Changing domain name without losing ranking

by moja
26 replies
  • SEO
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So, here's my problem. I registered a domain name which has a brand in it. It's Adidas. My plan was to start an easy to cash affiliate website. Something like "Adidassneakers.co.uk"-ish. Just an example. Now, I don't know if it's permissible to use the brand in the domain or not. I have a disclaimer on the site that says I'm not affiliated with adidas AG etc. So, can adidas claim the website? It's not like I'm profiling myself to be affiliated with Adidas?

Secondly, I was thinking about making a new domain "sneakersonline.co.uk"(just an example) and redirecting the first domain to this one. However, the first domain is already ranking well in Google and I don't want to lose it. Is it possible to 301 redirect the first domain to the second, but not make the first domain visible in Google, but the second. So you'd see in Google "sneakersonline.co.uk" when someone searches for "Adidas sneakers" but in reality it's just a 301. I've heard some people did that.

I'd appreciate your guys' input!
Cheers
#changing #domain #losing #ranking
  • Profile picture of the author LarryHaywood
    First of all, using the trademark in your domain is not a good idea. You would want to use the 301 redirect to send visitors to the new site.
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    • Profile picture of the author moja
      Originally Posted by LarryHaywood View Post

      First of all, using the trademark in your domain is not a good idea. You would want to use the 301 redirect to send visitors to the new site.
      There are loads of SamsungGalaxys4/5/6/.com sites. Same goes for iPhone. So, that's not always true.


      But the 301 wouldn't be enough. You'd see the domain in the Google Searches.
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        • Profile picture of the author moja
          Originally Posted by Andrewsfm View Post

          Not possible.
          What would be the best alternative to do right now?
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          • Profile picture of the author paulgl
            Put a link on the main page of the current site, redirecting
            anyone who wishes to go to the new site. You can even
            put the same content on it, no problem. Then, after a year
            or so, take the first domain offline, but do a server side
            redirect. Those are free and no web hosting is needed.

            Or, just keep the same domain. No matter what anyone says,
            nobody can take your domain. There is a process. Rules must
            be followed. That is just in the United States. Nobody gives
            a rat's hat outside the US. Now if you are doing something illegal
            with a US based site, the feds can pull the plug.

            Having a domain with walmart or other brand is not a criminal
            matter.

            Paul
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            • Profile picture of the author moja
              Originally Posted by paulgl View Post

              Put a link on the main page of the current site, redirecting
              anyone who wishes to go to the new site. You can even
              put the same content on it, no problem. Then, after a year
              or so, take the first domain offline, but do a server side
              redirect. Those are free and no web hosting is needed.

              Or, just keep the same domain. No matter what anyone says,
              nobody can take your domain. There is a process. Rules must
              be followed. That is just in the United States. Nobody gives
              a rat's hat outside the US. Now if you are doing something illegal
              with a US based site, the feds can pull the plug.

              Having a domain with walmart or other brand is not a criminal
              matter.

              Paul
              Thanks for your reply paul! It's online right now. I'm ranking it. It's doing quite well. I was just wondering if I should take it offline. Adidas also has a company here. So it's quite possible to sue me or something. It's an affiliate website, so I don't know why'd they be bothered..
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        • Profile picture of the author patco
          Originally Posted by Andrewsfm View Post

          Not possible.
          Why is this not possible according to you? If he does 301 redirection, then everything will be fine... Of course if the old domain is not banned or blacklisted!
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  • Profile picture of the author jinx1221
    First I would check the terms of service for Adidas (or whatever it is) affiliate program.. it should state whether you can or can't use their trademark name in your website domain name. Or email them and ask. If you can, it's all good. If you can't, then whether or not you can set up a redirect would still be going against their TOS.

    As for doing a 301 but not have adidassneakers.com visible (or whatever it is), you could add a robots.txt to your root that would have a disallow your entire domain:

    User-agent: *
    Disallow: /

    ..but with that, you would lose all of your rankings :rolleyes:
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    • Profile picture of the author moja
      Originally Posted by jinx1221 View Post

      First I would check the terms of service for Adidas (or whatever it is) affiliate program.. it should state whether you can or can't use their trademark name in your website domain name. Or email them and ask. If you can, it's all good. If you can't, then whether or not you can set up a redirect would still be going against their TOS.

