Changing Domain Names? Learn From This Painful Move – to

Entrepreneur Paul Ingraham shared some all too familiar horror stories of changing domain names and the consequences that followed. It’s painful to watch so some of you may want to scroll past the image below:

Domain Move Disaster

I’ve gone through this three times just with my own blog which started as, then moved to, and yes, third time’s a charm and it ended-up on Moving a domain name is part art part science and in the end you’re putting a lot of eggs in one basket when it comes to search traffic.

While domain moves certainly can go very smoothly, it doesn’t take much to screw things up. This is why I always recommend working with an expert (think SEO ninja) who can make sure you do everything right. However, sometimes even doing things right can have consequences:

“During the crisis, I spent several weeks doing very little but studying Google and how it works, and something became absolutely clear: Google is buggy.” (Source –

Yes, you can do everything right and still things go wrong, that’s the nature of the beast and a topic I don’t see covered very often. Paul really did everything right, in fact, he was so paranoid something would go wrong he truly went above-and-beyond:

“I prepared for weeks. I studied best practices for moving domains, and I heeded them. I am technically savvy and I had full control over every key factor. My move was standard and straightforward. I checked many key ideas with expert friends, and then — in a costly over-abundance of caution — I hired a consultant I didn’t really need just to review everything again. He’d done many domain moves for big clients, sites much more complex than mine, and he checked my work and chided me for worrying.” (Source –

This really is the best you can do, every base was covered, heck the guy even hired a consultant to help make sure everything went smoothly…and then:

“After all that preparation and procrastination, I finally pushed the button on November 27, 2014. A week later, over the space of a few terrifying days, about 80% of my traffic and income went buh-bye. I was told by my consultant that the dip was unexpectedly steep, but it was no big deal and the traffic would be back soon. But the nightmarish days of the crisis ticked by and it only got worse: 85% loss of traffic … 90% for Christmas.” (Source –

I wish I could now tell you that this could never happen to you, or me, or any of us, but the fact of the matter is that it could. While it may feel like we have been using the Internet forever, it’s easy to forget that these are still very much the early days. Compare early televisions or early phones to the ones we use today, a little different right?

In these early days simple things do come with small but incredibly painful risks. The best way to mitigate these risks is to do everything that Paul did, just hope that you’re not in the small fraction of people that Paul was in where unfortunately everything is not enough.

{ 4 comments… add one }

  • Christopher Hofman Laursen December 15, 2015, 3:34 am

    That’s a bad case indeed. I couldn’t happen to notice that he moved everything at once. I would recommend to test waters by moving part of the content first (step 5 in this infographic

  • Alan Dodd December 15, 2015, 6:49 am

    That is absolutely shocking.

    But is that Direct Nav or search engine traffic…I mean he’s completely changing the structure of his name. Did he lose some Direct Nav I wonder due to the radical choice of word, pain?

  • Joe December 15, 2015, 11:45 am

    I like your post.

    I see and read carefully what you write and the link, have a conclusion from what happened to Paul and usually happens in most of the online business around the world as the man who lost traffic, visits and money.

    I be subscribed with a variety of Seo that all think alike but some have their own method and this interests me.

    Also read eBooks from SEO and SEM professionals with Adwords, very important to them, certificate and delighted to have achieved what.

    They are more interested in having traffic and not sell or have little traffic and sell much without being SEO and SEM?

    It is more important to be in the top 10 of the search results page of Google organic or sell twice if you’re in number 1500000 in organic results of Google, an SEO not do this, and accustomed to commercial SEM could get it?

    User seeking US business and the rest buy sell first and second ROI is important but more impoortante is that taxes and not eat you click the ROI.

    These three steps is what a SEO do not get that never really your idea is optimized to be the top 10 this is what sold to many online business to start falling in Spain and all SEO years at current exchange charge in Euros in US dollar 21845.40 and never get to the third page of organic results and business traffic win anything because users worldwide only 90% see the first page of results and if not find what they want change keywords.

    For those who have no contact by email from here Merry Christmas with your family. Best year for all with happiness and prosperity in the climate change and peace against terror, we all need.

  • Joseph Peterson December 15, 2015, 7:39 pm

    Ouch! Truly a painful experiment for

    Glad to see the risks get coverage alongside the benefits. Still, that graph ends 9 months ago. Since that time, has any progress been made? Any hindsight 20/20 acknowledgments of the woulda coulda shoulda variety? Any tips for combating that initial plunge? Any lessons learned, or only a chilling sense of impotence?


Leave a Comment