06 Nov 2005

Screw the Sandbox – Buy an old site.

I’ve gone 5 days without posting….sorry for the silence….I’ve got a new addiction that’s been sucking up my time…I’ve been staying at the office well past midnight, and even when I’m at home, I try to sneak away to my computer to play with my addiction.

So what’s my new addiction? It’s called “Buying Old Websites”, And it’s got me hooked, big time.

In the past 5 day’s I’ve bought 5 domains.

Site 1: A stricly informational site registered in 1996, over 70k backlinks, over 650 backlinks from EDU’s.

Site 2:  An informational website registered in 1995, over 1k backlinks in yahoo, 6 from .edu’s.

Site 3: Site registed in 2001, ~1500 yahoo backlinks, 6 baclinks from edu’s.

Site 4: Site registed in early 2004, ~50 backlinks. (ranks in the top 20 google)

Site 5: Site registered in late 2003, ~50 backlinks. (#7 yahoo)

———————-

I’ll admit it, I’m Jim Boykin, and I’m an “Old Site A Holic”

To obtain the 5 above I wrote to about 50 people. I have this little private tool that helps me to find potential sites (don’t ask how), and I sit here running this tool, researching sites ….digging up whois info, and writing….over and over and over….

To heck with buying text links, buying whole sites is so much funner – screw the sandbox.

Comments

  1. Nick November 6, 2005 at 2:57 PM

    Nice work Jim…. so you’re privately emaling these guys and offering to buy their sites, not searching webmaster forums and looking for people who are selling?

    Are you splashing out a fair bit for these or what?

    I imagine site #1 would cost a fair bit of money.

    Do you have plans of re-doing all of those 5 sites, or just using the domains?

  2. Jim November 6, 2005 at 3:49 PM

    yes, privately emailing…cost..some more than others….I don’t plan on redoing the sites….only changing the homepage, adding content…but keeping up all old content (and keeping those deep links).

  3. Nick November 6, 2005 at 3:54 PM

    Nice Jim, might be time for me to email some sites I like.

  4. Nick November 6, 2005 at 3:57 PM

    Also, I know you said don’t ask how, but care to share that kinda tool with us? I’m looking at a niche that I doubt you’d be interested in at all, so I’d love to have some help in finding sites that I could possibly purchase.

  5. Jim November 6, 2005 at 4:06 PM

    Todd will break my legs if I tell any more about “how we’re finding” these site. Sorry. The tool we’re using is private, and I’ve gotta keep it that way. .. you can find sites by hand searching…. just takes longer.

  6. Vernon Kesner November 6, 2005 at 5:24 PM

    Jim – These sites that you are buying, is the domain registration info being changed? If it is won’t Google still see it as a new site and throw it into the sandbox? Or are you simply purchasing the site with them retaining a portion of the ownership so that the registration info doesn’t have to change and you still retain the ‘old site’ status? Sorry… just picking your brain!

    Best,
    Vernon

  7. Jim November 6, 2005 at 5:34 PM

    Good question….I try to change as little of the whois as possible….getting their register login is the ultimate….beyond that, I try to change as little as possible…that’s all I’ll say.

  8. Google Sandbox - Want to get out? November 6, 2005 at 5:36 PM

    […] I was reading over on Jim Boykin’s blog and he was posting about a new love of his.  He’s been doing a lot of research into old sites and has started “Buying Old Websites”. […]

  9. Vernon Kesner November 6, 2005 at 5:37 PM

    Hope I didn’t ‘let the cat out of the bag’. Just my mind running while I wrote!

    Best,
    Vernon

  10. Jim November 6, 2005 at 5:41 PM

    Addeed:
    [quote]”If it is won’t Google still see it as a new site and throw it into the sandbox?” [/quote]
    I don’t believe they’d sandbox an old site even if it had a new owner….I think that “sandbox” is more focused on “date the site was first found” and doubt it would start again if a site changed hands.

  11. graywolf November 6, 2005 at 7:49 PM

    Came to the same conclusion myself, emailed about 150 people picked up 2 domains from 2000 for under $1K. I agree you try and change as little as possible, and don’t do something goofy like adding 500+ new pages.

  12. JasonHendricks.com - Internet Marketing and E-Commerce Consultant » Blog Archive » How to Beat Google’s Sandbox November 7, 2005 at 3:53 AM

    […] Screw the Sandbox – Buy an Old Site […]

  13. kservik November 7, 2005 at 7:11 AM

    Hehe…Google just asked for this.

