Why did GlamourDog.com change the name to GlamourDogs?
I'm sure some of you are wondering, so after much thought, I would like to post the details here. First and foremost I would like to thank all of the individuals who have offered me advice, assistance, and encouragement to keep GlamourDog alive despite the tactics that were used against the company.
GlamourDog started in 2003, by 2004 we made a splash on the online dog boutique world and quickly catapulted to #1 rankings in google for extremely popular terms such as; Dog clothes, Dog Carriers and Small Dog Collars. Google accounted for about 90% of our traffic. From 2004-2010 GlamourDog.com maintained the #1 spot on Google for the most competitive term "Dog Clothes".
In November of 2010, one of our competitors, or more likely, a firm hired by one of our competitors to boost their google rankings targeted, GlamourDog, along with the #2, and #3 ranked sites (at the time) for the term "Dog Clothes". It is likely, and I like to believe that our competitor that hired this company probably was unaware they would use these tactics. This anonymous company posted our 3 sites together on over 1000 spam sites, in over 10,000 spam links, all directed to our home pages, and using the key word "dog clothes". An example page can be seen by typing the following into your address bar: http://antoniuskolleg.de/gallerie/displayimage.php?album=57&pos=16
To google, this behavior appears as if the owners of the linked sites are using deceptive marketing and link building strategies to artificially boost their rankings. Therefore google rightfully penalizes them, basically eliminates them from any competitive search term. So in our case, our #1 ranking for "Dog clothes” was immediately gone from the front page and down to somewhere on the 30th page where no one would ever see us. Our traffic dropped from averaging several thousand unique customers a day, to a couple hundred, mostly return traffic or word of mouth.
Unfortunately a lot of companies actually do engage in this type of practice, so it's a good thing that google penalizes them. Normally, Google requests that a website removes all the illegal "bad” links and then submits a reconsideration request. If these links were put there by the site owner, they should be easy to remove. In our case, we were not so lucky, the links were not put there by us, so we could not easily remove them. In these cases google requires us to make every effort to remove the link anyway., and document our efforts. These links are housed on foreign non English speaking websites, that are built anonymously for the sole purpose of distributing spam. Any attempt to contact the site owner or have any thing removed or edited is futile. Google does provide a tool to disavow such links, but you can not use it until after every effort has been made to remove every link which is a long and complicated process, usually requiring professional help.
The normal cost of removing these links and documenting your efforts is in both time and money. It is typical to expect 6+ months of work on nothing else and $10's of thousands, if not $100's of thousands of dollars to fight this. I had a tough decision to make. After a decade of building the name I could either re-brand, try to fight it, or close. At this point I had already been forced to let go of all of our employees, and not renew our warehouse lease, so, in the end it was just not cost effective to attempt to fix the broken domain. We elected to re-brand the site as GlamourDogs.com. GlamourDog is now in the process of rebuilding the site from the ground up.
We greatly appreciate all the wonderful customers, employees and friends of GlamourDog over the years who have made GlamourDog what it is today, you all know who you are! THANK YOU! On to the next adventure, GlamourDogs.com!
Casey and Cynthia Whitcher
Co-Founders - GlamourDog.com