      As for doing a 301 but not have adidassneakers.com visible (or whatever it is), you could add a robots.txt to your root that would have a disallow your entire domain:

      User-agent: *
      Disallow: /

      ..but with that, you would lose all of your rankings :rolleyes:
      I'm not affiliated with Adidas. I want an affiliate program that is provided by a clothing company which had high ECP and it's a great affiliate program. But if their affiliate program doesn't allow the use of their brand in the domain, does that mean you can't use it whatsoever? (E.g. a different affiliate program which allows you to.)
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      • Profile picture of the author jinx1221
        Originally Posted by moja View Post

        I'm not affiliated with Adidas. I want an affiliate program that is provided by a clothing company which had high ECP and it's a great affiliate program. But if their affiliate program doesn't allow the use of their brand in the domain, does that mean you can't use it whatsoever? (E.g. a different affiliate program which allows you to.)
        Hmm.. good question.. you know what, I don't know legally, I suppose technically if it ever came to a situation where you were an actual sneaker company and they were threatened by your business, or if you had something like "adidassuckssweatyballs.com" and you were being slanderous, or something like that, they might have a case to sue, but otherwise I doubt they would even find your site and even so would have no cause to pitch a bitch about it. Even if they did, you could say no, my website name is "Adid As Sneakers", see where I'm going? No connection to Adidas whatsoever.. deny everything.. the truth is out there.
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        • Profile picture of the author paulgl
          Originally Posted by jinx1221 View Post

          .... or if you had something like "adidassuckssweatyballs.com" and you were being slanderous, or something like that, they might have a case to sue,
          Free speech in the US is condoned...

          You obviously have no knowledge of the history of the internet...
          US law does not translate well across borders, and, the number of hate sites
          using brand names is staggering...not to mention fan sites.

          Either way, they have to sue. They win some, they lose some.

          Paul
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          • Profile picture of the author moja
            Originally Posted by paulgl View Post

            Free speech in the US is condoned...

            You obviously have no knowledge of the history of the internet...
            US law does not translate well across borders, and, the number of hate sites
            using brand names is staggering...not to mention fan sites.

            Either way, they have to sue. They win some, they lose some.

            Paul
            They can sue because they're rich. What if I don't have the money to go to court?
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  • Profile picture of the author RyanLB
    Sounds risky to use the trademark at all. It would suck to see all of your hard work be wiped out over some kind of dispute.
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  • Profile picture of the author johnlagoudakis
    For any long term business model, I'd never recommend using a Trademarked name...

    ... even if the business currently allows it.

    If they change their policy , overnight your business us gone.

    I've seen it happen.
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  • Profile picture of the author netanel23
    Having a trademarked domain 301'd still means that domain is visible to the company who's trademark you are infringing on.

    I'd start over if I were you and build a new site, and when you receive the C&D from the trademarked site owner just give up the domain.
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    • Profile picture of the author moja
      Originally Posted by RyanLB View Post

      Sounds risky to use the trademark at all. It would suck to see all of your hard work be wiped out over some kind of dispute.
      True, but it has great potential for a good passive-income affiliate website. And it'd look good on my portfolio. I hope they don't go that far though. Because, I do get their crap sold, so it's a win-win?
      Originally Posted by jinx1221 View Post

      Hmm.. good question.. you know what, I don't know legally, I suppose technically if it ever came to a situation where you were an actual sneaker company and they were threatened by your business, or if you had something like "adidassuckssweatyballs.com" and you were being slanderous, or something like that, they might have a case to sue, but otherwise I doubt they would even find your site and even so would have no cause to pitch a bitch about it. Even if they did, you could say no, my website name is "Adid As Sneakers", see where I'm going? No connection to Adidas whatsoever.. deny everything.. the truth is out there.
      It's kind of obvious I promote Adidas. It would become an affiliatewebsite with a productfeed. However, I did setup a disclaimer with "it's a fan site", that might help a bit. It's quite weird they'd sue someone for promoting their crap for free. Samsung/Apple doesn't do that as far as I know.

