What’s in a name?
For the last three Odys spotlights I’ve done, what’s in a name has been stone-cold, high-authority links.
But sometimes, the opportunity available in an aged domain is… the age. And also the name.
So it is the case with OnlineReporter.com
Hello! I’m Sean Markey, an aged domain SEO expert, and I’m here to talk about OnlineReporter.com: the history, the authority, and some examples of what you can build with this premium aged domain.
Let’s get into it!
A Domain With A Big History
This domain was originally conceived of as a tech news site covering entertainment and tech topics, such as music, movie, PC, and consumer electronics.
From their original site:
“We equate ten minutes reading our content to an hour reading other technology news sources.”
Always nice to see a company being proud of what they offer.
The original site went live in 1999 which is like… 50 years old in internet years. The parent company (G2 News) published the site and, inexplicably, for a short time in the year 2,000 they redirected this domain to a subfolder on G2News.com, but quickly reverted it back to its own name shortly thereafter.
In 2011, the site was rebranded to focus more on providing research reports based on a subscription model, aiming to produce less free news articles like they did previously, and trying to put a premium on the information they researched and wrote about.
It went live in 1999 by its parent company G2 News. For some (unexplained) reason it was redirected to a subfolder on G2News.com for a short period in 2000, but then they reverted it back, doubling down on tech-related content, especially VR, HD Video, and broadband (you know, year 2,000 things)…
The story doesn’t end there.
In 2016 they rebranded AGAIN, offering a paid newsletter/subscription model plus some occasional free articles like they started with. They said their newsletter was the “weekly strategy briefing paper for people in the media and technology industries.”
The site was acquired by a UK research group in 2017 that changed the brand to Faultline Online Reporter and merged it with an existing tech site they owned but still used the OnlineReporter.com URL for this weird rebrand. On the site they said:
“ Faultline named from its study of technological disruptive shifts in digital media.”
Look, sometimes you just… you go for it and you completely miss the target. It’s happened to us all!
That was the end of the site, as it was parked with GoDaddy for a bit, and then someone put up a page trying to sell the domain based on the value of the links. The site was eventually acquired by Odys.
And that’s that.
“Okay, Sean, why did you just tell us all that? That was the most boring lecture since our lazy history teacher just read from the textbook for 45 minutes.”
Good point, but look. If you’re about to spend your hard-earned money, and your fleeting, never-get-it-back-again time you want to know what kind of name you’re getting. You don’t buy a used car without the CarFax and don’t buy an aged domain unless you know which neighborhood it’s been metaphorically hanging out in this whole time.
In this case, it has been a legitimate site for a while (however poorly branded), and was down for a bit, so there you go.
Time To Talk About Backlinks
Yes, links! Half the reason a name like this is interesting.
Here are the strong and most relevant (to the niches it has played in) links:
The BAD part, though, is that these links go to articles that are no longer live on the site (obviously—it’s just one page at the moment.
People: this is the most important thing you can do to your aged domain.
Yes, this is a quick tangent because it’s SO IMPORTANT and I talk to SO MANY PEOPLE that don’t know to do this, so here you go: a $10,000 tip…
Look for the big URLs and find out what page they are linking to.
If you see they are linking to page on a topic you eventually want to write about, publish that piece of content first. Capture that authority directly, don’t let it 404.
If you absolutely will not be recreating that page (which there are hundreds of legitimate reasons not to), then 301 it to another valuable page, or a related page, or the /blog page, or SOMETHING. Don’t just let it does.
I use the Ahrefs tool “Best By Links” to find the most linked-to pages to make sure they are accounted for somehow:
A Quick Word About the SEO Power of This Name
Look, I’ll never lie to you. As powerful domains go, this one is a bit on the lower side–especially when compared to some of my earlier Spotlight columns.
But that’s partially why I picked this name–to outline some of the nuances behind how an aged domain can be valuable.
Make no mistake: this name has some great links and will definitely lend whatever site you build upon it some authority.
Let’s talk about what I would do with this domain if I was building something on it.
What I Would Do With This Domain If I Was Building Something On It
There are a few different paths to take depending on what you might find interesting, so here are some ideas:
Online _______ Reporter
Pick a niche, something you’re crazy passionate about, like:
- Rare Aquarium Fish
Then, just be THE PLACE that has all the stories. Your URL will be fairly generic, but it will be immediately seen as a highly valuable brand (IMO) and will open doors that may not otherwise have been open to you.
