The domain name Files.com recently sold for US $750,000 according to Domain Name Wire. Action Verb, LLC bought the domain name Files.com and, according to the landing page on the site, they plan on launching “powerful file management for businesses of every size”. Certainly $750,000 is a lot of money to spend, and it is a great domain name. But did Action Verb, LLC, do any due diligence on the domain name before they bought it?
Based on my quick assessment, they most likely didn’t due diligence on the domain name Files.com. Or, if they did, it’s quite possible that they used the current domain status as a bargaining chip to bring the price down to $750,000. Either way, let’s take a look at what I’d personally look at when doing due diligence on a domain name.
Look at the Links to the Domain Name
First, you’d want to take a look at the links. I use Majestic.com to review a domain name’s links. Let’s take a look at what the links to Files.com look like, and the link profile:
The domain Files.com has a Trust Flow of 27 and a Citation Flow of 27. With the Citation Flow being so high (it should generally be a lot lower), that’s an indication that there may be some lower quality links pointing to the site. Let’s take a look:
Just by looking at the anchor text overview of the links, I can see that there are over 4,000 bad links–spam links pointing to most likely pages that don’t exist on the site. That’s not a big deal, but I would still confirm that those subdomains and pages that are linked to from spammy sites don’t exist. If the page is a 404 and doesn’t exist, even though someone’s linking to it there won’t be a problem. So, you can ignore those links. If you’re still paranoid and want to make sure that you cover everything, then Files.com would disavow those domain names of those spammy links.
Review the Anchor Text of Links
The next thing I typically review is the anchor text of links that are pointing to the site. In Majestic, you can easily review the tag cloud of anchor text. In this case, in the case of Files.com, it looks like this:
The sites linking to Files.com currently didn’t look that bad, as they are linking to pages that don’t exist or probably never existed. As long as they don’t create subdomains that are being linked, they should be OK. But, take a look at that tag cloud. All I can say is “WOW!”. It looks to me like this domain name has been burned with spam links. Here’s just a few of the anchor text in links pointing to the site:
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I personally took a look at some of the sites using that anchor text in the links and it was definitely spammed–the links are still there. Currently, they’re pointing to pages that don’t exist on the site, which is good. The new site owner is most likely not going to use the URLS anymore on the site. But, further research on the domain through a Google search reveals that this domain, Files.com, used to host hacked content, pirated files, or both. Take a look, using this search query at Google:
Again, all I can say is “WOW!”. There are pages indexed in Google, and the top pages that they return aren’t very good. All I can think of is ‘piracy’ and ‘spam’. And that there is going to be a lot of work in order to clean up this link profile of Files.com, to make Google think of the domain in a better light. I wouldn’t be surprised if the site has a manual action because of the links pointing to the site.
Clean Up the Domain Before Launch
If Files.com wants to make sure that their site launch in 2019 goes smoothly, there are a few things that I would do:
- Verify the site in Google Search Console and review the data there. Look at crawl errors, manual actions, etc.
- Pull all of the backlinks using Majestic.com and disavow. Even though it’s not necessary, I’d still take the time to do that.
- Review the site’s log files to see if there are actually and GOOD links to save–by putting up a page on old URLs that have good links pointing to them.
- Identify old URLs that you don’t want right now or will never use. Use the Google URL Removal Tool to get rid of those URLs in the index.
The most important thing right now is to get enough of a site there on for Google to start thinking that the site is not about piracy, it’s not about the spam topic or topics of links that are pointing to the site. The quicker Files.com gets Google to think about the site as a service like the one Files.com is going to launch, the easier it will be when Files.com actually launches their site.
Other than links, I did take a look at the email blacklists to see if the domain is on any blacklists at the moment, and they aren’t, which is good. Files.com is most likely considered trademark-free, as it’s a generic word, but you never know–I’d also check the trademarks, as well.
I’ve seen, in the past, disasters happen when companies have bought domain names without doing the proper due diligence on a domain name. The case of Nuts.com comes to mind as one very public example. There are plenty of others. Links are a good place to start when doing due diligence of a domain name. If you’re not very technical or want some more assurance that a domain name you’re buying is free and clear of spam and any issues, check out Verified.Domains, the first-ever service that offers a complete domain name background check–the CarFax of domain names.