Ideas: the flashes of to-be-or-not-to-be brilliance.  They compel us to act (sometimes), to make industrious motions.  Years ago, engaging in business was a bit different.  It didn’t involve online parameters.  Now, it certainly does.  A large pool of businesspeople must ‘grandfather’ operations into the young, digital world.

As marketers, we often think about helping startups gain online traction.  But what about the ‘old heads,’ those who have been in the business game…before the explosion of the Web?  It’s likely they’ve turned down the volume on their ATRAC tapes to listen to the buzz centered on the Internet.

The Newark Nut Company was started in 1929, before the Matt Cutts and Danny Sullivans were a blip on the monitor.   The business went through peaks and valleys until taken up by the owner’s grandson in 2003.  Being a man of the digital generation, the latter wanted to move the nut company online.

However, a common issue (many in online marketing know about) is ironing out the wrinkles of taking a traditional brand online.  For one, the owners are rethinking the brand’s domain name, NutsOnline.com.  Should the owners hate themselves for making the decision?  I don’t think so.  It reflects what’s offered; but, none of the more-desirable names were available at the time; so, the brand went with that one.

A few mishaps have made Jeffrey Braverman reconsider the domain name.  For one, when the company supplied nuts to the Rachel Ray show, Rachel accidentally thanked “Nuts.com” rather than the proper appellation.   Braverman admits the faux pas is not Rachel’s alone.  “I would go out to a bar and meet people and when I’d leave they would say, ‘I can’t wait to check out your Web site.  What is it, Nuts.com?’  That happened a lot.”

So Braverman’s brand mistakenly had something in common with Nuts.com.  Naturally, the owner was curious about purchasing that domain name, a name he later came to speculate would cost a pretty penny (close to $1 million).  Braverman came to a crossroads.  He thought changing domain names might help.  Alternatively, he also heard stories of brands that did not make successful strides after changing domain names.

Did Braverman want to shell out the cash for his desired nuts name?  He pondered his action and inaction.  He also pondered the action of potential competitors.  “It’s fundamentally a better brand.  They [competition] would be able to nibble away.  Maybe in 10 years they could catch up with us.”  Last fall season, Braverman pulled the trigger, buying his coveted domain name from another source.

Though Braverman expresses he hired a consultant to oversee the switch and adhered to Google Webmaster Guidelines, the switch came with a decline in traffic.  Braverman says the decline in traffic costs him at least 100 to 150 orders per day.  The New York Times wants readers to send their thoughts to them.  I think Braverman may benefit from reading some information from our industry.