Internet Basics: Domain Name Forwarding Is Like A Hall Of Mirrors
Ever been in a hall of mirrors at a circus or carnival? You go in, and you think you?re heading in one direction only to find out ? bonk! ? that was a mirror or glass, and suddenly you?re headed in a different direction all together.
That?s what domain name forwarding is like.
Say you?re on the Internet and you hear about a great new product and you can find out all about it at newproduct.com. So you type ?newproduct.com? into your browser.
Only you don?t end up at newproduct.com. Instead, you somehow end up at othersite.com. You?re not too concerned, because there on the page is the product you were looking for as well as some other products besides.
But how come you didn?t end up at newproduct.com? And if the people with the product wanted you to end up at othersite.com, why didn?t they put that domain name instead?
To answer the first question, you probably ended up at othersite.com instead of newproduct.com because of domain forwarding. If so, the people who set this up did the following:
ˇThey bought the domain name othersite.com and created a website there with all their products.
ˇThey bought the domain name newproduct.com and told people that?s where the new product info is.
ˇThey used domain forwarding so that whoever went to newproduct.com would get forwarded to othersite.com. They could use domain forwarding with other domain names as well, such as bigproduct.com, smallproduct.com, and tinyproduct.com. No matter which domain name you went to, you?d end up exactly where they wanted you, which was at othersite.com, where ALL their products are.
To answer the second question, the reasons they?d do this are:
ˇInstead of having different websites for each product, people often put all their products on one site, or at one domain name, but advertise the products individually using product-specific domain names. Why? (see below)
ˇIt?s more impressive to have a product-specific domain name (e.g., superbike.com) than just a generic domain name (e.g., bikestore.com). It?s also more likely you?ll remember the product-specific domain name.
Now, most of us would only be mildly confused to end up on othersite.com when we thought we were going to newproduct.com. In fact, a lot of us wouldn?t even notice we didn?t end up at the domain name we thought we were going to ? not unless we looked at the top of our browser to the URL address of the webpage we ended up on.
But where it can get confusing is this. The people with the domain name newproduct.com could use masked domain forwarding. With masked domain forwarding, you?d type in newproduct.com, you?d end up at othersite.com, but the fact you were forwarded would be masked. In other words, the URL address at the top of the browser would indicate you were indeed at newproduct.com, when in fact, you were at othersite.com.
And to make things even more confusing, no matter which page you went to on othersite.com (which is where you?d really be), the URL at the top of your browser would still read newproduct.com. Now that?s confusing!
Either way, masked or unmasked, domain forwarding simply spins the visitor around a bit, moving them this way when they thought they?d be going that way.
And that?s why domain name forwarding is like a hall of mirrors.
Copyright (c) Grant Pasay 2005. All rights reserved.
About the Author: Grant Pasay is a writer, musician, moviemaker, and author of the new eBook, "The Internet Is Like A Refrigerator: And Other Weird Comparisons That Make it Easy to Understand Everything From AOL to Zip Files." Check out Grant's free/brandable ebook at: http://grantpasay.com/refrigerator/
Check out Grant at: http://grantpasay.com/