      Originally Posted by johnlagoudakis View Post

      For any long term business model, I'd never recommend using a Trademarked name...

      ... even if the business currently allows it.

      If they change their policy , overnight your business us gone.

      I've seen it happen.
      It's just a simple affiliate website, not something i rely on. I do hope it doesn't get attacked by the Adidasdemons. Would be a great 1-2k a month passive income.
      Originally Posted by netanel23 View Post

      Having a trademarked domain 301'd still means that domain is visible to the company who's trademark you are infringing on.

      I'd start over if I were you and build a new site, and when you receive the C&D from the trademarked site owner just give up the domain.
      C&D? So, start a new site while this one is ranking? Hmm, could be a possibility. EMD do rank better though. It's quite easy to rank with an EMD + TLD.
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      • Profile picture of the author jinx1221
        Originally Posted by moja View Post

        I'm not affiliated with Adidas.
        Originally Posted by moja View Post

        It's kind of obvious I promote Adidas.
        Well which is it? :p

        So you have a website that showcases Adidas shoes etc. without an Adidas affiliate program, but want to have an affiliate/ppc/whatever program for other things? I see no problem with that. Unless again you start bashing Adidas or something. You know how many Apple fan sites there are out there? That run Google Ads that run any old ad, even Microsoft? Apple could care less unless you start dipping into their bottom line. Doubtful you are, no offense. Someday you might get a C&D.. oh well, back to the drawing board.
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  • Profile picture of the author ronrule
    Originally Posted by moja View Post

    I registered a domain name which has a brand in it. It's Adidas. My plan was to start an easy to cash affiliate website. Something like "Adidassneakers.co.uk"-ish. Just an example. Now, I don't know if it's permissible to use the brand in the domain or not.
    It's not, they'll file a UDRP claim and take it. If it was "Adidassoftware" they wouldn't be able to take it because it's non-competitive, but because it's sneakers and that's within the scope of their business, they will take it quite easily.

    I have a disclaimer on the site that says I'm not affiliated with adidas AG etc. So, can adidas claim the website? It's not like I'm profiling myself to be affiliated with Adidas?
    Doesn't matter. Trademark infringement is trademark infringement. It's BECAUSE you aren't affiliated with the company that you're not allowed to use it. It doesn't matter if you're promoting their products or not, if you didn't get permission to use their name then you can't use it.
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    • Profile picture of the author jinx1221
      Originally Posted by ronrule View Post

      It's not, they'll file a UDRP claim and take it. If it was "Adidassoftware" they wouldn't be able to take it because it's non-competitive, but because it's sneakers and that's within the scope of their business, they will take it quite easily.

      Doesn't matter. Trademark infringement is trademark infringement. It's BECAUSE you aren't affiliated with the company that you're not allowed to use it. It doesn't matter if you're promoting their products or not, if you didn't get permission to use their name then you can't use it.
      Ronrule has a point, actually. Adidassneakers.com or variants like that are too close to home, they could file a UDRP claim. If they wanted to. Are you anywhere close to a threat to their business? That is, if someone punches in 'adidas sneakers', does your site even show up? If not I honestly wouldn't worry. Worst that could happen is just that. Oh well, keep your site content and if that ever happens just set up a new domain name, only this time make it "Sketcherssneakers.com".. just kidding.
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      • Profile picture of the author moja
        Originally Posted by jinx1221 View Post

        Well which is it? :p

        So you have a website that showcases Adidas shoes etc. without an Adidas affiliate program, but want to have an affiliate/ppc/whatever program for other things? I see no problem with that. Unless again you start bashing Adidas or something. You know how many Apple fan sites there are out there? That run Google Ads that run any old ad, even Microsoft? Apple could care less unless you start dipping into their bottom line. Doubtful you are, no offense. Someday you might get a C&D.. oh well, back to the drawing board.
        Let's say a kind of wallmart in my country. They sell clothing and have an Adidas section. Im affiliated with them, not Adidas. :p

