Watching Dragons’ Den on BBC2 last night, I found myself literally shouting at the TV at one of the prospective investments. It was a website that has video recipes for people to watch and follow on the domain name ifoods.tv.
The two candidates stated they had approx 15,000 unique impressions per month, which is a lot for a site that has yet to really take off, with the majority of the traffic coming from the USA. That final fact surprised a couple of Dragons, and myself, seeing as they were based in Ireland.
However, it soon became clear how they had achieved such good traffic levels and why so many came from the USA. They were essentially trading on typos from a popular US-based site called ifood.tv (singular compared to the other site’s plural).
Even a search in Google for ifood puts the two next to each other and it was clear that their strategy was to filter traffic looking for ifood.tv to their ifoods.tv site. When asked if they would be willing to change the name, they said it would be too difficult and that they could not (that’s when I started shouting at the TV).
My two points are:
- If you want to build a brand and a site that has its own identity, do not use domain names that are purposefully similar to existing and popular sites. You will always be considered a rip off or underhand, and never the genuine article. I would put money on their bounce rate being very high
- Their statement that to change the name would be too difficult was plain wrong. £2.79 for a co.uk or £30.95 for a .tv, maybe £200 for a new logo from a pro designer, and a simple 301 redirect which would have redirected all incoming links in the search engine’s eyes to the new domain, and it’s done.
I am sure their traffic has spiked today since the show, and I can see they have added advertising to the site (when the show was filmed they had no advertising), but it will always be ‘that site that is like ifood.tv’ rather than a brand standing on its own two feet.