IR Strategy and Innovation

Google de-indexes after Toys R Us acquisition

After spending over $5m acquiring the domain name, Toys R Us has seen the site getting de-indexed by Google because it forwarded the domain rather than transferred it

“When Toys R Us paid more than $5 million this month to buy, perhaps they should have set aside a few more dollars for search engine optimization (SEO) counsel,” says StorefrontBacktalk. “This after the popular domain was de-indexed by Google because Toys R Us chose to forward the domain, rather than transfer it. Oops!”

Domain Name Wire first spotted the potential problem a couple of weeks ago:

The domain has not been transferred according to whois, but the domain name is now forwarding to

Big mistake. is extremely valuable for both its direct navigation traffic (people typing the domain name into their browser) as well as search rankings. For example, is currently #4 in Google for the search term “toys”. 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 at #3. Toys ‘R’ Us plans to keep eToys a separate site, which is smart.

But the company could lose’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.

“Now the value of Toys ‘R’ Us’ $5.1M purchase of has been relegated to type-in traffic and potentially some of the inbound links to,” it explains in a second article:

It also appears the toy company could use some help managing its domain names. For example, it owns the typo (no ‘s’ on end of “toys”), but it doesn’t resolve or forward to the company’s web site According to, this simple typo gets over 60,000 unique visitors per month.