Netscape.com Social Media Becomes Propeller.com

September 14, 2007

Topics: Search Marketing.

And what a stupid move.

The shift for Netscape.com from an information portal to a social media site? Infinitely logical, great way to build on old traffic and renew the site for the “Web 2.0” audience.

Building the site, making it somewhat popular, then shifting it off to an unknown domain? Not so clearly logical.

Re-branding is a common enough thing to do. Companies frequently engage in that kind of activity when their brand is suffering — either the product the sell is no longer popular, or their service isn’t really desirable, etc. Rebranding sometimes means a change in name, but more often means a refocusing of priorities. This is what Netscape did, very aggressively, when the created the Netscape.com social media portal.

Now, of course, they are shifting right back to where they were before – Netscape.com will become and editorially driven portal (sounds very familiar) which will be redirected to AOL. Yes, the Netscape.com domain will be effectively gone: netscape.aol.com just doesn’t have the same ring to it.

And might I also say that it seems incredibly foolish to announce a major change like this but not actually place any kind of information at the new Propeller.com location. Are they actively trying to avoid getting links?

It’s possible that they’re just overloaded at the moment…I guess…although this strikes me as unlikely. However, what I see when I visit Propeller.com right now is a big fat error message: server can’t be found.

I can understand not wanting to confuse the issue by launching early — but come on, people. At LEAST provide a “Coming Soon” notice.

How does AOL stay in business? Seriously.

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