4 a Dodge

No, I’m not trying to be cute with that headline. There’s a reason for it that makes my eyes roll really loudly.

Let’s start with the ad in today’s post. This was actually a nifty little three-page spread. As a reader, you first encountered this page:

Page 1 of a Dodge ad from February 1998

Then when you opened this special page (it was a bit of an insert, actually), you saw this two-page spread:

Pages 2 and 3 of a Dodge ad from February 1998

Okay, yes, the 1998 Dodge Caravan had lots of features. So did everyone else.

What we care about is embedded in the tiny text way over in the lower right-hand corner of the ad:

You see that URL? So prominently displayed in red font?


Apparently Dodge.com was not available back then. (For the record, Dodge.com is now the site you go to for Dodge cars.)

I don’t pretend to know the full history of Dodge’s digital strategy. According to an article I found online, Dodge.com was owned by a financial services company back in the day, and that’s why the carmaker went with 4adodge.com.

But you should know that 4adodge.com was in SO MANY ADS from around 1998 into 2005. I mean, seriously. It was everywhere.

This wasn’t some cutesy little one-off for the Caravan ad above. No, nearly EVERY DODGE AD MENTIONED 4adodge.com.

These days, 4adodge.com gives us this:

No, that’s not good. That’s my Internet provider’s default page that it brings up whenever it can’t serve an actual site.

To make matters worse, whois.com shows that Fiat Chrysler Automobiles still owns 4adodge.com.

Seriously? Am I missing something here? Why not redirect 4adodge.com to Dodge.com? It’s not that hard. Is there seriously some logical explanation for why Chrysler (and others) fail to maintain their old domains, even though they still own them?

I’m no novice to site preservation so I don’t think I’m wrong on this. Either there’s some logical reason that I’m simply missing, or Chrysler is failing miserably at maintaining its digital presence.

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