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Is Your Campaign Domain Searchable?

At we tend to deal with a lot of other companies’ customer service issues. For example, last week I spent 10 minutes on the phone explaining to someone that I couldn’t help him fix his Prima TV because I didn’t work for Prima or have any relationship with them. Turns out that the local Wal-Mart had told him to contact Prima and he had simply Googled them and ended up on our website. For a lot of
Internet users, search is not only the best way to find things on the web, it’s the only way; to the point where many users don’t use the address bar to type in a domain, they simply Google the entire domain.

Normally, this sort of behaviour isn’t too much of a problem; however there are cases where this can cause trouble, such as with unique campaign URLs. We recently saw this with a rewards campaign that Rogers ran for its wireless customers. To reward long time customers, Rogers ran a direct mail campaign offering a free music CD. All you had to do to claim your CD was go to and enter a unique code.

The only problem was if you went to and typed in "", a thread from the forums came up first and no Rogers page whatsoever was listed.

The first mailouts started arriving at customers’ doors on July 17 and within the first three days we had over a thousand visitors arrive at looking for their free CD. We first clued in when we started getting emails from frustrated visitors asking how to get their
free gift. Through the end of August we’ve had over 5000 visitors and dozens of customer support emails as a result of the Rogers campaign. It took over two weeks for Google to index the URL.


The reason this happened is because the page was simply a redirect and since there were no links on the Rogers webpage to the gift page, it took an extremely long time for Google to find the URL. While we did our best to point those who contacted us in the right direction, only a small percentage of the visitors bothered to email us and a great many more probably just gave up.

What could Rogers have done differently? They could have either pre-seeded the URL or used a directory rewrite so that the gift page actually resided at Neither solution is technically difficult and implementing one of them would have saved their customers
a lot of headaches.


  1. Nima
    Nima September 5, 2007

    Great post Ryan,
    We have seen similar things happening to small and large companies. Running a PPC search campaign in conjunction with print, tv and radio ads could improve the respnose rates.

  2. Rob Cottingham
    Rob Cottingham September 5, 2007

    Great advice, Ryan. And one implication of people using Google as their point of entry into your web site. Chances are very good they won’t be landing on your home page.
    It’s worth asking: How easy does your site’s information architecture make it to find stuff if your visitor lands on an inside page?

  3. Rob Cottingham
    Rob Cottingham September 5, 2007

    (Small brain fart while writing that first para. It should have read, “And one implication of people using Google as their point of entry into your web site is that chances are very good they won’t be landing on your home page.”)

  4. maria
    maria September 5, 2007

    Hi, I have tried every way to find rogers gift page but keep getting redirected to your site, I will e-mail rogers as well to let them know what a pain in the Ass this is for you and their customers, I’m hoping you can help redirect me to the correct site, sorry to trouble you. Thank you Maria

  5. Rosemary
    Rosemary September 5, 2007

    Hi Maria – just click on instead of Googling it and you’ll be good to go.
    Ryan – Maria’s the only one who’s left a comment, but One Degree’s received three other confused customer emails about this already. Curse you, Rogers!!

  6. Ryan
    Ryan September 6, 2007

    Rosemary – Yep, we get that a lot. 🙂

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