buy-domain-name In May 2008, I acquired the web domain digitalinspiration.com from a domain reseller since the URL matches just perfectly with my blog title – Digital Inspiration.

The web domain broker company initially quoted $1,600 for this domain but after some quick negotiations, we closed the deal at around $1,100.

Essential background checks for web domain names

When you are in the market to buy an existing web domain name, always ensure that the site you are about to buy has a clean track record. Here are some online tools to help you run background checks against any domain for free:

internet-archive 1. Archive.org – The Internet Archive Wayback machine maintains snapshots of web pages as they change over time. You can use this service to find the kind of content that was earlier hosted on the domain that you are looking to acquire – stay away from porn and hate sites.

dogpile-logo 2. Dogpile – The next step is to find web pages that mention that domain name in their content. This is again to get an idea about the previous owners of a domain and what kind of content was available.

Always do a search with and without ‘www’ added to the domain name (e.g., abc.com OR www.abc.com). You could either perform these searches on different search engines individually or use Dogpile that will simultaneously search Google, Yahoo, Ask and Live.com from a single page.

adsense-sandbox 3. AdSense Sandbox – You want to make sure that the domain you are about to buy is not banned by Google AdSense.

Type the domain URL in the sandbox to confirm that Google Ads are available for the domain else you may miss an opportunity to monetize the site via AdSense in future.

yahoo-explorer 4. Yahoo! Site Explorer – This tool shows a list of web pages that are linking to a particular domain.

Yahoo! Site Explorer, in combination with Technorati Search and Google link: operator, will help you ensure that the domain is not part of any bad neighborhood.

Related: When the Web Domain You Want Isn’t Available

And here are some additional tips for buying domain names:

1. Always bargain with your domain broker – digitalinspiration.com was an AdSense parked domain with a “buy it now” price tag of $1,600. Since this was my first deal, I was not very sure if brokers offer any discounts on domain names and therefore directly asked the representative if he could make a lower offer. He did agree and we finally settled at $1,000 plus some transaction fee.

2. Never ask for feedback in public forums – This is obvious but never ask a question like “Should I buy xyz.com at this price ?” because you never know if another member of the forum is also interested in the same domain. (Also see: “How to Sell Blogs and Websites“)

3. Always Google for the reseller – I bought this domain from buydomains.com which seems like a good company to deal with but I did Google them to read first-hand experiences of other customers who have previously bought web domains from buydomains.com.

4. Forget e-mail, use the phone – If you are in a different time zone, it’s always good to negotiate over phone than email.

5. Beware of copyright – Even if domain names like dell-in-india.com or microsoft-web-store.in are available for purchase on the web, don’t build your business around them because someone else holds the copyright /trademark for those name and you may be asked to give control by their lawyers.