Radiohead In Rainbow Changing the Music Industry But With Poor Online Execution

I love seeing people using the Internet to change entire industries. Radiohead is geared up to do so by releasing their latest album, In Rainbow, as a download for as little or as much as the fan wants to pay. They are taking a gamble that people won’t download it for free, or they figure those people will find a way to get it for free anyway.

I love the idea and hope the best for Radiohead as this will make a big impact in the music industry, but was a little disappointed after I visited the site. From a search engine and usability standpoint, Radiohead made some major mistakes that might come back to haunt them. Let me list out some of the mistakes and explain the possible implications.

Radiohead In Rainbow Site mistakes:

  • 302 redirected their existing site homepage (radiohead.com) to new site: www.inrainbows.com, but…
  • www.inrainbows.com 302 redirects to www.inrainbows.com/Store/Quickindex.html
  • The more logical site domain, inrainbow.com (no “s”, which matches the album title) wasn’t registered, purchased or used. Instead a domain parker will receive lots of traffic.
  • Title tag for In Rainbow site mainpage is “Radiohead”
  • Site mainpage only has images with no search engine readable text
  • 2nd page only has images no search engine readable text and same title tag
  • 3rd page only has images no search engine readable text and same title tag
  • Home links go to the 3rd page
  • Shopping cart very awkward & buggy (keeps losing track of my order)
  • Grammar mistakes confusing
  • Amounts only shown in British Pounds
  • Question mark help icon doesn’t provide any help or explanation
  • There is actually a 1 GBP minimum, that’s $2.04 more than free
  • There is actually a 99 GBP limit. Want to be an extreme fan and buy it for $1,000? Too bad.

Radiohead In Rainbow Site Mistake Implications:

  • With the 302 mistakes, not only are they begging for a search spammer to hijack their site traffic, but they are linking to a page that they will probably change URLs over time.
  • With all the search engine & readability mistakes, they will essentially allow standard retailers and online stores to steal away their direct payment opportunities by allowing them to rank higher for their own album and even site.
  • The usability issues will also turn people back to iTunes or other dealers.
  • Their main site may suffer rank decreases and traffic losses for a long time.
  • The download for free concept won’t be given an honest shot, which may deter other artists like Dave Matthews, Pearl Jam, REM, Metallica and other likely candidates from trying a similar experiment.
  • Regardless of the mistakes I list, this will be an effort worth watching for those in the music industry, movie industry or any other industry where self-distribution online could be a big opportunity.

Facebppl Experiment

As more and more people start using Macs, I forsee an increasing # of people accidentally typing in things incorrectly due to the keyboard differences. To track this, I’m going to use Facebppl as a source of data on commonly misstyped terms. Facebppl is the keyboard shifted over one letter for the right hand equivelant of Facebook. I noticed the .com domain is already registered which is a sign that this may be a somewhat common mistake.

Besides facebppl, a couple other common, but strange ones might be: g,ao; or gpp;e or fppf;w or even uajpp.

I appreciate your patience in reading this weird post. I’ll report back on the stats later.

Speaking at DomainRoundTable

For those attending the DomainRoundTable conference in Seattle, be sure introduce yourself (throw your name in the comments and I’ll keep an eye out for you). I’ll be speaking in the SEO sessions. I’m excited to attend because I think domainers & SEOs could gain & learn a lot from each other.

The combination of a domainer’s assets with the skills of an SEO could be very lucrative for both parties. Why settle for $1,000 of ad revenue a month in direct type-in traffic, when you could build an SEO-friendly content site that will eventually pull in $1,000,000 a month?

Jay has been listing many of the very interesting domains that will be auctioned off on the domaintools blog.