Before Buying a Domain Name, Perform Due Diligence Or Risk It All

When Google errs: A cautionary tale of great power

Before you purchase a domain name, even a premium domain name, you absolutely must perform the proper due diligence. Or, you could potentially risk it all, and find out the hard way: your site could get banned in Google for pure spam. This is what happened recently to Michael Krigsman and ZDNet when they moved CXO Talk on a new domain name, CXOTalk.com.

Mr. Krigsman, in his recent article titled “When Google errs: A cautionary tale of great power”, explains that he purchased a domain name, CXOTalk.com, in order to move their site on CXO-Talk.com. He explains that CXO-Talk.com has been up and running for at least two years, and everything has been fine. But, after they moved the site to a newly purchased domain name, everything went downhill.

“Without the hyphen, I hoped the new web address would make the site just a bit easier for users to find. Little did I know that this change would serve as a catalyst for Google to incorrectly take a “manual action” and classify the entire cxotalk.com domain as “pure spam.”

In the article, Mr. Krigsman explains that ” Bing Webmaster Tools accepted the change of address immediately and showed no problem with the site”. However, it sounds as if Google almost immediately banned the site and sent the following message to the site owner of CXOTalk.com via Google Webmaster Tools:

Google manual action pure spam

Google was correct in giving this domain name a manual action. However, Bing was NOT correct, in my opinion.

After spending some time reviewing this situation, and looking at the redirects that were set up, I personally looked into the history of the “new” domain name, CXOTalk.com. I used the patent-pending process that I am currently working on to analyze the CXOTalk.com domain name, and make a determination as to whether or not that domain name “passes the test” so to speak. I performed extensive due diligence on this domain name, and found that, in fact, there is absolutely NO WAY I would have recommended redirecting the current CXO-Talk.com domain name to CXOTalk.com until that domain name was “cleaned up”. Performing some basic “due diligence” on the domain name, the domain name you’ve purchased at a domain name auction, before using it in commerce is absolutely necessary nowadays. You need to look at the history of the domain name you’re buying.

In the case of CXOTalk.com, I started to look into the history of the domain. I looked at the whois record. I looked at the whois history (who previously owned the domain name). I looked at the history of the topic of the domain name (checked it at the Internet Archive). Then I looked at the links to that domain name. That’s where I ran into the obvious problems:

backlinks cxotalk domain

There are a lot of other links pointing to this domain name, but there are also a lot of backlinks to that domain name that reveal a very spammy and scummy past of that domain name. If you want more history of the backlinks pointing to that domain name, you can use Majestic.com or another link tool. I prefer to use Majestic, as links are updated very often, on a regular basis. For full disclosure, I am one of Majestic’s US Brand Ambassadors.

As someone who has been practicing organic SEO since the mid 1990s (around 1996), I have just about “seen it all” and I can say that I’ve “been there, done that” so to speak. In the case of the ZDNet domain name, the article written by Michael Krigsman is wrong. The title “When Google errs: A cautionary tale of great power” is wrong, because Google absolutely did NOT make a mistake this time. Google is correct for banning CXOTalk.com, and removing it from the Google index. The history of that domain name is, in fact, pure spam. The current content, however, is not spam, it is all above-board, great content.

Whenever you combine two websites, or whenever you redirect one domain to another domain name, keep in mind that all the data from both domains is combined. The links, the history, the PageRank, and other search engine ranking factors are combined when you redirect one domain name to another domain name. So, make sure you do your due diligence on the domain names that you are redirecting to your current website. Or, you could end up risking it all, and getting banned in Google, just like CXOTalk.com has been banned.

Our New Verified Domain Name Service
This post, and this article from ZDNet is very timely. I am putting on the finishing touches on our new patent-pending service, which does exactly what Michael Krigsman needed before purchasing his domain name. Globe Runner, very soon, is launching a new verified domain name service, which performs the necessary due diligence for you (so you don’t have to). We check over 30 different issues in order to make sure that the domain name that you’re going to use does not have any problems. Some of these checks include:

– review whois history
– review former topic of domain name
– review email blacklists
– review domain blocklists
– review domain reputation
– plus over 30 other manual reviews of various data points

During the Globe Runner verified domain names process, we collect the data, and review it. Then we make a determination on whether or not that domain name passes our rigorous process and qualifies as a verified domain.

The process that I have personally developed, based on over 15 years of SEO experience with websites and domain names, is proprietary. Globe Runner is so confident in our assessment of the domain name that we guarantee it. Purchasing a domain name assessment from Globe Runner includes a warranty of up to $50,000.

If you would like to be one of the first ones to get an invite for our new verified domain names service, feel free to get in touch with me (bill at globerunner.wpengine.com), and I will put you on the invite list.