The FUTURE Will be in Sub-Domains and I have PROOF! R.I.P. iReport.com

Morning Folks!!


No, I am not blogging again. But as I said, I would chime in from time to time when I discovered something or had something to say etc.


A few weeks ago I discovered something very powerful and done by a company that was here before most knew what the Internet even was. I heard CNN.com long before I actually made it online.


One of my proudest sales was iReport.com to CNN. But guess what?? They no longer use that domain. Here is the iReport Link. See where it goes? Follow the leader and you will find the answers and no question CNN has been one of the earliest. If not the earliest.


Now this is not definitive. But I would like to ask them why they did this and what they have discovered along the way? If I were a betting man, I would bet that Sub-Domains are the future because you can focus on your brand and also have folks easily find what they want via a very easy system.


Now this is not some conclusion I just jumped to. I have believed this for over 15 years. But today, I have confirmation by an organization that has been a leader for a very long time. What does this really mean?


It is my very strong opinion that after companies investigate .whatever and all the confusion, expense, uncertainty and pitfalls associated with it, they will understand the power they already have with their sub-domains. I believe that .whatever got them thinking. But the longer they thought, the worse it looked. The more expensive it looked. The more overhead it would add. The more uncertainty. And more splintering of their traffic and brand. They would see what I see.


So I think http://iReport.cnn.com is so much easier and less confusing because folks already understand that navigation system. More powerful and universal than http://iReport.CNN. But maybe not. 6 of one, half dozen of another. The '.com' has a certain flow to it. But they will be a bell-weather either way.


They shelved a $750,000 domain for a reason. It may be what I said or maybe I got it 180 degrees backwards if they get .CNN and build on that. But either way, I have a definite answer and if wrong I know exactly why and how to adjust to the right one. Much better than being lost in a forest with no direction or no clues. I think CNN will be a leader in either direction and they will be who I look to for some of the answers to come. Whichever way it does go, the world will be about sub-domains either right of the dot or left of the dot.


Have a GREAT Day!

Rick Schwartz

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46 thoughts on “The FUTURE Will be in Sub-Domains and I have PROOF! R.I.P. iReport.com

  1. Scott

    So happy to see your name pop up on Domaining, Rick. I was just thinking today how much I missed your musings. Anyway, I agree. Sub-domains are a great way to go and provide limitless possibilities on a single domain.

    Reply
  2. @Domains

    Personally I hate typing in subdomains, they make my skin crawl. People have trouble enough typing in a single domain name, to have to add another word and period, I don’t know. Subdomains have been around for a long time and do serve some purpose, I guess they work well for large websites with lots of different sections.

    Reply
  3. Gnanes

    They still need to own the .com version of the sub-domain or they’ll lose traffic.
    Type in your last paragraph: forrest (forest)

    Reply
  4. Acro

    It’s not uncommon to utilize the product (iReport) in accordance with the brand (CNN).
    Regardless, it’s awesome seeing a post from you, Rick. Happy New Year! :D

    Reply
  5. Rob

    Now into 2012 yet people still swooning over Rick writing a blog entry, like a 12 year old girl at a Bieber concert, get a grip guys.
    Can’t stand sub domains , seems a bit of a waste of $750k if you ask me.

    Reply
  6. rob sequin

    It is now human nature to end URLs with .com so makes sense to build on subdomains in a .com domain rather than something other than .com

    Reply
  7. theo

    The thing is here as mentioned above by DomainFuze that ireport.com redirects to ireport.cnn.com.
    This is something you might want todo for yourself, ie link a domain name to a subdomain (with content).
    I recently been fiddling with this after a fellow domainer pointed it out to me, that doing such works wonders in Google.
    Now due to Ricks post i am more certain that this fellow domainer was right.

    Reply
  8. EmergingDomains

    @ Rick said,”They shelved a $750,000 domain for a reason.”
    CNN didn’t shelve it.
    ireport.cnn.com is a clever reinforcement of the CNN brand which still utilizes the domain you sold, iReport.com, well.
    Therefore, subdomains may be the future, and the brand dot com will still supply an avenue to access the product. The ideal would be to register the dot com either way.
    Thanx for highlighting this.
    P.S. CNN got it right by registering their brand in the dot tv extension.

