Ben is my hero. He helped me recover a bunch of content from an old blog I regret abandoning. I'm hoping others can benefit from the information Ben shared with me, and is now sharing with you through this post. Thanks for this post, Ben.
What is the Wayback Machine?
Recently Carol Williams posted that she had let her domain name expire some years ago. I have experience in tracking down old websites and putting them back together, so I messaged her to see what the domain was to see if we could start the rebuilding process.
First I checked the domain whois information to see if it was registered, and it was. Someone in NC owns it. To get this information I use whois.icann.org
Icann is the organization that handles all domain records. One could reach out to see if it could be purchased, but looking through the history there was some Chinese use and the domain has probably been flagged as spam. More on that in a minute.
Rebuilding the domain is possible, but it can be an uphill battle getting it back to its former glory.
Next step was the wayback machine to see if we can salvage the posts and sites to either rebuild on a current page, or if the original domain was available, rebuild the old expired domain.
The Wayback Machine can be found at https://archive.org/web/
There is an option for you to save your current page on their homepage on the right. I did it with my website HavenRealtyFL.com just as a safety precaution. Not a bad idea as this makes them aware of your site. They also offer paid services to back up on a regular basis if you aren’t already backed up elsewhere.
Looking in the last few years it looks like the sites former popularity was used in a PBN or Private Blog Network for back linking efforts. Then a Chinese owner used it, probably for the same reason, resulting in what I’d assume is a spam flag from Google. It looks like the site was picked up pretty quickly after it expired and used for a few years before being ditched all together.
So whats next for Carol?
The wayback machine has 117 saves of her old site, so she can go in and retrieve what was there and add it to her current page. In this situation I’d probably recommend leaving the old domain out of it, unless you can get it for cheap and sit on it for a while/rebuild and try and remove the spam flag, but that time may be better spent on a current page, or a new page so you are starting from scratch, not in the red.
Hope this helps!