    Kim

  14. Mark November 7, 2005 at 7:51 AM

    I’ve been advocating expansion via the buying of websites for a long time now. If there’s one asset type that’s highly undervalued at present it’s websites and – if you’re a webmaster yourself – there’s no smarter investment.

    True, there’s a Google-loves-old-sites angle that seems to have suddenly become very topical (Jagger?). But, even if that was not the case buying a site gives you tons of advantages – from getting a DMOZ listing you couldn’t otherwise get …. to giving you a ready made 10K IBL shell to fill with your topical poker/mesothelioma articles.

  15. Brad Geddes November 7, 2005 at 9:33 AM

    [quote] don’t believe they’d sandbox an old site even if it had a new owner….I think that “sandbox” is more focused on “date the site was first found” and doubt it would start again if a site changed hands. [/quote]

    Jim – I’ve heard many rumors of sites being ‘resandboxed’ due to 1 of 3 things.

    1. Domain whois being changed AND site undergoing large structural change.
    2. Old site being ‘stagnant’ and suddenly picking up several thousand new links.
    3. Domain name not being renewed fast enough, and the domain bought (either by the same or another person in either auction or a late domain catch). I’ve heard of this resandboxing even when the content wasn’t chanted.

    Have you seen any evidence of the above?

  16. Mark November 7, 2005 at 9:42 AM

    1. Change WHOIS and a flag goes up at the plex. They then watch for
    2. Old stagnant site picking up several thousand new links

    I’ve tried using an old domain without changing WHOIS and altering the content with kids gloves. It worked. I’ve tried old domain with new WHOIS, new content, new links. It’s as good as starting a new domain /buying an expired one.

    Domain expiring is not on its own a guarantee of sandbox. I’ve had a client’s old domain expire in Feb, get renewed, and NOT lose any of it’s rankings. The 5K+ IBLs seem to still be working! Google is smarter on the domain issue than many people give them credit for (though amazingly lax elsewhere).

  17. Web Search News: SEO Blog » The Right Time to Buy Old Domains November 7, 2005 at 9:44 AM

    […] Yes, yes it is. Jim Boykin and Threadwatch also agree. « Jagger3 Live   […]

  18. Antique Domain Shopping -- Macalua.com November 7, 2005 at 10:07 AM

    […] Getting old domains wih exceptional backlink profiles. Looks like it’s the rage these days. Jim Boykin seems to think so. Time to go domain name shopping again…need one with links from .gov and .edu sites. Got one? 🙂 […]

  19. Vaclav November 7, 2005 at 11:01 AM

    This is a briliant idea if you profit from the the original topic of the website. But I am somehow unsure as for:

    “to giving you a ready made 10K IBL shell to fill with your topical poker/mesothelioma articles.”

    Google is becoming somehow more sofisticated these days.

  20. wheel November 7, 2005 at 11:11 AM

    Don’t change the whois……I bought an old site with a dmoz listing in a competitive area and idiot that I am 🙂 change the whois. Left everything else the same yet very shortly thereafter poof! no more dmoz listing.

  21. Jim November 7, 2005 at 1:33 PM

    Vaclav, I agree….anyone who’d put off topical pages or just bastardize a website would risk loosing their investment (and probably not rank as well either). If you want to utulize “poker” buy an old poker site.

  22. Jim Boykin November 7, 2005 at 2:14 PM

    *** ADVERTISEMENT ***

    OK…this wasn’t on my mind when I posted the original post, but I’m going to be an opportunist and offer the service of finding old sites for people to purchase.
    For details, see this page on how to buy a website through We Build Pages.

    *** End of Advertisement ***

  23. Anthony Parsons November 8, 2005 at 2:53 AM

    Hi Jim,

    I think it should really be highlighted though, that buying old domains is not the way to go if your changing the content, as ANY site can go back into the sandbox filter. I already know that people are going to read this, forget about what you have said Jim, ie. not changing the sites content or whois / very minute, and run off, buy up, then end up in the sandbox. I get so many emails on this, asking me if buying old domains for the age factor, then publishing their content is the way to go. The answer? No. If the site has thousands of backlinks, and you are willing to risk putting in the box, but the overall savings for those established links outweights the filter waiting period, then, Yes, the value is there.

    Just thought I would add this, as I know what this information is going to do in the amateurish hands that it will find.

  24. In and Around SEO Industry :)»Blog Archive » Dont Buy Text Links Instead Buy Quality Old Sites November 8, 2005 at 8:08 AM

    […] Most of SEO’s buy Text Links to improve rankings but Jim will buy quality old sites (with tons of backlinks and hundreds of .edu backlinks). […]

  25. Jim November 8, 2005 at 8:25 AM

    Great points Anthony.

