The old, familiar Msnbc.com is now NBCNews.com. But a new Msnbc.com will be up and running early next year. With the same url as the old Msnbc.com.
Confused? Don't worry. Msnbc.com been dealing with brand confusion for years, and the site's rebranding is an attempt to fix it.
MSNBC, the cable network, is completely owned by NBCUniversal and has established itself as a left-leaning source of political news. Although it shares a name with Msnbc.com, the website has a different approach: a broad mix of news, lifestyle, and entertainment stories without a political bent. Users who go there expecting a liberal slant will be disappointed.
On Monday, NBC began trying to "clear up brand confusion" — as NBC News president Steve Capus said in a conference call with reporters — by giving Msnbc.com the new name NBCNews.com. The change is the result of Comcast, NBCU's owner, buying out Microsoft's stake in the site, just as NBCU previously bought out its stake in the channel. The partnership between Comcast and NBC started 16 years ago this week.
To make sure it doesn't lose Msnbc.com users with the new name, the site has already started automatically redirecting users to the new url, NBCNews.com. Name changes are extremely rare for websites as large as Msnbc.com, which drew 38.9 million unique visitors last month. The redirecting will help users get used to the idea.
But the new name is only the first phase of the rebranding effort. Early next year, Msnbc.com will become the site of the cable channel, reflecting its voice and point of view.
And so one site will become two: The first is the old Msnbc.com, now NBCNews.com, with its mix of general news. (Its content includes stories by TheWrap.com.) The second is the new, upcoming Msnbc.com, which will be aligned with the channel.
All clear? Msbc.com hopes so. And that everyone else on the Internet will understand as well. And visit both sites.