11 Ways to Research a Domain You’re Interested in BuyingPosted: October 9, 2011
If you figure out the domain you want to buy only to find it’s already taken, you may wonder, “What next?” Or you may have already found a domain listed for sale that you’d like to buy but want to make sure you’re avoiding any potential risks or setbacks with it.
At whatever stage of the pre-buying process you’re at, additional research may guide you to making a good decision. You may find that taken domain to be for sale and even find the seller’s desired price. You may find there are trademark or spam issues, or that the domains history may cause problems for you down the road. Having additional information about the domain you’re looking to buy is never a bad thing – it can help you get the right domain or stop you from getting the wrong one.
Here are 11 ways to research a domain you’re interested in buying:
- See what is currently on the domain by entering it into your browser (be careful of spyware or virii). It may have a website, be redirected to a different website, have a parked page, have indication of being for sale, or have nothing at all.
- See what used to be on the domain by checking it at Archive.org. You can find out if it had a bad history or if the current website on it is well-established or not.
- Check who owns the domain, its creation date and other potentially useful information by searching on a whois lookup service like DomainTools. You may find the domain is well aged, which can provide an additional boost to your search engine rankings. Sometimes, the owner includes in their information that the domain is for sale.
- Find out if the domain is publicly listed for sale by searching on major marketplaces such as Afternic, Sedo and GoDaddy Auctions. This may help give an indication of price before you contact the owner and/or allow you to buy the domain non-direct if you wish to remain private.
- Determine potential trademark issues by searching for existing registered trademarks on the domain’s keywords in the US Trademark Electronic Search System and the ROMARIN International Trademark Database. If anything comes up and you are unsure if the domain would be safe to buy, contact a lawyer specializing in domain trademark law.
- Search on Google for just the domain in quotes and see what discussions exist about the domain. This can help with determining that past use of the domain may have been a spam or scam site. If there is a website on the domain and no results show for it on the first page, Google may be penalizing it in their rankings.
- See what other sites use the same name in a different extension by searching on Google for “site:domain.*” putting * in place of the domains extension. This may help assess whether the domain could potentially infringe upon another site’s common law trademark rights (always consult a lawyer specializing in domain trademark law if you are unsure).
- Find out whether the domain is in any spam blacklist by using Blacklist.org. This is especially important if you intend to send emails out through the domain once you develop it.
- (if looking for traffic) Check the domain’s traffic rankings and history on Alexa, Compete and Quantcast. Read our post “Why Alexa Traffic Rank Can Be Useless When Buying Domains and Websites” first on why it’s better to retrieve actual traffic data from the seller.
- (if looking for SEO value) Check the domain’s page rank at PRChecker.info which also indicates whether it is “fake” or not.
- (if looking for SEO value) Check the domain’s backlink profile at OpenSiteExplorer.org . You can see not only how many backlinks it has but the strength of them as well to confirm any SEO benefits it may give.
This research can be tedious and may not be necessary to do on all domains you may be interested in buying, but if you are locked in on one and ready to buy it, having this additional information can definitely help. You can get an indication of how much the domain owner wants for it, determine potential risks of buying it, or see if it may have additional benefits like traffic or SEO value that can help you.
If you are overwhelmed with the research and buying process, Domainate can help. We help many companies with domain acquisition saving them time, money and hassles in the process. Contact us if you need our assistance with buying a domain.