        I know, Apple doesn't mind someone promoting their iPhone 5(s) or something. Loads of EMD's out there in the top 10 which aren't Apple's websites. Same goes for samsung/HTC etc. What is a C&D? I hope that isn't a fine or something. I'm at the moment not in the position to lose lots of money.
        Originally Posted by ronrule View Post

        It's not, they'll file a UDRP claim and take it. If it was "Adidassoftware" they wouldn't be able to take it because it's non-competitive, but because it's sneakers and that's within the scope of their business, they will take it quite easily.



        Doesn't matter. Trademark infringement is trademark infringement. It's BECAUSE you aren't affiliated with the company that you're not allowed to use it. It doesn't matter if you're promoting their products or not, if you didn't get permission to use their name then you can't use it.
        What about fair use of trademark? By the way, why doesn't Apple/Samsung etc. claim the domains like samsunggalaxys4.com ?

        So, an informative Adidas Sneakers website would also be claimed by them?

        Originally Posted by jinx1221 View Post

        Ronrule has a point, actually. Adidassneakers.com or variants like that are too close to home, they could file a UDRP claim. If they wanted to. Are you anywhere close to a threat to their business? That is, if someone punches in 'adidas sneakers', does your site even show up? If not I honestly wouldn't worry. Worst that could happen is just that. Oh well, keep your site content and if that ever happens just set up a new domain name, only this time make it "Sketcherssneakers.com".. just kidding.
        It does. I just setup the websites 3 days ago and it's already on second page, climbing quite fast. I'm a not that bad of an SEO'er. I might just buy a more general URL I think. This is too much hassle.

        The sketchers, good idea. Haha.

        By the way, same question: Why doesn't apple/.samsung claim the domains they could claim?
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        • Profile picture of the author ronrule
          Originally Posted by moja View Post

          Let's say a kind of wallmart in my country. They sell clothing and have an Adidas section. Im affiliated with them, not Adidas. :p

          I know, Apple doesn't mind someone promoting their iPhone 5(s) or something. Loads of EMD's out there in the top 10 which aren't Apple's websites. Same goes for samsung/HTC etc. What is a C&D? I hope that isn't a fine or something. I'm at the moment not in the position to lose lots of money.


          What about fair use of trademark? By the way, why doesn't Apple/Samsung etc. claim the domains like samsunggalaxys4.com ?

          So, an informative Adidas Sneakers website would also be claimed by them?

          It does. I just setup the websites 3 days ago and it's already on second page, climbing quite fast. I'm a not that bad of an SEO'er. I might just buy a more general URL I think. This is too much hassle.

          The sketchers, good idea. Haha.

          By the way, same question: Why doesn't apple/.samsung claim the domains they could claim?
          There's a difference between a fan site (or even a complaint site) and a site that sells a product (or links to one as an affiliate). I've successfully taken every domain containing a branded term that I've filed a UDRP claim on because a site selling the product that isn't an authorized retailer of the brand is using our trademark in commerce illegally. It creates market confusion and robs those authorized to sell the brand of their rights as distributors, plus there is no guarantee of authenticity. Lots of knockoffs in the apparel space, if it were one of my brands and I knew about it, I would have already asked you to turn it over and filed if you didn't.

          A UDRP isn't a lawsuit, its more like arbitration. There aren't any legal costs on your end unless you plan on fighting it (and you will lose).

          As for why other companies don't do it, there are numerous reasons. Sometimes we let it slide if the site is an affiliate for one of our authorized partners. But in those rare cases we check the site weekly - and if the brand is no longer properly represented or the source of the products changes, we will take it back. In either case, its really up to the brand owner whether they wish to own it or not. Some don't care, and some have so many people selling their products it would be impossible to chase them all down.

          There was one instance a couple years ago where someone had a domain containing one of our brands and had built a review site about the product, but the link to buy was to a knock-off product. So without warning I filed the UDRP and took the domain. I scraped a copy of the site and continue to run it to this day, with the correct product link.

