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!

Toys.com Logo

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:

Toys R Us 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.

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.

17 Responses to Toys R Us Shuts Down $5.1 Million Toys.com Domain Website
  1. Generics are best developed for the purpose of SEO support of brands. Otherwise, their traffic gets no conversion. Intrigued by what you might hear back about.

  2. It was the new CEO. We saw the same thing with top paying hotel advertisers on PalmSprings.com. We’d have a great, years-long relationship with a hotel and suddenly they’d want off the site. Nine times out of ten it would be because they hired a new General Manager who didn’t get it.

  3. Bodes well for the word “Khilaune” com cognitive in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh & Nepal = toy/s

  4. Even if “Brand confusion that may have been hurting conversion rates on Toys.com? (not enough marketing that Toys.com was owned by Toys R Us)” happens to be the reason for the drastic action, I still believe that they are WRONG! Reason? Toys.com will outlive Toys R Us dot anything. The board should be bold enough to ‘hold on to what is right’. However, is it possible that they are going for ‘something dot toys’? It still does not add up. Okay, I give up!

  5. Toys.com is now redirecting to ToysRUs.com. Maybe just trying to consolidate and focus on the main brand.

  6. In Australia ToysRus http://www.productreview.com.au/p/toys-r-us-1.html service has been appauling previously they’d never respond now you’ll notice there appears to be change. IMHO there is one reason for the change, and that is change in management.

    There brand is ToysRus not Toys, why start branding all over again. I like what gofundme have done with crowdfunding.com, now to me thats more of a smart way of using a generic domain name. For the record those stat’s are on crowdfunding.com are wrong but to the average punter they appear correct.

  7. Consolidating assets and merging all resources to their main brand. Nice!

  8. Cost. It takes a lot to create unique content in the same vertical and outreach for each to be able to rank them all well. Google’s algorithm changed the importance of the domain name matching the search term years ago. Also, I am not sure they had a different positioning for each of these properties that made any sense. Seems like just an amalgamation to sell more of the same under different names. Maybe toys.com is better suited as an international play in other countries where ToysRUs is weak or not known.

  9. I’m not sure that the claim “they naturally rank well for search terms that match the domain” is really true any more. If it is true I’d say it is a much smaller factor than it was.

    May not have been worth running a seperate site given the sales volume,

  10. I remember The Toys.com acquisition well. And the debacle that followed with the rebuild of the site and link structure that tanked their rankings as they attempted to bring it under their existing IT infrastructure.

    Further, at the time there was speculation that Google was penalizing them, or discounting rank because the site was now under the TRU umbrella and therefore offering similar or duplicative content.

    From what I understand this was one of the worst domain acquisition failures of all time. But I stopped following this years ago.

    Did thingsultimately turn around for the toys.com brand?

    Or does this finally indicate that it didn’t work and they are finally calling it a dayi??

    • John,
      I recall Toys.com ranking well for the Toys search term and I think that was the important thing, so they could get as much traffic as they could. So in general, I think they must have turned it around from that aspect.

  11. Toys com will always be the perfect marketing tool. The vertical can domains that are authoritative platforms specific to the root domain which then serves (and persists) the common elements of the brand name Toys com B2B & B2C. The brand side is the “com” the cognitive generic ‘toy’ “toys” is the only way deep learning AI can communicate with slow evolving mortals !!

  12. A brand owner always want to stand out from the crowd to build up its brand valuation and market value. Toys.com is great to have but way to generic and therefore not distinctive enough against the many other Toy companies out there. It’s better for Toys R Us to be the only one having ‘ToysRus’ domain names as much as possible (also ccTLDs) and brand this name in order to stand out from its competitors. Additional pro it’s a lot easier to defend their IP rights to the name ‘Toys R Us’ than the name ‘Toys’ in relation to selling toys.

  13. All that counts is selling toys & Games B2C B2B, IP rights count for nothing on the balance sheet. In a mobile phone world “Toys” com has the ege.

  14. I simply would have redirected Toys.com to ToysRUs.com in the first place why go through the added expense of running a whole separate brand experience when you are already the preeminent toy brand? Point Toys.com to ToyRUs.com and you can make sure you are catching the extra pennies and nickels falling from your money tree.

  15. May not have been worth running a seperate site given the sales volume


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