On SEO and Soapmaking
The bane of an online soapmaker’s existence is getting traffic to the website. There are just a few ways to do this. For one, you can buy advertising and hope to break even on sales. Or, sell more to the same customers later, which is known as selling on the “backend.” You can write a lot of articles about soapmaking and hope that the almighty God-gle hears your plaintive moaning and eventually sends some traffic your way. Or you can lie, cheat, and trick your way into getting more traffic. Admittedly, we have tried variations on all three approaches at one time or another.
Lie, Cheat, and Trick
One technique from the “lie, cheat, trick” playbook is to buy a deceased domain name that still gets some traffic and redirect it to your site. By “deceased,” I mean that the owner has stopped paying for the domain and it has gone up for auction. At the time of writing, “warts.org” and “cockapoo4u.com,” for example, are both available on godaddy auctions, but the bidding is fierce on these ones! Also, instead of saying “deceased” most people say “expired.”
I’ve contemplated buying expired domains before, but it didn’t seem to make a lot of sense to hijack a bunch of people looking for pool cues or chihuahua sweaters and send them to a handmade soap site. I was just browsing casually a couple weeks ago, and to my delight and astonishment, I saw that handymansoaps.com was for sale, and all the signs said that it gets a bit of traffic. After all, we are handy, we are men, and we make soaps! What could possibly go wrong? My heart let out a little consumeristic cry, and I bought it.
Who were you, handy-man-soaps?
After consulting the wayback machine, I discovered handyman soaps are a family of liquid hand soap that come in little dispensers that look almost identical to Meyer’s brand hand soap. It appears that they come in four different flavors: brown, purple, yellow, and teal. Okay, a little further digging revealed that the scents are: “cut wood,” lavender, honeysuckle, and unscented, respectively. If you read our post on the benefits of organic soap, you should realize that “honeysuckle” is probably not an all-natural scent. Also, apparently, handy man soaps are somehow affiliated with Habitat for Humanity.
Murmurs of foul play
After less than a week of having handymansoaps.com redirect to Metaphor Organic, I got an email from a jilted store manager. Apparently handymansoaps.com took her money and failed to deliver the soap! This really sucks. I have experienced the other end of this. After mailing $300 of soap to a store a couple years ago, I discovered the address was just a mailbox, and the buyer ignored invoice after invoice.
Questions and Theories
Why did handymansoaps.com go out of business? Why did they take this lady’s money and not deliver the soap? Maybe it was a single entrepreneur masquerading as a company, and (s)he died. Maybe it was a duo of attractive Bay Area residents, and their girlfriends kicked them out, and now they are living in a van. Maybe all the soap is locked in their storage unit and they lost the key. Maybe it was an elaborate internet marketing plan with a heart of fraud, and there never was any soap.
A 301 redirect as an allegory for our times
I hate to admit it, but I wanted to do a little more digging to satisfy my handymansoap.com questions. I typed the url into the google chrome browser. And then it redirected to my site! It’s maddening. You try it again, and it does the same thing. It can’t be undone. Climate change is terrifying. Love one another. Buy some soap, maybe?