          Generally speaking, the better you are at SEO based on my trademarked term, the more interested I am in owning the name and capitalizing on your efforts. The cost to file a UDRP is less than I would pay for good SEO anyway, so you're essentially doing me a favor by building up yet another site for me to sell from. But that's a bad deal for you, because if I take the domain then you don't get to 301 it to your new site and have to start over.

          My advice is to stay away from trademarked terms and build up your OWN brand. Then you can do whatever you want, sell whatever you want, and no one can take it from you. Domain name has no impact on SEO anyway, so all you're really doing using someone else's trademark is setting yourself up for a do-over if they ever decide they want it.
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  • Profile picture of the author logyko
    You could do this, start a new domain with another relevant name like bestsneakers.co.uk and then make a post relevant to your old site and name it some like "the new adidas sneakers". The URL will be bestsneakers.co.uk/the-new-adidas-sneakers and redirect with 301 your old domain to this URL. You can use name trademarks with no problem into your post or pages.
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  • Profile picture of the author Weblover50
    If you 301 redirect Adidassneakers.co.uk to SneakersOnline.co.uk, the SERP listings on Google won't show the first domain name. It will be SneakersOnline.co.uk, after Google index both sites, within a week or so. So that part is safe. Ignore everyone saying otherwise, they have no clue bout what they are talking.

    In addition to 301 redirect, login to your webmaster tools, confirm the ownership of both sites and notify Google of the change. Here is the help:
    https://support.google.com/webmaster...er/83106?hl=en

    Overall, your idea of moving to a safer domain name makes sense, even though you might lose some traffic initially. I have personally gone through this and would recommend you to do it. Make sure that when you 301 redirect, redirect all pages to corresponding pages in new domain and keep the content same (with minimum changes to reflect the new domain name) for a while.
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  • Profile picture of the author gknugurlu
    Jinxx1221 is right. You would rather check the terms of adidas for using their trademark name within your domain name. I had previously launced last year a site for some kind of product using their name for my domain (i.e. exampleproductrevealsbest.xxx) then just contacted them and had warned me not to use their name which was a trademark and forbidden. So you would better check the terms for adidas or directly contact them if you want to be safe for a long term business.

    As weblover50 has mentioned, add the same contents to your new website and redirect the old pages to the new ones after google has indexed your pages. You will surely lose some traffic by redirecting your old website to the new one. But do not care so much about it, if you do well your job then you can gain even more then your previous traffic.
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  • Profile picture of the author moja
    Oke, thank you guys! Ron, weblovr, gknugurlu, thanks!

    One thing though, can you 301 redirect a adidias-domain and can they still claim it? Since you can't really see it in the searches.
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    • Profile picture of the author ronrule
      Originally Posted by moja View Post

      Oke, thank you guys! Ron, weblovr, gknugurlu, thanks!

      One thing though, can you 301 redirect a adidias-domain and can they still claim it? Since you can't really see it in the searches.
      Yeah, it's still their trademark. Why are you so hell-bent on using this name? It doesn't give your site any credibility (in fact, it takes it away), doesn't help you rank, and you run the risk of legal trouble. There really isn't any good reason to do it.

      Here's a worst-case scenario... they file a UDRP and for some reason the arbitrators are all dicks and they lose the UDRP. You smile, thinking you've won and it's over.

      But they can still sue you. A UDRP resolution isn't a final authority, they're merely arbitrators with the power to enforce at the registrar level. So now, pissed at their loss, Adidas in-house counsel - someone they already pay a salary or retainer to anyway, so no additional costs for them - files a lawsuit. You now have to appear in court, properly represented, and defend yourself. At a minimum you'll be spending $4k. And if you win, they can appeal and you get to start over again.

      Look at it this way ... if Microsoft can sue a teenager named "Mike Rowe" who bought the domain mikerowesoft.com and take it, what possible defense would you have against a company when you're using their actual name, especially when you're operating in their area of business? It's just not worth the hassle.
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