Will Toys ‘R’ Us Flub $5.1M Toys.com Purchase?

Domain is merely forwarding to ToysRUs.com.

Toys ‘R’ Us’ $5.1M purchase of Toys.com has been approved by the court. The domain has not been transferred according to whois, but the domain name is now forwarding to ToysRUs.com.

Big mistake.

Toys.com is extremely valuable for both its direct navigation traffic (people typing the domain name into their browser) as well as search rankings. For example, Toys.com is currently #4 in Google for the search term “toys”.

ToysRUs.com is ranked #1 for the same term. But you better believe that owning spots #1 and #4 is more valuable than just #1.

With Toys ‘R’ Us’ purchase of eToys, currently ranked #3, the company could lock up the top four spots save for WalMart.com at #3. Toys ‘R’ Us plans to keep eToys a separate site, which is smart.

But the company could lose Toys.com’s ranking for not only the toys term but many thousands of other terms by merely forwarding the domain to the company’s web site. That could help arch rival Amazon.com creep up the rankings.

Quick. Call a search engine optimization expert.


  1. says

    For 5.1m you’d think they would know the basics.

    They might have been smart in getting the name/s to protect there rankings/brands.

    I’d duplicate all toys/items they sell, and create a whole new website. mixed up a little bit though :)

    IF they ever send the traffic to a parked page sometime, they need to fire that person on the spot.

  2. Elliot says

    I suppose it is a quick fix in light of the dead page that existed previously. Perhaps it’s a temp solution pending launch of a new site (which would take some time).

  3. columbian says

    Office Depot has been doing that with the great domain OfficeSupplies.com for many years now….

    just redirecting it to OfficeDepot.com

  4. says

    With all of the buzz over the sale and price, Toys R Us has to do something with it. If they don’t have full possession of the domain name yet, they may not have access to the DNS to do what they want with it.

    I say forwarding it is better than nothing, and should just be a short-term action.


  5. says

    I am sure part of why Toys R Us bought this domain name is to ensure nobody else did.

    That is something that needs to be considered along with they type-in traffic itself along with search rankings.

    And who knows, they may not even have their strategy for the domain name as of yet – it will be interesting to look back about 6 months from now.


  6. jp says

    I don’t really see the problem with forwarding the traffic. Its like telling all the people that type in Toys.com, “Right this way folks, spend your money here”. I don’t think consumers are going to be put off by this and not buy a toy because they were taken to ToysRus.com. Everyone already knows and trusts ToysRus. The reason not to forward the traffic would be because ToysRus.com sucks, which it does not. I think they are just trying to bolster their brand, lock up more of the top search spots, and drive some more traffic. For the money it would cost to do so, what would be the cost benefit of building a seperate company on Toys.com?

    Just think, if they had not spent the $5.1M on the domain name, that would mean that all the traffic that it gets from position #4, and its Type-in traffic would go to a competitor. Thats a $5.1M you-know-what block, with benefits. Seems like a reasonable move to me if you had the money to spend. Much cheaper than advertising endlessly about how much better you are than the competition.

  7. says


    I’d like to see what valuation they put on the domain in their books, in the next quarterly filings. I think there’s another play going on here, thus they don’t care at all about the rankings and SEO.

    You make some excellent points about tying up 3 of the top 4 spots!

    – Richard

  8. says

    Actually, it IS worth $5.1 million to simply redirect Toys.com to the Toys R Us site and it is about time that Madison Avenue woke up that fact. With all the money these people have spent in traditional media this is a drop in the bucket for them.

    Other companies are already taking category killer names and redirecting them to their corporate sites. For example, Scotch.com redirects to JohnnyWalker.com and Rum.com redirects to CaptainMorgan.com.

  9. says

    Andrew, they get some things right.. But honestly… You can’t expect them to know all this stuff.

    They are dinosaurs when it comes to domains and seo for the most part.

    They will learn sooner than later but it won’t be with this domain.

    Would of been nice to have 3 out of the top 5 positions on lock but I am sure that won’t be the case by the end of this month.

  10. says

    ToysRUs.com ranks Number 1 in Google for the term Toys. Since they rank #1, the only thing missing is the Direct Navigation to Toys.com which now goes to ToysRUs.com .

    Pretty smart for now and maybe even for ever.

  11. Johnny says

    I think the biggest reason Toys R Us bought the name is to make sure competition can not use it. Toys are becoming commodities. People are shopping for toys at Walmart or even Walgreens. KG Toys and eToys are no more. Toys.com is the only thing that could have tempted competition to launch big-time toy retailer.

    So for Toys R Us it is now the question of the cost of maintaining the dog and pony show of making toys.com look like a separate site for search engine rankings vs just parking it on toysrus.com and losing these search engine rankings. I’d say keeping it separate would be well worth the cost, but I am guessing Toys R Us don’t want to think about it any more since their main goal was to make sure competition can not use the name.

  12. lda2 says

    To set up a separate permanent site for Toys.com is split their established brand into two entities. SE ranking may be a minor issue for ToysRUs.

  13. Eoin says

    Andrew, I can understand the case for creating a separate site on toys.com, but I don’t understand your point about redirecting.

    Even if a 301 redirect would be put in place, their search engine rankings would drop for toys.com, as Google would say “toys.com is redirecting to another site, so only rank the other site”.

  14. says

    Eoin – yes, I’m suggesting they should have kept a separate site at Toys.com instead of doing the redirect. I believe they did a 301 redirect; they could have kept the search rankings by using a separate site.

    Incidentally, they are keeping eToys.com as a separate site and it still has its search rankings.

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