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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?
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.
I guess that can't hurt.
If the company is "disposing" of them why can you not buy them as complete sites?
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.
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.
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?
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]