Introduction: hyphenated vs non-hyphenated domain names

A Link Bait Idea - Public Domain imageEver wondered why I preferred using an hyphen for this domain name?

OK, may be the hyphen-less wasn't available at the time, but one of the reasons is I wanted to avoid ambiguity in the way a domain could be read.

A recurring wave of blog articles goes with the title "Worst Domain Names Ever". They usually are lists of domain names composed by a concatenation of more words that - depending on how you group the letters - can be read also in an undesired, unintentional, sometimes embarrassing alternate way.

A case study:

Bloggers often do actually link such domains, with dofollow link.

Worst Domain Names Ever
Worst Domain Names Ever links are often followed

One now famous case, where this idea stems from, is the domain

Back on 2003 it was an Italian site for a company operating in the power supply business; eventually the site was dismissed, to be on 2011 recycled for... well, guess what, another kind of business.

Power Gen Italia web site on 2003
Power Gen Italia web site on 2003

Today, as I said, the site is about another kind of business I'm not going to link.

What can we learn from this case?

When the new business took place, back when Google didn't discard links to parked domains, it inherited a rich portfolio of inbound links, with no suspicious anchor text, from a good variety of domains, often followed, and from content pages. Kind of ideal in Penguin times!

And here comes the Link Bait idea

OK, time to reveal the Link Earning idea.

  • The hardest part first: invent a funny, ambiguous domain name. It has to be related to your niche, but should also be readable in another inconvenient, inappropriate name. It has to sound like a real business name the owners didn't give enough thought.
    It has to be sooo bad to be able to rank high on any top-N worst domain name board.
    Squeeze your creativity. Rule of thumb: the worst, the better.
  • Then register the domain name, and prepare a Coming Soon page.
    No need in this particular case to return an HTTP 503 "Service Unavailable" code, an HTTP 200 "OK" is fine, but make it look like a real business site in your own niche.
    The more serious it look, the greater the supposedly-unintentional comical effect.
  • Then start signaling it on forums and social media sites, linking to it and saying "Hey, look these m____s did" (just don't say it's you who did it!).
    It has to go viral, and if you worked well with the previous steps, it will.
  • Wait for some time, wait for bloggers to link to it to look more funny.
    Keep an eye on the link profile.

...and when you feel the time is right, you can do one of the following two things:

  • You could redirect 301 to your site.
    It normally is the best option to move a site, but people might stop linking to you if the fun is over.
  • Or you could just slightly change the page to keep it fun, make it state "We moved..." and link - just only one link on the page, to gather all the link juice - to your real site.
    The down side is you would officially recognized as the m___n, but there always is a price to pay.


In Penguin times, Link Building has to leave place to Link Earning, and paying the above mentioned price, you would really earn your links!
Do you have the creativity and guts to try it?