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Purchasing Domains and Keeping Rankings... suggestions?

 4:45 pm on Apr 7, 2009 (gmt 0)

I have an opportunity to purchase some domains from a big company that has decided to change directions and take down about 20 + websites. Some of these have top 10 serps for generally competitive phrases - but won't for much longer.

My fear is that if I spend the money on the names, the whois will change, dns will change (and site will change) and G will throw down the gauntlet and make the whole thing worthless. I can try, but it is unlikely that I can keep the old sites.

The domains aren't worth much on their own - only the dozens (and hundreds) of quality links they have.

any suggestions or thoughts?




 6:29 pm on Apr 7, 2009 (gmt 0)

If you change content and Whois and DNS - then Google very well may "reset" the domain to zero and give it a total fresh start.

I can try, but it is unlikely that I can keep the old sites. The domains aren't worth much on their own

Then I would say don't pay too much for just the domain names. If you're not going to be purchasing and maintiaining the existing business, then Google does not want to rate your new "business" as if it were the previous one, even though it's at the same address.


 7:20 pm on Apr 7, 2009 (gmt 0)

Thanks Tedster, that's what i thought.

I can try to create a copy of the existing website with the same url's and the same content, I guess that can't hurt.

But between the whois and dns it sounds like a gamble no matter what.


 7:26 pm on Apr 7, 2009 (gmt 0)

I guess that can't hurt.


If the company is "disposing" of them why can you not buy them as complete sites?


 9:03 pm on Apr 7, 2009 (gmt 0)

Husky - I am going to try to, but they are a big media company that would prefer to just get rid of it rather than deal with copyrights etc.

They could probably care less if i put the same stuff back up, but wouldn't officially sell me the site....


 12:31 am on Apr 8, 2009 (gmt 0)

If you change content and Whois and DNS - then Google very well may "reset" the domain to zero and give it a total fresh start.

It seems to me like that might result in too much collateral damage, if automated. After all, why "reset" a domain when the new owner simply puts up a legitimate new version of the website. Same topic, same (or similar) content, but a new owner and a different site hosted on another server --- seems legitimate to me, and no reason for such a heavy "penalty," one that would practically render the domain worthless. I do think alarm bells might go off when all of these things (DNS, whois, content) change at the same time, but it would be more reasonable to either queue it for a manual review or, if the process is automated, determine the relevance of the new site.


 1:10 am on Apr 8, 2009 (gmt 0)

In my experience, such a Google reset is done with a light hand, to avoid collateral damage to legitimately purchased web businesses. I know of several cases where a business was purchased along with a domain, and the domain continued to hold it's power.

But Google has clearly stated that they "might" reset everything to zero when a domain changes ownership, and they definitely do so in some cases. The key seems to be whether the same business is now owned and operated by someone else, or if the domain is now being used in a different manner altogether.


 2:16 am on Apr 8, 2009 (gmt 0)

I agree with Tedster. If you change the content of the sites you're buying, then Google will probably reset it. If it's the same website as before doing the same things as before, then I doubt it.


 3:18 pm on Apr 8, 2009 (gmt 0)

We'll see, as I'm in such a situation right now with a recently acquired website. I put up a new site, on the same topic and with similar (but better) content. In retrospect, perhaps I should have taken it more slowly, because if Google now resets the domain I will have spent way too much on it. Too late now, so fingers crossed.


 3:26 pm on Apr 8, 2009 (gmt 0)

I have a popular, single word domian name that was purchased about 2 1/2 years ago. It used to be an online magazine site, but I use it for ecommerce (content is 100% different). I can tell I am still benefiting from links to the original site. Obviously every situation is different, but in my case everything has worked out nicely.


 4:19 pm on Apr 8, 2009 (gmt 0)

Don't forget that Google was also quite different, i.e. less advanced, 2 1/2 years ago, MadeWillis ;-) What worked back then, may not work today.


 4:51 pm on Apr 8, 2009 (gmt 0)

google was around 2 1/2 years ago? jk:)

i am aware, robzilla, just sharing my experience


 5:19 pm on Apr 8, 2009 (gmt 0)

thanks everyone - very helpful.

safe to say i won't throw up adsense for a few months....


 3:49 am on Apr 10, 2009 (gmt 0)

So I'm making the purchase - should I be overly paranoid about the footprint of the new site?

I know G will see the whois, but should I not put it in my name where I have 500 domains and also 40 websites on my google analytics account?

the alternative is to transfer it to a friend, start a new account etc.

am i being overly paranoid?



 4:38 am on Apr 10, 2009 (gmt 0)

The first and very important factor is that the transfer is clean - that is, the domain never expires or "drops". Beyond that, the sands are a bit shifty. But whether the new owner in the Whois is you or someone else, it's still a new owner.

Think about those backlinks and the urls they point to. If they maintain or improve value for the linking site, and if they give the link traffic a good experience on your site, then that's a good part of the picture for maintaining the domain's existing value. Then if you continue to attract new backlinks, that's another plus.

[edited by: tedster at 5:22 pm (utc) on April 10, 2009]


 1:59 pm on Apr 10, 2009 (gmt 0)

thanks Tedster.

I'm not going to be overly paranoid about this, will just go about building a legit website with no funny business, will keep ads off the site for a while and we'll see what happens.

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