  26. Вебстудийные размышления » Blog Archive » Обмани песочницу - купи старый ÑÐ°Ð¹Ñ November 8, 2005 at 9:01 AM

    […] Такой совет дает Jim Boykin. Это занятие действует на него странным образом: 5 дней ничего не постил… извините за молчание… У меня новое увлечение, поглощающее время. Вчера я задержался на работе до полуночи, даже когда я дома, я незаметно перебираюсь за свой компьютер, чтобы уделить время своей зависимости. […]

  27. Trond Sorvoja November 10, 2005 at 5:26 AM

    I like the concept, but I get a bit thrown off by the idea of not changing WHO-IS. This information is supposed to be up to date. Changing WHO-IS, moving hosts even across continents do not trigger the alleged sandbox.

  28. Jim Boykin’s Internet Marketing Blog » Blog Archive » The first 2 months blogging - feedback? November 11, 2005 at 11:45 PM

    […] Screw the Sandbox – buy an old site – Nov 6 […]

  29. sGroup November 20, 2005 at 6:48 PM

    We purchased an old site and changed the whois info and added 200 pages with no problem. It has been 6 weeks now and all new pages are in the top 100.

  30. Nick November 29, 2005 at 6:22 PM

    Interesting comments here – and this is still a very important topic… for me especially.

    I really am unsure as to whether to update the whois or not?

  31. BoydCreative » How To Buy A Website November 29, 2005 at 9:41 PM

    […] There has been a lot of talk recently on the merits of buying a website, particularly an old established site. It is generally accepted that because of Google’s age effect, it is ‘easier’ to simply buy into a market rather than starting from square one. I would agree with that. So if you are out there actively hunting for sites to acquire, here are a few tips that will help you avoid the pitfalls. […]

  32. » Interview Jim Boykin - SEO BUZZBOX December 1, 2005 at 4:07 PM

    […] I was however called “evil” by Matt at the last Webmasterworld conference (not sure how much was in “jest”) for my post on “screw the sandbox, buy an old site”. If you ask Doug Heil, he’d say I’m a spammer (but I’m in good company). I’m certainly grayer than Jill, no doubt, but if you’re targeting something like “Las Vegas Real Estate” can you afford to be as white as Jill? (FYI, I do highly respect Jill). […]

  33. » Interview Jim Boykin - SEO BUZZBOX December 1, 2005 at 4:07 PM

    […] I was however called “evil” by Matt at the last Webmasterworld conference (not sure how much was in “jest”) for my post on “screw the sandbox, buy an old site”. If you ask Doug Heil, he’d say I’m a spammer (but I’m in good company). I’m certainly grayer than Jill, no doubt, but if you’re targeting something like “Las Vegas Real Estate” can you afford to be as white as Jill? (FYI, I do highly respect Jill). […]

  34. Linkbait, Linkbait, Linkbait - Jim Boykin’s Internet Marketing Blog January 25, 2006 at 12:59 PM

    […] When we created our Free SEO Tools, that was linkbait….the word linkbait just hadn’t been invented yet. Almost everything I write is linkbait…well kinda…maybe my papers on "How to Become a DMOZ Editor", or my "screw the sandbox, buy an old domain" are more linkbaitish type articles. I’m a link hound by nature….so yea, I’m always looking at things from the angle of "will this get me links?". […]

  35. Common Footprints Of Old Virgin Websites » JasonHendricks.com - Internet Marketing and E-Commerce Consultant January 26, 2006 at 9:08 PM

    […] At first I really didn’t pay a whole lot of attention to the old domain buying game, but had read of many others that had made it their new pasttime. Since I actually have some free time these days to sit and develop new businesses (I recently stepped down as VP of Marketing for one of my companies and transitioned over to a part-time consultancy arrangement), it finally occurred to me that there’s some money to be made selling advertising on old websites as well as using them for my own benefit. Yes, I’m slow to catch on to new trends as times, but once I do I give it 110%. […]

  36. Common Footprints Of Old “Virgins” » JasonHendricks.com - Internet Marketing and E-Commerce Consultant January 26, 2006 at 10:35 PM

    […] At first I really didn’t pay a whole lot of attention to the old domain buying game, but had read of many others that had made it their new pasttime. Since I actually have some free time these days to sit and develop new businesses (I recently stepped down as VP of Marketing for one of my companies and transitioned over to a part-time consultancy arrangement), it finally occurred to me that there’s some money to be made selling advertising on old websites as well as using them for my own benefit. Yes, I’m slow to catch on to new trends as times, but once I do I give it 110%. […]

  37. c6h6 March 23, 2006 at 10:07 AM

    thanx 4 really great idea!
    how quick did you recouped costs 4 that sites?
    i mean did costs warranted?

