys.com popped in my head. Toys R Us, which paid $5.1 Million  for only the domain name, killed off that generic/website which I wrote about here.

Two large companies, killing off websites using premium generic domain names. That seems to be the opposite of what domain owners preach. aka, these companies need these generic domains for branding, credibility, SEO and more!

Well, Toys.com appears to have been killed off by a new, incoming CEO and was a decision that I think was wrong. It was likely a “cost saving” measure. Was the site mismanaged and had a big team to run the website, costing a lot of money? Likely!

Walgreens has stated that they want to put more focus on Walgreens.com it self. Again, Drugstore.com and Beauty.com are being killed off, in a cost savings measure, just as Toys.com was.

The domains fault? No, mismanagement of the businesses behind the domains IMO!

Again, I think this is a mistake by Walgreens, just as I did with Toys.com. This time I was able to grab some data behind the two sites shutting down and they are nothing to sneeze at. Alexa data:

Beauty.com Alexa Rank 6,437 in US, 19,267 Global 32.3% BR, 6.60 PVPV, 5:05 on site 59K indexed
Drugstore.com Alexa Rank 1,129 in US, 4,201 Global 36% BR, 7.21 PVPV, 5:31 On site 1.9M indexed pages
Walgreens.com Alexa Rank 229 in US, 936 Global 24.7% Bounce Rate, 6.6 Pageviews per visitor, 6:11 on site

Looking at the Alexa data, Drugstore.com is a very active website. The 1,129th most active website in the US according to Alexa. IT should be turning a profit and a nice one at that.

Drugstore.com and Beauty.com never co-branded itself with Walgreens directly and I think they should have. Drugstore and Beauty co-branded with VisionDirect but never with the big brand. I think it would have helped. Having the multiple websites helps in more ways than one and an important factor often over looked is “owning the search”. Walgreens.com is only going to rank well for so many keywords. Using Drugstore.com, Walgreens.com and Beauty.com allows Walgreens to “own the search” for a huge ray of keywords they want to focus on.

For an example, I did a couple product searches using keywords I know both Walgreens.com and Drugstore.com offer. I was getting results from Drugstore.com and seeing nothing from Walgreens.com. That is a problem for Walgreens, when Drugstore.com is gone at the end of September… because those rankings are going to be gone!

It would be wise for Walgreens to keep Drugstore.com, co-brand it with Walgreens and get a better handle on the sites other than just closing the two down. Again, this isn’t a domain problem, it’s a management problem of the sites!

About Jamie Zoch

Jamie Zoch is a domain investor, dad and dedicated husband who founded DotWeekly.com in 2008 to bring unique and helpful views on domain names. Jamie is very passionate about domain names and helping others learn and prosper.

26 Responses to My Thoughts: Walgreens Shutting Down Drugstore.com / Beauty.com
  1. I think it’s very hard for these mega sized companies to give the necessary resources (IT in particular) for website differentiation. Ultimately when a company uses multiple domains that carry the same skus they must have different pricing and product selection. At least for Adwords which soon enough will spill over to natural search.

    This takes valuable IT resources as well as human management for content. At the end of the day these mega corps are typically run by non technical CEOs who believe that focusing their IT resources on one site will deliver them more website improvements and a higher conversion rate.

    I speak from experience and don’t necessarily agree with their decisions but each case really is different. Running mini sites that focus on certain niches that compliment a single brand vs running competing domains that have 100% product overlap typically yields better results for multiple reasons.

  2. The higher up the executive chain you go, the less they understand about SEO. 🙂

  3. Maybe L’Oréal is about to buy beauty.com to support their .beauty extension 😉

  4. I ordered from Drugstore.com over the weekend and my standard shipping order came within half a business day. They had to drive 400 miles to bring it from their Warehouse. I was incredibly pleased with the service, not necessarily the pricing or product selection and sent them a thank you email. It seems they don’t accept emails anymore and just offer automated responses and links. Now I find out they are closing!

  5. Uh, they were trying to run actual businesses off those sites. Not the small time, seo/adword garbage that you’re talking about.

  6. The Journal, citing people familiar with the matter, said Walgreens waited until now to terminate the Theranos deal out of fear it would be sued.

  7. I have been a drugstore.com & beauty.com customer for many, many years. The products they carried were diverse, their customer service was wonderful, always polite, friendly and eager to resolve (which by the way over the years and hundreds of orders I only had to contact a few times) their website was user friendly and shipping & promo’s, just wonderful as well. I will truly will miss these sites and shopping with them. It’s become such an auto response for me to just go there whenever I needed anything. My heart and all best go out to all those who will loose their jobs over this decision. Thank you to all for your service and making my shopping experiences so great over the years!

    • I second that! Many years of great products & great service. I am saddened by this news. Walgreens.com does not offer the variety of products carried by drugstore.com & beauty.com.

