In Praise of Great Domains and the Wayback Machine

Filed in Small Biz Marketing, Web Site Content by Matt McGee on January 17, 2019 0 Comments
Our new real estate web site.

If you’re in a real estate, as my wife and I are, you can’t do much better than getting a domain name that looks like [yourcity] In my experience, that’s a very common search query and having an exact-match domain is pretty much never a bad idea.

The problem is that all of these domains have been registered for years and completely unavailable. So that’s why you see some real estate agents with domain names that have 20-30 characters and/or combine 4-5 words. It can be pretty ridiculous.

Imagine my shock, then, when I somehow stumbled on an (almost) perfect domain for a Tri-Cities real estate agent: I had to do a double-take when it showed up as available. And then I think I did another double-take.

If I’m nitpicking, I’d prefer no hyphen in the domain … but that wasn’t gonna stop me from grabbing the domain right away. I did, and here we are just three days later with an active domain where people can find Tri-Cities homes for sale, save searches, get property alerts and all that stuff.

Domain History

While putting the real estate web site together, I kept wondering about the domain’s history — as you always should when you buy a new domain. It can be troubling to buy a domain that has a checkered history (i.e., spammy content, bad reputation, etc.).

So I went over to the Wayback Machine, typed in the URL and was quite fascinated by what I found out:

  • The domain was in use as far back as August 2000 by a local real estate agent whom I’ll call Sam.
  • By 2003, the domain was being used by another agent. I’ll call her Patty.
  • A year later, Patty added another agent to the website. Let’s call her Carly.
  • By 2009, only Carly’s name was on the website.
  • In 2013, the domain started redirecting to a different real estate-related domain — one that I didn’t recognize. ( has no history for this other domain.)
  • By 2015, that redirect had gone away, and so had the web site. It was just a blank page.
  • In 2017, it was redirecting to Sam’s new web site. The same Sam who owned the domain originally.

And that’s the last record the Wayback Machine has.

It turns out that “Sam” is now retired and still living in the Tri-Cities. I guess he just never bothered to renew the domain and, most amazingly, none of the professional domain buyers/sellers picked it up when it became available.

Their loss is our gain. I’m super excited to own such a fantastic domain for a Tri-Cities real estate web site!! And I’m grateful for the Wayback Machine and the fascinating things you can learn there about a domain/web site’s history.

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