If you want to buy a domain, you check in different ways if it is free and buy it if it is available. If the desired domain is already taken, you might try to get hold of another domain extension or a variation of the domain. If domain traders are sitting on the domain, you can also try to buy it. However, this can be a very expensive affair.
At the end of the day, the most important thing is to be able to call the desired domain (a suitable domain or a variation of it) for your company or new product your own.
Yay! I have a domain! :)
What you often do not think about at first:
A free domain can have a history and a classification based on its domain history.
And this history can negatively influence the own website and the own ranking even after years.
Why do we know this so well? Well, because the domain syssy.net also has a history. Many many years ago, there was an adult website on this domain, which was not so well ranked worldwide. We found this out only after some time, when we received feedback from users that the website was partially blocked by firewalls.
Of course, we started looking for the cause and found out relatively quickly that the website of many services such as OpenDNS or Cisco had been placed in a category that we do not want to mention here.
After initial annoyance, the problem still had to be solved. There were two ways to solve this problem:
- A domain transfer to an alternative domain
- Try to whitelist the domain
A domain move was actually not a real option, since work was already being done on the Google ranking, and elaborate software and server configuration would have to be carried out. That is, we decided to go for the second option, which was to make the domain a trusted domain.
Although Google usually cries out about every little thing via Search Console, it didn't even begin to detect a problem with this one. So, Google ranking was not affected by this miscategorization on various services. The only thing that happened was that with some internet providers the domain syssy.net was blocked and a not so nice notice came up why the website is blocked.
We deliberately do not want to mention the specific categorizations and references here, so as not to attract attention with negative keywords again. :D
If you find that your domain is blocked, you can take the following steps to "save" your domain.
1. Check the domain history
The first place to look for what used to happen on a domain is the wayback machine. The wayback machine is an archive of countless websites that you can search for your domain. You can view snapshots of the website under your domain at different points in time in the past. The web doesn't lose anything and that's sometimes really bitter when you click through the first web projects you set up tens of years ago. :D
Anyway, you can look at different snapshots of the site over the years and see if there was content on the domain at some point that might not have been all that great. Yes, you can take a look at syssy.net in 2005/2006, then you will understand why this blog entry came about.
Furthermore, you can look at the domain history at a service like whoisrequest.com. But here you can only see when the domain pointed to which server and that actually gives little information about what content the website had under the domain in question.
Checking the domain and the history makes sense BEFORE buying the domain.
2. Check the domain for categorization
If the domain is incorrectly categorized, it may be blocked by various firewalls.
There are different databases that store information about the domains and make it available via API for firewalls, for example.
The trick is to reach as many of these databases as possible, check the domain, and if necessary, request domain re-categorization.
We have summarized some of these services here - with no guarantee of completeness:
Enter your domain in all these services and you will see the categorization that has been assigned.
3. What do you do if the domain is incorrectly categorized?
First of all, it is quite a lot of work to find out where the domain is incorrectly categorized and then to make sure that it is re-categorized.
For the re-categorization there is usually a form on the individual websites mentioned above that you can fill out directly to request a re-categorization. Of course, this only makes sense if you already own the domain and if there is already content available on the website. The websites will be checked if the recategorization is justified and if yes, the category will be changed. This can sometimes happen very quickly, even within a day.
In the case of syssy.net this worked quite well and we are (as far as we know) listed everywhere as Software, Technology or Business. For some services we had to ask twice and for some we had to take detours via the contact form. A later check of the domain after a recategorization request on the respective website makes sense in any case.
Ideally you check your domain history BEFORE you buy a domain.
But you can't always think of everything ;)