Big Product, Big Decision
September 2, 2010 6:58 PM   Subscribe

Vanity URL—link to subfolder of brand site, or stand-alone "vanity" site?

My client has a website for a large healthcare product—it's the leader in its highly competitive category. I'm an advertising guy who oversees the creative development of the site. Let's call the site The marketing team at Product Inc. have sponsored a PR campaign on an issue of particular importance to Product users. Let's call the PR campaign WHIZ-BANG! So, we buy and scoop up lots of traffic after a bunch of high profile events, news stories, etc.

Here's the thing: I am trying to decide whether to redirect to a new subfolder on (WHIZ-BANG is closely associated with Product in all communications), which will be very obviously branded as the web part of WHIZ-BANG — OR create from scratch.

I want it to live at because this is great content for, and because has tons more info of interest to the WHIZ-BANG crowd, and because we have like 6 weeks to do this. Also, I feel the content will have better legs on, which will be supported long after WHIZ-BANG has run its course.

My #1 concern is this: is the domain that will be announced at events, news stories, etc. It's great, it's punchy. BUT I'm concerned that some people will enter in the search bar and find nothing if we don't actually build a site there. Lots of people browse via search. So what to do?

Here's are the options I've come up with:

1. Put all the content on; potentially merge it to in 12-18 mos. I have reservations; I want people to see the info, as I stated. Also, has excellent history and rankings/quality scores on organic and paid search.

2. Put up a splash page at which links seamlessly with the rest of the WHIZ-BANG content at I think this is not a good idea, but maybe I'm wrong.

3. Put all the content at, use a redirect to get direct visitors to the site, and don't worry about those who put in the search box. Something I should point out is that WHIZ-BANG is not a super-competitive search term right now. Maybe I can load up on paid search to cover knuckle-heads who put in the search box? But I would still like to know if there is a way to show an organic result for a site that doesn't exist.

I read this and it was interesting but a little bit different case than what I've got here.

OK, that's all, I'll check in tomorrow to see what's going on and answer any questions I can address.

Many thanks.
posted by Mister_A to Computers & Internet (3 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I'd suggest option 3; Apache is tailor-made for redirects, particularly if you're building the site with a CMS such as Drupal.
posted by aaronwinborn at 7:11 PM on September 2, 2010

#3 - unless has been naughty in the past (previous registrant got it deindexed somehow?) people should still be able to get to your destination - either by searching... they'll get to if not the then because that's where the content is OR by direct navigation using

And, FWIW - I, as a domain professional give you kudos for doing this the right way - getting the domain and worrying about details later.

You may also want to get a couple of typos to capture traffic. If the product is going to have affiliate marketing attached to it you may want to snap up the alternate TLDs, spellings, etc. Don't know if that's likely with a health care product or not, but wanted to put that out there.
posted by FlamingBore at 7:17 PM on September 2, 2010

#3, what for the above reasons. Also, as FlamingBore said . . . kudos
posted by geekyguy at 9:40 PM on September 2, 2010

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