  38. The Mystery Of Sand Boxing » JasonHendricks.com - Internet Marketing and E-Commerce Consultant March 25, 2006 at 6:41 AM

    […] Screw the Sandbox – Buy An Old Site […]

  39. Buying old domains - chat and ramble. - Jim Boykin’s Internet Marketing Blog April 8, 2006 at 3:14 PM

    […] They’re probaby afraid to comment because of post like what I’ve done (Screw the Sandbox, buy an old site)….but it also doesn’t seem fair to hold back infomation from a paranoid person who’s buying a domain for totally legit reason and is afraid that if he buys a site (thus changes the whois), moves the host, does a redesign…will that kill this site?….I think it just might (I don’t know because I’ve never done that…and wouldn’t do that). Even if the content topic on the "new site" is the same as the old site. […]

  40. SEOposition.com Blog » Buying Older Sites for Better Ranking April 9, 2006 at 4:19 PM

    […] The theory is of you do not have an older domain already established in search engines over 2, 3, or 4 years ago or longer, then your “wait time” to get favorable rankings from Google, MSN, and Yahoo will be substantially longer. Jim Boykin’s post on buying old domains for link power. […]

  41. Paul April 10, 2006 at 7:18 AM

    Thank you Jim!
    I’ve just buyed couple of old sites. 🙂

  42. Bläckpatroner April 10, 2006 at 4:22 PM

    Thanks!
    I have just bought 2 old domains – and will try it.

  43. TECH BLOG » Beating the Google Sandbox April 11, 2006 at 9:39 PM

    […] When was the website first indexed by Google? A website’s age is just one of several measures Google takes to determine the “authority” status of a website. This has been shown to matter indirectly by several SEOs who bought out old websites in their industries instead of setting up new websites (read Screw the Sandbox – Buy old sites – especially the comments section – for more on this). […]

  44. Haje’s Writings » Blog Archive » Google’s Jagger Update: What really changed? May 4, 2006 at 4:03 PM

    […] Of course, this is angering webmasters of genuine sites that are younger – as it seems as if some sites are being punished disproportionally for their youth, ranking below web sites that are less relevant. The second effect of this, of course, is a sudden market upflux for the market of buying old domains to side-step the issue. […]

  45. robsig May 7, 2006 at 8:41 AM

    Quick question.

    If I found a recently found an expired domain that is pending a renewal OR deletion, and I plan on pretty much using the site for the same purpose, would it be a good idea to buy it?

    It has ~1300 backlinks from Yahoo.

    Any comments?

  46. Out With The New, In With The Old July 31, 2006 at 12:52 AM

    […] Shouldn’t be much difference, really, yet if you’re buying domains for their search engine placement/juice potential, one needs to step carefully lest they get reset to “new” status. Still, old domains are the new SEO. […]

  47. Slow In Getting The Old Site Hype | Malaysia SEO Blog August 7, 2006 at 9:46 PM

    […] For those who are slower than me and still wondering what’s the big deal of the old site… “Screw the Sandbox. Buy an old site” – Jim Boykins “Google loves seniors” – Patrick Gavin “Today is the right time to buy old sites” – Aaron Walls “Some older sites seem to be able to get away with murder in Google’s search results.” – Andy Hagans […]

  48. Buy websites. Old! Why? | DropShipArea.com August 15, 2006 at 8:21 AM

    […] Why should you bother buy old websites when you can develop your own and you enjoy the entire process? I think Jim Boykin was very straightforward with his explanation why you should buy old sites: Screw the Sandbox […]

  49. 10 Shortcuts for Successful SEO | Marketing Pilgrim October 30, 2006 at 10:38 AM

    […] The benefits are well-documented, but an important factor often overlooked here is time. Yes, you can spend 6 months, put together all that content, get all those links, then wait for another 3 years while the site ‘matures’…but you don’t have that much time, do you? […]

  50. 5 reasons why you should buy old websites - SEO Hotline November 10, 2006 at 12:10 PM

    […] A lot has been said about buying old websites for search engine rankings (and for the business value that they offer) but while Jim Boykin’s post on the subject gets most of the link love, I think AW hits the nail right on the head from a business point of view. […]

