I'm buying an old domain...I randomly emailed the guy who owns it because i noticed that it is ranking like 250 in Google for my main keyword. I offered him 1K and he said he would consider selling it for $2K, so i think i want to do it. I figure eventually I'll make 2K a day on that site so it's worth it. Also, since the site is from 2003 and has a bunch of backlinks it wont have any sandbox issues so i can hit the ground running.
My question is, since the guy lives in China (or so it seems), how do i go about paying for this domain and making sure this guy doesn't rip me off? Should i use paypal and if so does that protect me from him taking my money and not handing over the domain? Should there be any kind of contract or written agreement? If he's in China, will that even hold up? Also, i've heard that when you buy an old domain from someone you don't want to change all the whois info right away because it might put you back in the sandbox. I've heard to change things slowly...Is this true?
I'd recommend you use Moniker's escrow service. They do it right. They won't release your payment until the domain is in their hands.
You should always change the whois information to your own. It's the content which shouldn't change too rapidly, like adding hundreds of new pages per day. I don't see much problem in you changing the content of existing pages.