A Cautionary tale of a little knowledge and Nike Airs
If you have clicked on one of the many thousands of links to get discounted Nike Airs then you are probably feeling a little disappointed right now. Because, as you can see, I don't sell Nike Airs (never have, never will) and instead help female entrepreneurs get more visible, more clients and more money.
So how have you taken such a wrong turn to end up here and without your trainers? Because of a bad business decision (on my behalf) and for you, a blessing in disguise.
Brand By Katie
Brand by Katie was the original name for my business back in 2021. It pretty much summed up what I offered: brand design and strategy and my name is Katie ( it was a "does what it says on the tin" kind of moment).
There were many reasons why I decided to change my business name (which I will not go into just now), but as someone who knows a bit about tech I decided to put a forward on the domain, from Brand by Katie to this website.
When a little bit of knowledge is a dangerous thing...
If you talk to anyone who knows me, they will attest that my slight knowledge of tech can, and will, only cause trouble.
And true to form that's exactly what happened.
Because someone else bought the Brand by Katie domain, without removing the forward.
It wasn't until a few months later that I realised my error, when I suddenly got a notification that I had created a 1000 backlinks (those long URLs taking you back to a website). Which was a little odd considering I hadn't created any backlinks in a while.
After a bit of digging I realised what had happened: as the forward was still on, all the backlinks to Brand by Katie (which was now selling discounted Nike Airs) was attached to me (hello all those backlink clickers!)
Funnily enough, discounted trainers is not in my business remit (nor will it ever be). So I started the long process to try and sever the ties between me and the new "Nike outlet".
My first task: contact the owners of the new website to ask them to sever the forward between the websites. Unsurprisingly I didn't get a response.
Next was to disavow all the backlinks to show Google I wasn't associated with them. This is pretty techy and not something I would suggest you do if you don't know what you're doing (I shouldn't considering the mess I was in already but needs must!) Disavowing basically is listing alllllllllll of the backlinks and telling Google to ignore them.
Until another1000 backlinks were connected.
Then another 1000.
As it stands there are 12,000 backlinks to the Brand By Katie website, and all of them will click through to Keppel Leopard Creative. (Again, hello!)
The final straw was when someone rang my business number asking where their Nike Airs were.
So I contacted Google, and had the most loveliest chat with someone who has much more tech knowledge than I do. I asked if Google could sever ties between the websites but unfortunately, Google doesn't have that kind of technology.
But, he did offer me a workaround.
One that will not only help me, but will also annoy the "Nike Discount store".
Which is why my Google Business and this website now have got the words "formally Brand by Katie" on it.
A Word of Warning (for business owners and consumers alike)
So if you are business owner one thing I can say is NEVER let old domain expire (unless you want the joy of being customer service for discounted Nike Airs or any other brand of trainer) or at the very least, remove any links, forwards and ties before you do so.
As a consumer, hopefully you will now realise that probably getting cheap Nike Airs are too good to be true. And you'd be right.
As a branding expert I know that Nike protects their brand fearlessly - and if they were going to discount it, they would do through their own official channels and selected stores so that you - the consumer - are getting what you paid for. If you haven't bought yet, good - go to the official website to purchase them (here is the official website link).
If you have, unfortunately it is unlikely that you will see either the trainers or you money again. But, if you want to put what you've learnt to good use, go tell Nike so that no one else falls foul of this.