This guest post is by Majestic’s Marketing Director, Dixon Jones, who explains the reasons for their recent name change.
Majestic, the link intelligence database that many SEOs have come to use on a daily basis, has dropped the “SEO” from it’s brand and from its domain name, to become majestic.com. Since most people won’t have used Google’s site migration tool before, here’s what it looks like once you press the “go” button:
In actual fact – there’s a minor bug in the tool. The address change is to the https version of majestic.com (which GWT makes us register as a separate site) but that message incorrectly omits that. Fortunately, elsewhere in GWT its clear the omission is on Google’s side, not a typo from the SEO. It is most likely that the migration tool was developed before the need for Google to have separate verification codes for http and https versions of the site.
The hidden costs of a name change
There were a few “nay sayers” on Twitter upset that Majestic might be deserting its SEO roots by changing its name, but I think most people get that it makes sense. However, it was far from an insignificant cost. Buying the domain itself took three years of negotiation, and the domain seems to have come with lots of random subdomains indexed with long timeouts on the caches. Some point to wine affiliate links, others to travel affiliates. Nothing that won’t sort itself out in time, but you would be amazed at what domainers get up to with parked domains!
The real cost though is in the migration, for small sites 301s are easy. Majestic is a monster though. Tens of thousands of users at any one time… some logged in to free accounts, others not logged in, yet more on paid subscriptions – all these “states” generate different responses from the site and call different servers and hardware. The result has been months of planning and in recent weeks all of our developers have almost exclusively being working on just changing the domain without any fallout. This had the side effect of us locking down the site so that there were NO functional upgrades for a period before the changeover and there will also be lock down for a period after. The only exception has been an updated blog theme. The brand change then, has temporarily slowed Majestic’s usual lightening development speed. The reward should be worth the costs though.
The risk vs the reward of a name change
Most brand name changes fail in the business world. The equity built up around a brand is often hard to measure and is underestimated when the decision to change a brand arises. Majestic also learnt from Moz’s migration from SEOMoz. They looked at the change in tandem with a large functionality launch and in hindsight this caused them several challenges. By contrast, Majestic went the other way. The long term reward though, is significant. At every conference where Majestic has had a booth, at least one person has come up and said “So what do you do, SEO?”
That is a problem – because Majestic is ultimately an analytics business… a technology… a data set. Now Majestic has the opportunity to open up the same data to social marketers, business intelligence analysts, PR professionals, and even web searchers. The change is nothing short of allowing Majestic to be a search engine, albeit rather niche in its focus.
via Marketing Pilgrim - Internet News and Opinion