Finding a great domain name is like finding real estate in the perfect location. It can make all the difference when it comes to the value of your future web site. Of course, if you've had to search for the perfect domain name lately you know that most of the incredible names are already registered.
This is where the secondary market comes in and many of us have systems in place to search for names that have been previously registered but for some reason the owner lets the renewal lapse or they've lost interest in their business model or web site. As such, there are a couple major auctions to purchase these domains as they drop. Finding one from a previously popular site can reward you with instant backlinks and traffic to jump start your new site.
On the negative side you may be purchasing a problem child that has been used for less than savory purposes or been banned from the search engines for one reason or another. It pays to do some research before purchasing any domain name. Following are a couple of the tools and techniques to use in your detective work.
1. The Google Index Is Your Friend.
This is the first place to begin. Using a couple simple searches we can find previous site references that are indexed in the search engine and also find backlinks and references to the domain. Type the following searches into Google:
Use both of these as the domain could have been indexed both ways. If you see no results it's a red flag that Google may have removed the site from their index.
These searches will show you various references to the domain or web site on the web. If you see a lot of negative comments you will have an idea about the character of the person who previously owned your domain.
2. Domain Tools
This is a one stop shop to find out a lot of information on your previous domain.
From here you can find out who owned the domain previously, how many times it was moved from one server to another, how often the ownership changed over the years and when it was first registered.
3. Archive or WayBackMachine
Here you'll find an archived history of what your domain or web site has looked like throughout it's history. Unfortunately, it's not a complete history of everything that could have happened to your domain but it's the best we have available. At a minimum it's fun to look back through the site's history and see what the domain was used for.