It’s in Googles Patent… but not the end of the story! Googles Patent application became public information according to United States Patent Application 20050071741 on March 31, 2005 Serial No.: 748664 Filed: December 31, 2003.
That day I went home to read the legalize mixed with geek speak and attempt to make whatever sense I could out of it… and I have to confess, I still find myself re-reading it;)
When I got to Section  Domain-Related Information I was very interested indeed because I knew it could effect hundreds that I manage Domain Name Service (DNS) for. Before I share the details of the story of how I tested the sole value of the prepaid domain issue on Google and in my mind, I’d like to quote the Patent Application with a special attention to item  Oliver Wood:
 Certain signals may be used to distinguish between illegitimate and legitimate domains. For example, domains can be renewed up to a period of 10 years. Valuable (legitimate) domains are often paid for several years in advance, while doorway (illegitimate) domains rarely are used for more than a year. Therefore, the date when a domain expires in the future can be used as a factor in predicting the legitimacy of a domain and, thus, the documents associated therewith.
About the time I re-read this the second time, I grabbed my cell phone to telephone my Business Manager. – LOL
I told him, I discovered something really simple and one of the few things that will cost a few bucks, but then, it’s all relative.
One thing that everyone who knows anything about Google is that they are all about not promoting spammers! Since Spammers or fly by night get rich quick idiots use throw away domains, they never invest in their domains future… I may even have slapped myself on the forehead for the simplicity that this one little thing which makes so much sense.
I discussed with my manager peer the possibility to not test over a 9 month period because I’m just as needy as my clients are to do good on the ‘net, but to do it over a quarter of a year. The following day I proposed paying for three additional years, then a month later three more, then on the third month the remaining four so that I might better measure the results. We also determined that since we’ve had a decade to prepare our site, we could not make any other changes to so much as a single web page what-so-ever. No dotted i’s or crossed t’s because I love that humor in these days of technology. I knew that this test wouldn’t fall into the scientific quality, but figured the results could be measured, in any regard.
Now at this point I need to share the string I was trying hard to “own” for just too long a period. I’d been working on the string “National Internet Service Provider” since 2004 but just couldn’t get above page 40. Yep, not 40th place, but rather the 40th page, and I thought I knew what I was doing, because I did have over decade of experience behind me.
Ten to fourteen days after pre-paying three additional years, I did my Google research and discovered I made it to page 20. As far as I could tell that represented a 100% improvement! It was all I could do to wait another couple of weeks to pay for another three…
So when the second month rolled around, I promptly paid another three years making the total only 6 years in advance so far. Geez-O-whizo, I found myself at the bottom of page one, about 7th to 10th place. You can imagine my excitement and the even stronger desire yet to just go ahead and pay for the rest… but no, I knew that some day a story would come from the experience that would potentially benefit anyone interested. It seems enough people have asked me over the years how to do better in the engines, so mot it be.
On the third month, the remaining four years was paid giving config.com a full decade of prepayment. It was at this point we reached the number one spot for that string I wanted so badly of “National Internet Service Provider”. Of course, a few calls and extra mail started to flow also. The down side for the Internet service business is that our bread and butter was established with traditional dial-up Internet access which has been migrating to broadband cable, DSL, and wireless. In the course of tweaking our site to reflect the commercial interest which we had maintained since 1993 on the ‘net, we started getting more commercially oriented calls. To our surprise, even from a few big companies that were looking for various access solutions to transmit cash register receipts, medical data, single source ISP billing, etc..which included dial-up National access.
Once we were established on the top ten, we also started gaining click through to our pages which also gained page rank and in the end, many other strings started moving to the top ten also. One should also assume that just because the domain was paid in advance, they need not do anything else toward maintaining any degree of quality SEO, without the many other things that can effect the final placement rank! I like to say there are many little simple things that need to be thought of as an element of a web page. It’s not getting them all done overnight but rather getting the important easy ones out of the way first, and move on to the next!
I might also add that how fast prepayment may work for you, compared to my story, I’d suggest getting the basic minimum prerequisites out of the way at the creation of each page! I also like to compare domain pre-payment like buying an ad in a local newspaper that will run only one day and may generate a worthy result of a few calls, to, like having an advertisement that will bring results for a decade! All you have to do is keep paying every year on the anniversary date of yoru domain, for another year, and have the other elements of SEO in place and you too can “own” your piece of Google placement.
Now that a couple of years has passed since we learned the value of pre-paid domains, we made several discoveries which we like to call SEO trade secrets. For the sake of completeness, added credibility, and of course some humor, I’ll share a couple.
My marketing Guru and I sat one day and thought of all the big name companies in technology we could fill up a legal pad full line by line. Then we went to domaintools.com and started to perform a whois on them. To our great surprise Google being at the top of the list and the owner of the Patent only had there paid for a few years in advance. As of this writing at http://whois.domaintools.com/google.com it Expires: 2011-09-14… I guess Google doesn’t need to promote themselves or has special code that favors their pages which I also doubt.
It’s really exciting to see our company above such as Microsoft for different Internet business strings, whom to their credit had their domain paid for farther in advance than any of the other companies we researched which Expires: 2014-05-03! I’ve wondered however if their motive wasn’t SEO related but to the embarrassment they suffered when they purchased Hotmail back around 1999 and failed to renew their $35.00 annual domain fee. The Hotmail domain expired and millions of users were without email until a nice young Linux Geek paid it for them. I always loved that story enough to smile knowing even a huge multi-Gazillion dollar company can make a simple mistake which can cause so much potential harm, integrity certainly, and otherwise!
As long as the big boy public companies are spending millions more toward their on-line advertising each year than on their SEO, I guess the small guys still have a chance in the World of E-commerce! I get the biggest grin every time I see Verizon paying their $8.00 per click out of their 1.3 billion dollar advertising budget for 2007 knowing they have a lot more money than me, and that the knowledge one can possess can still allow online competition….