By Kyle Austin
March 30th, 2009
In an effort to further integrate two of its flagship media outlets, the New York Times Co. made the move Sunday to launch the new “Global Edition” online and in print, which absorbs the International Herald Tribune within the New York Times – as its global paper.
The online Global Edition, which combines the international reporting of the two Times Co. publications, “will provide readers with a 24/7 flow of geopolitical, business, sports and fashion coverage from a distinctly global perspective through the Website, mobile devices and online newsletters,” notes the new Website.
The print edition of the IHT “was also redesigned too look like The New York Times in all but its masthead logo,” reports PaidContent.
However, as Gawker notes, the Times “appears” to have made a massive error as part of the integration, in its effort to move its existing content from the IHT.com to the new Times’ Website:
“But the Times executed wrong. Instead of redirecting old iht.com links to the same stories on the new nytimes.com server, it simply redirected all content to the same new landing page. When you click through the landing page, you end up not on the story you were looking for, but on the general global.nytimes.com homepage.
So instead of having 993,000 IHT hits in Google, as the search engine now estimates, the Times will soon have just one. For example, a search on the word “paris” within iht.com brings up 588,000 hits; they all appear to end up on the same general homepage, and thus will be collapsed together by Google.”
While it appears to be a huge blunder, I have to believe that the Times’ brass strategically weighed the amount of time and resources (i.e. need to higher outside SEO / tech help) it would take to transfer the individualized content and links to the new Website, versus its desire to send the 2.3 million UV’s from IHT.com, along with additional Google traffic, to the generic landing page – which promotes the new Global Edition and alerts readers.
Even when we made the move to our new blog from our old destination, the decision to transfer existing content and links to the new site was weighed. So the idea that the Times completely overlooked the need to put in a 301 status code to divert to new links seems a bit far-fetched. As Stephen Dunbar-Johnson, Publisher of International Herald Tribune, acknowledges in his note to readers, the Times Co. wants everyone to know that it is a GLOBAL media enterprise, and is marketing this move to illustrate that (read: We’re going to continue to compete hard with the Wall Street Journal on global content) :
“This deepening integration improves the IHT’s competitive position, supports The Times’ award-winning international report and strengthens The New York Times Media Group as a global media enterprise.”
Still as Patrick at Blogstorm echoes Gawker, the weighed decision to kill all recurring traffic that occurs through existing (i.e. long-tail) content / links seems like a big risk for a company that has been complaining to Google about how its content is optimized within searches.