Scripps changed the name of Recipezaar to Food.com. People have been contacting us for weeks wondering what we think. So here’s what we think, but first, a suggestion to the people upset about the change…

Make lemonade from these lemons: build a competitor to food.com. Do what you would do if you owned Recipezaar/food.com. This is what America and capitalism are all about. Go chase the American Dream. We are proof that even idiots can do it and be successful. You don’t need to be a genius, you just need to be willing to work hard and to keep getting up when you fall down. It’s hard work, but it’s worth it. Best of all, you have the blueprint that we never had and proof that the formula works.

Now, what we think of the change…

I named the site “Recipezaar” but I never liked the name; I just didn’t have a better idea for a name. Scripps didn’t either because the new name is stupid. Whoever thought that name was good is stuck in 1999 and needs to wake up. At least “Recipezaar” was unique and interesting. “Food.com” is boring. Worse, it’s inaccurate – it’s a recipe site, not a food site. They owned the food.com domain when we came on board and they were planning to introduce a 3rd site on that domain that took content from both foodnetwork.com and recipezaar.com. They would have three sites: one site for celebrity chefs, one for amateur chefs and one to bridge the gap between the two. It was a great idea. But killing off one site and being stuck with two sites, one just renamed, was a bad idea.

Scripps pretends that the site was inaccessible because “Recipezaar” was hard to spell. It is hard to spell, but so is Epicurious.com and not many people argue they should change that name. And the likelihood for typos and misspellings is why we had 30+ domain name misspellings of it to catch the mistakes and typos. People clearly had no trouble finding the site due to lack of spelling ability or typos. So it’s not a legitimate reason. And because they changed the URLs, I hope they did a good job of redirecting old links to the new site or they will lose a ton of “link love” from other sites accumulated over the last 10 years.

Other than the dumb name, does it matter? All the recipes are there, you can still post your recipes and the database is growing. If you like the site, use it. If you don’t, don’t. You can argue whether they’re doing the right things or the wrong things, but don’t pretend it’s anything other than your opinion. I’m somewhat sympathetic to them. People told us for years how wrong we were whenever we changed anything. The tired anti-progress chant of “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!” was always bandied about. Again, take this opportunity to build your own site and prove them wrong.

The true judge of whether they’re doing it right or not is whether the site is getting more or less popular. Time will tell. Unfortunately, it seems they’re getting less popular. They’re losing even more to our most direct competitor AllRecipes. That’s a travesty and a missed opportunity because AllRecipes should have been easy to beat given that Scripps owned FoodNetwork.com too. It was Scripps’ game to lose and they are definitely losing it. It just goes to show that big companies usually succeed in spite of themselves rather than because of themselves.

I do think this new site is an improvement over their old site. They redesigned the site the first year after they bought it and, yikes, that was a sloppy mess. The woman who was in charge hired her buddies, designers that Yahoo let go (for good reason!), to design it. This new version seems to be an improvement over that, at least.