Domain names are, in many ways, the internet’s ‘Real Estate’.
The majority of people who run a website will have bought the domain name that they use.
Other people, traders, buy large numbers of domain names in order to sell on for profit.
Unfortunately, as with most things in life, fraud often follows the money trail and domain names are no exception.
Valuing Domain Names
There are many factors that can affect the value of any given domain name –
- the length of the domain name (the shorter the better in most cases)
- the TLD, i.e. whether or not it is a .com as opposed to a .info, for example
- any keywords that are in the domain name
- any traffic that the domain may currently attract
- the ‘page rank’ value assigned to the domain by Google.
In some cases a combination of the above can lead to a domain being worth millions of dollars.
Most of those factors are absolutes but one that can change is Pagerank.
One way that Google ‘values’ each domain name in it’s search results is by its content and the number and quality of sites that link to it.
Subsequently, every web page is assigned a pagerank on a scale of 0 – 10.
Many webmasters obsess over this figure (personally, I don’t!) and try to obtain as high a page rank as they can for their site.
Achieving a high level pagerank is not easy and so some prefer to but domain names that already have the rank that they require.
As you may have guessed, the higher the pagerank, the more value that a domain name holds.
Resell values for high pagerank domain names can be very high, reaching the thousands of dollars mark, if not higher.
Owners of high pagerank sites can often recoup much of their outlay through selling links and other advertising space in addition to their core business.
Faking The Pagerank
Knowing this, fraudsters have developed ways in which the pagerank of a domain name can be faked.
To cut a long story short, fraudsters will permanently redirect the domain name to another website with a high pagerank and then, after a while, Google will assign the legitimate website’s pagerank to the domain name.
The fraudsters will then remove that redirect before attempting to sell the domain name to a buyer, hoping that Google doesn’t update its page rankings again before the sale goes through.
An uninformed buyer may end up purchasing such a domain name for good money only to find that it becomes close to worthless next time Google updates the publicly available pagerank figures.
How To Identify Fake Pagerank
The quickest and easiest way to check if the pagerank of a given domain is legitimates is to use Google themselves.
Type the following into Google –
– where ‘thedomain’ is the actual domain name you wish to check.
This Google search should only return only one result.
If you are presented with information about the domain you are checking then the domain name was not redirected.
On the other hand, if the domain name was redirected elsewhere then you will see that information here and you will then know that the pagerank figure you’ve been quoted is likely fake.