    Reply
  9. Clobert Rhine

    I agree with EmergingDomains.
    I see why CNN is doing it because surfers can have their cake and eat it too.
    What I mean is you can surf to the site however you want. I still use Whois.sc over Domaintools.com. It’s just shorter.
    What CNN is doing is reinforcing their brand by directing surfers to ireport.cnn.com, but still allowing access via iReport.com. It’s a perfect branding scenario and wide-net traffic capture for CNN .

    Reply
  10. SL

    Next time you should read the comment header (“DomainFuze! said in reply to Uzoma…”) before posting snarky i’m-smarter-than-you type comments. Otherwise it usually backfires.

    Reply
  11. @Domains

    Couple things to think about, do subdomains pass the radio test? Are they easily remembered from a print or billboard ad? I still agree they have their use (search engines, online linking). All the people and businesses out there that aren’t online yet will still need one domain to start with. Perhaps we WILL see more companies buying the .com domain of each of their brands, and forwarding them to subdomains on a main site. Everyone does it differently.

    Reply
  12. Ian

    “Gnanes said… They still need to own the .com version of the sub-domain or they’ll lose traffic.”
    Errr.. No actually. It would be cheaper just to lose the traffic because anyone looking for ireport in the context of news would search on google (or on the main website) and anyone owning ireport.com if they tried to”pass off” with confusing information or tried to gain money via ads could be kicked into touch by their legal team.
    I’ve been saying all this for ages. If you have a strong brand and there is no specific need to create a new brand then why do it? All the costs associated with a different brand are quite high. If you were tapping into a different consumer segment to differentiate on price, quality etc then so be it. There needs to be a specific cost/benefit reason to start a new brand.
    “ireport” is a classic CROSS SELL scenario rather than NEW BRAND SELL.

    Reply
  13. Jeff Schneider

    Hello Rick,
    I knew you would be back sooner or later, welcome back! We actually think the jury is still out on your assumption here.
    The good news is that keyboards will take 7 to 11 years to disappear from human habit patterns. So you rotate from generation to generation a rolling 7 to 11 years and we will all be in our graves when Voice Recognition finally becomes dominant. Great news for .com distribution channel owners.
    Gratefully, Jeff Schneider (Contact Group) (Metal Tiger)

    Reply
  14. Donny

    Now we have siri test? cnn confuses the word c and see. Or ireport goes to eye report? This brings in a new wave of not mistypes but misspeaks for traffic. Maybe this is looking to far ahead but this could be a problem if companies use names that have two meanings when associated with voice search. Maybe the voice search could adapt or figure this out. Either way this is very interesting.

    Reply
  15. nr

    this has been going on for years. just like Yahoo was running their OMG site at omg.yahoo.com and then paid 6 figures to buy the domain omg.com and they redirect it to their subdomain omg.yahoo.com.

    Reply
  16. Mason Fok

    If I were a betting man I would say CNN is working a strategy something along the lines of this:
    Change iReport/com to iReport/cnn/com
    Promote iReport/cnn/com
    If/When /cnn takes off they can just drop the /com
    Changing to iReport/cnn
    Then promote that CNN has dropped the .com
    This would make the transition smooth as well as having all domains operational along the way.
    They may create a typo or two along the way but for the most part it would be controlled.
    They are also not committed to the .cnn either, yet if traction does occur they are not behind in the game.
    I would like to reinforce the .com/.net/.org’s are going nowhere, they are calls to action in peoples memory and it has taken years to educate the people to type them after words and to identify them as addresses amongst other text.

    Reply
  17. Todd Bernhard

    Disney/ABC has been doing this forever. disneyland.com -> disneyland.disney.go.com etc. Hardly means ‘disneyland.com’ is not what they would promote. There are a lot of reasons to redirect, from a technical and branding purpose. Kinda silly to draw conclusion like the .com isn’t the future.”They no longer use that domain.”

    Reply
  18. Jesus

    are you joking? just becouse cnn redirects a domain to a subdomain it is the future? Did you hear about branding?

    Reply
  19. Rick Schwartz

    The point of this post was to try and be inside the meeting of when and WHY they made this decision. There was a reason or a number of reasons. Search may be one, but it is that, one. There were many more. Maybe they had separate staffs. More overhead. More problems integrating. Maybe it was not working as well as they wanted. Maybe there was a delay in getting that news to the newsroom. There had to be several meetings and discussions and the point is to try and get into that and what actually happened. I can guarantee it is not as simple as what some have described. Usually moves like this are dollar related. Overhead related. Staff related. Problem related. CNN viewership is in decline. All I know is when a decision like this is made, it is worth paying attention to. It is worth watching.
    I liken business to water running down hill. My job is not to decide what path the water takes or to even want water to go down this path or the next. My job is to follow that water to see where it ends up. Monitor it, not try and change it. Understand why it took a certain path.