One example of this is the domain news site DomainNameWire.com. Run by Andrew Alleman (a domain investor), DNW is THE place to go for domain industry news. Look at the backlinks that the site has—he could rank for anything he wanted to (related to domains). The site is monetized through ads as the audience is very niche and exactly who all these domain advertisers are trying to reach.
MarijuanaMoment.net (mentioned above) is another example of this. There’s a team in place now, but it started off with just one guy, Tom Angell writing about breaking cannabis news. It’s a huge site now that easily makes five figures per month with newsletter and site sponsorships.
So this is the first path I might take with this site. The domain is strong enough to take on whatever niche you want, and you could definitely start SUPER niche and work your way out to broader tech (for example: covering only Apple products at first and building things to where you cover all the tech). Actually, that last example is probably the best use case for this site, with all of the tech authority this site already has in its history.
A Two-Step Plan to Become A Link-Earning Juggernaut
As I said, this is a domain name that I think can open some doors for you and allow you to build some interesting things.
For this one, I’d lean heavily on the site’s great URL and build a site that published various reports on interesting things (I know, super sophisticated idea). But if you pick topics that are fresh and capture a lot of interest I think you can make a big play for attention and links. Since that sounds super vague and generic I’ll hit you with an example.
When Stranger Things season 4 came out, there was a huge amount of interest and conversation around Kate Bush’s song “Running Up That Hill.” If you had this domain with a great URL and some existing authority (and a site that had some content on it, at least) you might do some quick work reaching out to Spotify or whoever the relevant spokesperson for Kate Bush is to try and get some data about streaming numbers, or a quote from the artist about the success the song is having again. You could look at Youtube music video views, Spotify play count, record sale data and put together a quick piece on the song’s success.
Yeah, HuffPo might be doing that as well, but YOU are going to write an article with your knowledge of SEO and try to get that thing ranking.
The second approach here is to do some outreach, once it’s published. Get HuffPo and RollingStone and other big brands to link to your article when they write about it. If you put together all the data, you’ll have done some valuable work for them, and I think there’s a strong non-zero chance you can get some killer links this way.
You can do the same for things like:
- food recalls
- big storms hitting the country (like the recent absolutely devastating storm that it Buffalo, NY several weeks ago
…and so on. Just be quick, write for SEO, and do some outreach. I think this could be a solid play to build an audience and get links (which will help you grow and get more audience). Once you’ve got an audience you can just… do anything you want.
Not every idea for an aged domain has to be an affiliate site…
This brings me to my last suggestion:
Build An Affiliate Site
It’s not rocket surgery, right?
You’ve got a strong, aged domain, some authority… it’s primed and ready for an affiliate site build-out.
What should your topic be?
Given the site’s previous history in the tech space, I’d 100% heartily recommend you stick to tech and do something related to that niche.
You can talk about literally reporting or broadcasting, write articles about the best microphones, best DSLR cameras, best lighting setup, etc. You can keep it general tech and talk about products that maybe aren’t going to have level 99 competition (like, yo, no one is going to read your iPhone review and buy an iPhone through your site, sorry). You can write about things that are less popular, like new interesting accessories, new apps/games/software.
Find yourself a niche and be the Online Reporter of those products.
Build A Site For Journalists
Okay, the last idea, swear to god.
Look at a site like clippings. me or Muckrack — pretty straightforward: it’s a place for journalists to collect their bylines for display. OnlineReporter.com is a dope domain that can definitely carry a site like that. It’ll take some work, sure, but I think there’s space to do something interesting with sites like that. What can you do, scrappy and bootstrapped that they cannot?
Look at the links sites like that get. Once you ratchet up the authority of your backlink profile like that, you can start targeting all kinds of competitive keywords (as long as you got that topical relevance).
I just think the name lends itself super well to a play like that, and that’s interesting to me because there are a low number of competitors in a space like that, but it’s clearly a thing that people use and find useful.
Wrapping it up
Two thousand words later… this was quite the long piece. But it’s an interesting name, with some solid authority, and I think there is a lot of potential for this one.
As with all the other names I’ve written about, if you end up buying this holler at me, I’ll hop on the phone with you a do a consulting call/answer whatever questions you may have as you get rolling.