Corporate mergers have many challenges, including standardizing on a domain name. A few missed steps in the transition can hurt a brand, and cost a sight some hard-earned and well-deserved traffic.
After Sprint’s merger with Nextel, Sprint has been working on consolidating all services on the Sprint brand and domain name, www.sprint.com. Good choice. However, what happens when you type sprintpcs.com (a domain used by Sprint for their wireless services for years) into a browser:
End of the world? No, but dead web pages like this are not exactly positive brand builders. It also hurts site traffic: According to Yahoo, 588 web sites have linked to http://sprintpcs.com (make that 589). People clicking through from those links will currently meet the same fate I did.
How can this be avoided:
1. Standardize on a new domain.
2. Point previous domains to the new domain (both www and non-www versions of your previous sites)
3. Point internal pages of your old domains to their locations on the new domain.
4. Ask web site owners to change their links to your site’s new location.
Is this tedious work? Yes. Valuable? Absolutely.
Proper execution of the above strategies creates a stronger post-merger online presence that truly is a sum of its parts.