The Great Site Migration (or Trying to Turn Lemons into MobileMoo)


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  1. Vinny O'Hare says:

    Very interesting read to say the least.

    I wonder how you came up with Mobilemoo though. I am not sure I would consider the name as a trust-able source. Especially since cows don’t use smartphones :)

    Seriously though, how much consideration did you take when thinking about moving the hacked site. I would think that I probably would have left it out, but that’s just me.

    I combined my 3 cellphone sites into one last year and it was a huge task. I kind of know what you went through. Wish I had this post before I started it would have been a nice checklist.

    Good luck with the site!

    • Rae Hoffman says:

      I was going for brandable and the name gave a nice theme to play off of. None of the sites being migrated into it had “brands” before we launched them either – we build them into brands. I’m sure “Engadget” didn’t scream trust on launch day either. Haha ;-)

      I took a lot of consideration when moving the hacked site… it was the one that was in Google News, so it needed to move with everything else. Even if the hacked site is causing an issue, it’s no where near a “non bounce backable” one. The only reason I’d remove the redirects as mentioned above would be to “test” if that is indeed the issue. If it is, then it’s one I want to fix vs. abandon. :)

  2. Melissa Shawn says:

    Rae thanks for sharing this … not taking a huge SEO hit on sites is a big concern for me when migrating.

    The fact that went from an existing PR3 to a PR0 is kind of surprising to me but it must be temporary. I’m interested to see what you do with it going forward.

    It was really helpful that you shared this. Thank you.

  3. Yah; this is helpful – one of my clients just bought two of his competitors, and while not aff sites, I’m going to have to fold two small ecommerce sites into his medium sized one. So there’s a lot to consider and you’ve outlined some of the same issues I will have.

    Not surprised the PR went down; was pretty sure I read on WMW or somewhere that they recalculate after a domain changes hands or some such.

    And I love the logo!

  4. This is super interesting, thank you for taking the time to document it all and share!

    I just googled “mobile moo” out of curiosity and was pretty surprised that you aren’t on the first page. I wonder if the PR0 issue is the reason?

    • Rae Hoffman says:

      The brand name is MobileMoo one word – so that might have something to do with it. When we initially launched PushFire, it took several weeks before we started appearing for the term “push fire” as two words – now it does and with site links. I think that has more to do with building up the term “MobileMoo” and “Mobile Moo” as a brand associated with our site than the pixel dust – as we rank for several competitive terms. :)

  5. Really interesting information, Rae, thanks for sharing.

    Knowing what you know now with what happened to the Blackberry platform and the iPhone (and I suppose Android), would you have either a) switched the domain closer to your peak traffic, or b) started the mobilemoo site near the peak with the idea of funneling your niche traffic into a broader topic to hedge yourself against a potential technology fail?

    • Rae Hoffman says:

      I would have started it as MobileMoo in the first place. :) Read: Always go with the ability to go broad.

      • But do you think you would have been as successful competing in a more crowded space by going broad? For instance if you had created separate BB, iPhone, Android sites would have been more successful then doing it all on a MobileMoo site? My feeling is it’s easier to carve out your niche, get your tribe, then introduce them to new things.

        • Rae Hoffman says:

          Looking back, I would have created BB specific content, yes, to carve into the niche, but I’d have done it on a domain/brand that would have allowed for later expansion.

  6. “There’s unfortunately no way to change a Facebook fan page name, so we simply had to make announcements for folks to like the new page and inform them we’d be closing the old fan pages down within 30 days.”

    You can rename a page / change its url, but you can only do it once.

    • Rae Hoffman says:

      Good lord… I SWEAR I looked for a way to change the URL and FB page name… and didn’t find one. Going back to verify that, it smacks me in the face? [headdesk] Now the question is, if I delete the mobilemoo page will the handle be available to change the FB url to ala Twitter – and it appears after doing so, the answer is yes. However, when attempting to change the page name, I’m getting an error that “MobileMoo” violates their guidelines. Great. [headdesk] No variation I enter works.

      ” B. Name Changes and Migrations
      We will only process name changes and migrations that do not result in a misleading or unintended connection. For example, we will allow local to global migrations, such as “Facebook France” to “Facebook”, but will not allow global to local migrations, or location to location migrations, such as “Facebook France” to “Facebook Russia”. Additionally, you may not request a name change or migration that would result in re-categorizing a product Page to a brand Page, a generic or opinion Page to a brand Page, or a Group to a Page. All migrations are at our discretion and are final.”

      So, now, the BBGeeks page has the /mobilemoo url, but not the MobileMoo name and there’s no changing it back, because, as you mentioned, you can only change the URL once. So, I stand by not being able to change it – I can change the URL, but I can’t rebrand it with the correct name/brand. Maybe I did realize I couldn’t change the name before – who knows! LOL. Off to change the links to MM’s FB page on the site to it’s now new URL /mobilemoocom – my test is another person’s lesson! :)

      • Rae,

        There should be a link to request a name change here:

        [Link redacted as it was dead]

        However, it looks like your page is actually a community page so you wouldn’t be able to change this. Community pages have different rules as they aren’t considered brand pages. Your best bet would be to reach out to FB, and have them change it for you and remove the community page tag.

  7. Hi Rae,

    Thanks for the detailed experience. It was ironic timing as I’m contemplating doing something similar with 2 of my sites.

    I’ve been hesitant because of how Google has been handling (or poorly handling) site migrations these days (ie’s story).

    How is your organic traffic currently doing? I see that you’re back in the top 5 for ‘free blackberry games’ but not on the front page for ‘blackberry games’.



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