    Reply
  20. OuMun

    Huh, it seems they will open a new gold rush era for typosuatters… guess ireportcnn.com

    Reply
  21. Steve Cheatham

    If they are going to brand ireport as a separate entity they should maintain it.
    On the sub domain they should talk about ireport and display the rss feed.
    KISS

    Reply
  22. Jeff Schneider

    Hello Rick,
    The future will be Google TV and not Apple TV ! Google will eat apples lunch in TV Just as they have already done with Android platform Smartphones, their World market share is 46% Vs Apple 20%.
    Gratefully, Jeff Schneider Contact Group) (Metal Tiger)

    Reply
  23. Johnnie

    This is why you don’t take SEO advice from domainers. If you posted something like that in an SEO forum, you would be run out of it.

    Reply
  24. RAYY

    CNN.com has 2 main subdomains ie
    Edition.CNN.com ( which covers main section for video, world, US, Africa, Asia, Europe etc…)
    iReport.CNN.com ( which covers ireport section )
    When you type CNN.com, it redirects you to Edition.CNN.com
    So, it makes sense to redirect iReport.com to iReport.CNN.com
    It shows that here is a consistency in website navigation for CNN.com

    Reply
  25. John Lyotier

    I guess it is stating the obvious to say that we agree that there is a great future in sub-domains. The power of a great generic (or brand as is the case with CNN.com) is that sub-domains pass authority and trust down to those who look at the URL. I’m not talking about SEO value here, I’m talking about click inclination if seen by an end user and sharing the credibility that is intrinsically bestowed on the generic name.

    Reply
  26. ScottM

    Makes great sense from a branding perspective, listing the A-record/sub-domain first, especially to accentuate and differentiate a sub-brand from a generic domain.
    Nowadays you don’t have to type in the whole http://www…… into the address bar, so it’s just adding an extra word. One example might be if Candy.com wanted to offer a joint promotion or redirect on Milky Way bars. MilkyWay.candy.com would possibly prevent some, but obviously not all, traffic from going to MilkyWay.com which is not the Milky Way candy bar company. It’s also another way to devalue the domain you don’t own or can’t get cheaply as a strategy to make the other party release it cheaper or sooner.

    Reply
  27. Dave Wrixon

    I think we need to bear in mind that half the things big companies do are the consequence of some clueless hotshot trying to make a name for himself. I hardly see this as big news one way or the other.

    Reply
  28. John

    I would start by doing some serious research on various sites like LinkedIn seeing who has been hired over the past few years or promoted into the department that came up with this decision. At the end of the day the .com is going to stand the test of time and will always be an easier brand to advertise and remember.
    Welcome Back & Happy New Year Rick.
    Keep the posts coming even if it is only once a month or every other month.
    The industry needs you posting from time to time!!

    Reply
  29. mike

    huh? i highly doubt that. then domains would name be needed anymore as anyone with an existing domain can create whatever sub-domain they choose.
    dot com is king and that is all there is to it.

    Reply
  30. Paul

    Sub-Domains will always be a great way to have focused areas of content to support a brand. From an seo perspective, it makes more sense to have all of your content within the confines of one domain.
    After all the time CNN has used to build up link equity, why would they want to spend any resources on branding a new extension? Think of all those links they’ve earned over the years that would be wasted.
    For new companies getting started today a dot whatever might make sense since they could always use that in their marketing efforts. But for any established brand, the dot com is and always will be the KING!

    Reply
  31. Jeff Schneider

    Hello Rick,
    After serious consideration we think the dot.Anything currently being touted will be D.O.A. Too many .Com Distribution Channel Owners will mount a Push Back! Attorneys are hoping it is adopted because of the massive law suits it will spawn. Here we go AGAIN !
    Gratefully, Jeff Schneider (Contact Group) (Metal Tiger)

    Reply
  32. hqdn

    why would you say that? Google ‘site:ireport.com’ and you will see that this domain has tons of pages indexed – which all now redirect to ireport.cnn.com – and if you simply google ‘cnn’ it looks like they’ve tied all their subdomains together with google’s webmaster tools.

    Reply
  33. Altaf

    Hi Rick,
    Nice to see you again with some good feedback. We always wait for your views as you shown us the path to follow.
    Gratefully,
    Altaf

    Reply

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