  51. SEO Shortcuts: Buying Old Websites - SEO Hotline February 12, 2007 at 8:41 AM

    […] A lot has been said about buying old websites for search engine rankings (and for the business value that they offer) but while Jim Boykin’s post on the subject gets most of the link love, I think AW hits the nail right on the head from a business point of view. […]

  52. 66 Ways to Build Links in 2007 » Brandon Hopkins March 21, 2007 at 2:52 PM

    […] 23. Buy old sites and link to your site. (Can be expensive.) Screw the Sandbox – Buy an old site Today is the Right Time to Buy Old Sites… […]

  53. Welcome to the Domainer’s Gazette » The Domainer’s Gazette March 30, 2007 at 12:02 PM

    […] So, after building around 20 of my own sites, with brand-spakin new domain names, I ran across Jim’s article about buying old sites. And once I began to realize the importance of old, indexed, heavily back-linked domains names, I got exposed to the domain auction niche of the industry, which includes SnapNames, Pool, and GoDaddy’s TDNAM – SnapNames being the obvious juggernaut due to their relationship with Network Solutions. […]

  54. 11 ways to build links to your blog [FitForFreedom] April 30, 2007 at 8:23 AM

    […] Screw the sandbox – buy an old site […]

  55. Justin July 15, 2007 at 10:18 PM

    Hi Jim,

    I came across this post and noticed it is almost 2 years old, and also that you no longer offer your service to help people buy old domains.

    Since things change fast online, I was wondering if you could mention if what you’re talking about in this post is still as relevant today as in 2005? Or would you consider doing an updated post on this?

  56. Jason Fox July 29, 2007 at 12:16 AM

    I have the same question as Justin above. Please let us know the relevancy now in 2007… Also, any chance of releasing your tool? 😉

  57. Lane-RealEstateFreak July 30, 2007 at 1:50 PM

    Jim the Man!
    Great articles, but as Justin was asking, I ponder the same.

    Could you be so kind to offer some updated advice on the seasoned domain game…

    Many Thanks,

    Lane

  58. Jim Boykin July 31, 2007 at 5:28 PM

    Justin, Jason, and Lane….when I originally did this post I opened a big pandora’s box….does the age of a website still matter?….yes, sure does….does buying old sites still work in 2007….yup….I don’t want to say much more, or even update this post….part of me regrets even doing this post (I’d have less competiton in buying old sites if I never posted this)….that’s all I’ll say.

  59. Lane-RealEstateFreak July 31, 2007 at 6:20 PM

    Thanks for your reply.

    All Best,

    Lane Yates

  60. Luxury Mortgage August 17, 2007 at 7:28 PM

    Jim,

    Thanks for the update! I have a unique issue…. I’ve owned foxyhomes.com for ~4 years now. I am the original registered owner and only owner ever. I moved registrars from directnic to 1and1 but now Google and the wayback machine think ownership has changed… Is there any way to prove I am still the same old owner and for them to fix their records? If you can shoot me a quick e-mail at JFOX {at} LuxuryMortgageGroup.com I sure would appreciate it!

  61. Glen August 18, 2007 at 2:48 PM

    Jim,

    I found a few really good sites that have great pr, backlinks but hey information on them is private. I’ve made a bid on the domains but i’m not even sure if anyone will respond. Do you have any suggestions for tracking down the ownders of the domains.

    Glen,

  62. cristian September 3, 2007 at 5:52 AM

    Google loves old domains – I wander if there is a website where you can buy old domains…

  63. Jason Fox September 14, 2007 at 4:58 AM

    thank you again for the help Jim!

  64. Chris November 25, 2007 at 9:10 PM

    Is there a good place to buy old domains? Most places I have looked they seem over-priced.

  65. Pilot December 8, 2007 at 10:06 PM

    I know that this post is 2 years old but this strategy still seems to be valid.

    Any pointers how to get started in this area?

  66. David Foreman February 17, 2008 at 1:58 PM

    This is an excellent strategy. Does anyone on this board want to collaborate on developing a tool to sift through sites. It cannot be too hard to develop. Millions of domains have to be laying out there with zero activity and the owners would likely enjoy getting some cash to take them off their hands.

  67. fazal March 23, 2008 at 6:07 AM

    If you do not change the WHO-IS could there some confusion as to the actual owner of the domain. If at some future date the site is successful could there not be a danger of litigation with the original owner claiming rights to the site and domain?

  68. Peter March 24, 2008 at 9:06 PM

    I bought a couple of old sites too, they are both around 4 years old. I’ve noticed so far when writing new content, google ranks them much better almost immediately than a newer site. It will be interesting to see if the new pages improve as time elapses.

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