Once again, we return to the old question: What do you do with specialty domains that are no longer in use?
Today we’ll look at several from Ford to see how they exist today.
We’ll start with this ad that I actually only recently found (like, within the last few weeks recent):
I only recently discovered this because I was looking through my Honda clippings that started this whole project and happened to glance at this ad and noticed the URL at the bottom of the text:
How many other interesting URLs are nestled in those Honda clippings? I don’t know but I may take the time at some point to go through them all again.
Anyway, getting back to Ford, they apparently advertised QualityCareService.com back in the day to help you keep your Ford, Lincoln or Mercury on the road. And what has happened to QualityCareService.com more than two decades later?
This is good! This is excellent web management.
(I would make some joke about how the picture looks like Denzel Washington telling Keanu Reeves how much it will cost to fix his Ford, but that would just be stupid and irrelevant to our conversation today.)
Let’s fast forward 10 years to an ad from a January 2008 magazine:
This ad is for Ford’s SYNC in-car entertainment system. I’ve never used SYNC so I can’t speak to its usefulness (though now, most carmakers are going with Apple CarPlay or Android Auto so these proprietary systems may some day be extinct anyway).
In the tiny text in the top left of the ad is this reference to SYNCMyRide.com:
I guess that’s a play on the phrase Pimp My Ride, a show I am proud to say I’ve never actually seen.
These days, SYNCMyRide.com takes us here:
Again, this is really good online management. The old SYNCMyRide.com now redirects to https://owner.ford.com/support/sync-3-update-features.html, which currently promotes SYNC 3, Ford’s latest version of the software.
Kudos to Ford for constantly upgrading and updating their infotainment systems and websites.
(Spoiler Alert: This last ad isn’t going to end with happy news.)
Now, normally, Ford is really good at maintaining old URLs. Frankly, they seem to be better than most (I haven’t done an exhaustive survey, but my gut tells me Ford would rank pretty high).
That’s why this ad from February 2003 is so interesting:
There’s actually a lot to dissect in this ad for our purposes here. First off, 2003 was an important year because it marked the 100-year anniversary of the establishment of the Ford Motor Company. I get it – that’s a major milestone and definitely one worth celebrating.
To commemorate a century of the Ford Motor Company, ads like the one above asked proud Ford owners to submit information about their old Fords for inclusion in the company’s big party.
Of course, in 2003, Ford also owned (or partially owned) other brands like Jaguar, Land Rover and Mazda, so those are included in the mix.
If you wanted more information about the big party on the week of June 12, 2003, there are actually three different websites mentioned in this ad. The one at the bottom (and the one we really don’t care about today) is simply www.Ford.com. That’s the company’s current site and has been active for a long time, so we’ll skip that.
However, in the middle of the text we have this URL:
Frankly, I didn’t even notice this reference until today while reviewing the ad. That’s because my primary focus (no pun intended) was on this other URL a little further down the page:
Okay, so we now have two different URLs in the same ad, not to mention the main Ford.com reference. If there was some logic behind sending readers in three different directions, it’s not readily apparent in the ad.
Again, note that this is a recent screngrab since I only realized the www.CelebrateFord100.com URL in the last couple of weeks. But that doesn’t matter because the site is obviously dead. Not good, Ford.
What about the other URL, www.CelebrateFord.com?
Yeah. Same result. It looks different because this screengrab was taken months ago, but it’s basically another dead page.
What’s worse is that Ford let the registrations for both sites expire. So either can now be bought just like any other crappy domain out there. Seriously, if there is some Ford fanboy out there, you could own a piece of Ford’s digital history for just a few dozen dollars a year.
I’m ripping a bit on Ford here, but not because I think they’re bad. Quite the opposite. Ford has consistently been really good with its digital strategy, so it’s disappointing to see two failures in one ad.