Infamous OG weed website High Times took a big hit when Google removed the site from its search engine results. The company was advertising their dubious Initial Public Offering (IPO) on banner ads which violate the search engine’s terms and the potentially violates the Security Exchange Commission’s (SEC) “quiet period” regulations. Google dropped the site after multiple warnings.
Subsequently, High Times’ site traffic drastically declined from approximately 58,000 hits to a mere 18,000 in less than a month. As of December 25, the site’s global SEO ranking slipped by 42,289 to place 56,442, according to an Alexa search.
The significant drop in traffic poses an imminent danger to the overall value of a brand which relies heavily on analytics to placate investors. The lack of search engine availability negates the visibility of any of the site’s digital offerings. Since the domain is banned, its available content is not apparent via a Google search.
Google dropping the company’s search listing is the latest blow for the beleaguered brand.
Additionally, the site formerly renowned as a pioneer of professional pot journalism and intrepid reporting and has switched to an almost entirely aggregated, content mill model, with mostly monetized “pay-to-play” product reviews.
The brand also relies heavily on its Cannabis Cup events for a steady revenue stream. However, the cancellation of a Cup in California last year impacts the brand’s bottom line. No Cannabis Cups are occurring in the foreseeable future, according to the company’s website.
“Senior management hopes to pivot from these failures and bolster their revenue by licensing the High Times brand name and trademarks to dispensaries and delivery services,” says a source close to the company. CEO Adam Levin himself has also said he plans to do as much.
Meanwhile, despite potentially violating the SEC’s quiet period regulations, by running radio ads and possibly additional SEC rules by using Google, YouTube and the company’s subscriber data to facilitate the sale of shares by credit card (and a rescinded offer to purchase shares using cryptocurrency), the company is still doggedly pursuing a NASDAQ or OTC listing to go public.