In 2009 toy retailer giant Toys R Us successfully acquired the generic domain name Toys.com in an auction, and set up a website on the generic domain name shortly after to expand its reach and help control the important top spots in search engines for the highly searched term.
They did well with the domain/website and gained more organic SERP’s because of owning and using the domain name Toys.com to attract potential customers who naturally search for the term toys. This cuts down on online advertising costs, helps push down competition and simply makes sense because that is what they sell!
Something happened though fairly recently!
Toys R Us had a daily deals type website on Toys.com until around August 10, 2015 – September 19, 2015 based on Archive.org records and then began redirecting (forwarding) the domain name simply to ToysRUs.com with a server side redirect. The website that was on the $5.1 Million dollar domain Toys.com is now gone!
I tried to find some “history” type tools to see how well Toys.com ranked in the past and I know for sure from my memory that the domain/site had a high up P1 organic spot, if not more than 1 for the toys search term. It had to be getting a fair amount of traffic!
I reached out to Toys R Us for comment but have not heard back at time of posting. I will keep you posted if I do!
So… does it pay to speculate as to the reason behind removing the website?
Yes and no! No, because without knowing the exact reasons for them doing it, directly from them, I simply am guessing!
If I were to speculate, there are a couple potentials!
- Brand confusion that may have been hurting conversion rates on Toys.com? (not enough marketing that Toys.com was owned by Toys R Us)
- Was Toys.com out ranking ToysRUs.com and it looked bad for the main brand?
- New CEO, David Brandon came in July 2015 and about 1-2 months later, the Toys.com website is gone! Did he not like something about it, cost savings etc?
- Toys R Us runs 3 main websites currently. ToysRUs.com, BabiesRUs.com and FAO.com. They wanted to put more focus on those sites?
Again, the above are pure speculation, but in general, I don’t get it! The situation is a text-book of what domain investors preach! Generic domain names make sense, they naturally rank well for search terms that match the domain and saves $ from advertising costs with a company who is smart enough to own and use more than 1 domain to outrank your competition and “own” the term and the rankings for it! Plus, Toys.com presents a trusted source due to the premium nature of the domain as it separates the average from the best!
To note, eToys.com which was also acquired by Toys R Us is also redirecting to ToysRUs.com. I had not paid much attention to that domain and what they had done with it in the past. Also to note, they have removed branding from the main website, ToysRUs.com of: Toys.com, eToys.com and another brand owned, KBToys.com.
Below is what they had as of late last year directly on the main website for cross branding:
Currently, only the 3 on the left are displayed on the companies main website. So Toys R Us removed cross promotion of 3 websites and kept 3. At this point, it appears to be a brand refocus and Toys.com, eToys.com and KBToys.com were the ones sent packing and got redirect slips!
Do you think it was smart of Toys R Us to kill off the generic Toys.com site and now simply redirect it? I am not see this as a wise move and it’s disappointing to see that they have killed off the Toys.com website. The $5.1 Million dollar domain is now just a redirect.