  8. Aloha
    I am extremely upset over the decision to shut down drugstore.com! This website is amazing!!! I depend on it for almost everything. I live on kauai and hardly anything is available as you also have to drive over an hour round trip to get to the store, if not longer as you will need to go to several different stores to then find out they dont carry what you need. Its frustrating! And if they have what you need then it is expensive. Its convenient and you can spend time shopping at anytime including early morning or late at night when all else is closed. They have so many items to chose from as well as great descriptions and additional information so you know what you are getting and if it is just right for you. As i have so many allergies and extra needs this is helpful. I also find so many other items i did not know existed to use as i have so many other important health issues to aid. As i like to take a natural approach to my health, Drugstore.com helps me in so many ways! I am outraged to find out this bad news!!!! Please re-think your decision on shutting this helpful website down! Jennie

  9. I have been a Drugstore customer since 2009. I used this site on a regular basis and more than any other site including Amazon. Excellent service–excellent shipping–excellent choices not to mention prices. It would make more sense to close the Walgreen’s site over that of Drugstore. I do not and never will understand these “corporate” decisions. They do not care about the customer or the employees. I just hope another competitor takes the Drugstore format with their great selection of products and prices and gets all the Drugstore’s former customers. Better than giving the business to Walgreen’s.

    • Check out PlanetRx.com 🙂 We are still very small but do our best to provide excellent customer service to everyone.

    • I agree about loving Drugstore.com & am upset about them closed… I myself do not like Walgreens & never go there to shop, everything is very expensive & not as many items as other stores. I only go there when I am given a Walgreens gift card.. Oh well, Amazon is my 2nd favorite… 🙂

  10. I agree with Jennie from Kauai above. I live on Maui and order regularily from drugstore.com–sometiimes 2 or 3 times a month. Not only do they have “drugstore” type items, but also organic foods and snacks. It is so convenient to order these items from home and have them delivered to my door. Most often when I drive to “town” (which is 35 minutes away) I have to search for what I want, because the store either is out of it or doesn’t carry the item, and then I have to try to find it at another store. Please rethink your decision to shut down Drugstore.com!!! I depend on this site!!!

  11. Wow – just went to place an order and discovered that they are shutting down 9/30. This is so disappointing. As others have stated, this was really my go-to site for so many items. So convenient and with such a diverse assortment. I have noticed the last several months, however, that they stopped carrying more and more products – guess the closing was something the company had been planning for a long time. Their closing will leave a big void!

  12. I used drugstore.com frequently & beauty.com on occasion. The prices were better than i could find in most stores and online. Only thing i didn’t like was being in Oklahoma, i had to calculate all of my purchases for my taxes because they didn’t charge tax to several states, including mine. It frustrates me that these sites are being shut down. Sad the jobs that will be lost due to this action.

  13. I’m disabled and get many of my household supplies from drugstore.com every month. I just found out they are shutting down. I don’t use Walmart and try very hard to avoid Amazon so I’m not sure what I’m going to do next month.

  14. I am disappointed that I will not be able to shop with Drugstore.com for my favorite products any longer. Disable I am now
    lost and confuse. Walgreen’s pricing is already outrageous. They have doubled the costs of the items I buy.
    There is no increase in bottled amount but Walgreen is requesting more money. Guess I will have to do business with anyone else but Walgreen.

  15. I am now getting tired with all the new Walgreens.com spam for valued former Drugstore.com users. If only the Drug Emporium would return!

  16. So much for customer care.
    The four most expensive, and needed, products I ordered from drugstore.com are not availalble on the Walgreens sitte.
    This wasn’t a clean transfer of products.
    Angry…

  17. I am so disappointed that Drugstore.com is shutting down!! I did so much business with them!! They had all kinds of products and some very unique! I bought alot of items for my son’s Christmas stocking and for gifts!! Walgreens can’t match the pricing or products! Not sure what I will do now. I don’t have a car and rely on internet shopping alot!!! Please bring Drugstore.com back!!!

  18. Big mistake by Walgreens. Their site cannot compare to Drugstore.com. Will likely change my retail prescriptions to another store.

  19. I loved shopping beauty.com & drugstore.com. I am so sad that Walgreens shut them down. Walgreens does NOT carry the variety of products nor have the great GWP incentives you got with beauty.com. I would order from them over Sephora because of the fabulous designer makeup bags & generous amount of samples they offered. Also loved the layout & ease of shopping both sites. Walgreens.com is not very user friendly I usually leave without buying anything. Maybe they should’ve shut down they’re site….

  20. I really miss drugstore.com. To whom it may concern: I will not be buying anything from Big Box Pharma walgreens.com, so you lost this customer.

  21. I miss drugstore.com and I refuse to shop at walgreens. I loved drugstore. Why shop at walgreens when I can go to amazaon. Same thing.

  22. I am just finding out that drugstore.com is no longer available and am upset about this. I used this when I was deployed several years ago and had planned on using it again now that I am out of the country. It was always very easy and affordable to get things that I could not get while I was overseas. Delivery was also very quick. Now, I will be looking elsewhere to get those items that I need.

  23. I am still looking for an equivalent for drugstore.com. I used it every week. Special deals, best prices, product reviews, nice people, fast delivery. If anyone knows another online site like drugstore.com please write in. Thanks.


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