Project Cloudburst Case Study: Update #2 | Skipblast

Project Cloudburst Case Study: Update #2

It’s been six weeks since my last update on this case study.

Why so long?

Because I really wanted to give this site more time to turn around and start performing better.

And, because yesterday marks three months since the site has been live with the 100K words of content from Niche Website Builders.

Ready to see how things are going?

If you missed how this one started, here’s the first post about this case study.

What’s Happened Since The Last Update

In preparing for the worst, I spent some time looking for neglected small sites in this niche thinking that I could buy one and just move all the content over.

I ended up contacting several site owners asking if they wanted to sell their site.

A total of one site owner wrote me back and offered me a backlink.

Not exactly what I was after, but sure, why not.


That was February 15th and the backlink has not appeared, nor has any further communication from the site owner.

And, the same day that I posted the previous update to this case study, I picked one of the posts on this site and went through it to do a bit of a rewrite and better on-page optimization.

Six weeks later, and nothing to report on that front. So, wasted effort?

Also on that same day, I bought a fresh domain (never before registered) and copied all of the content to it.

I even copied the stuff NWB did to keep the niche relevancy of the aged domain.

At the same time, I left the content published and indexable on the aged domain.

I was curious what would happen with the same content on two different sites – one an aged domain and one a freshly registered domain.

Plus, my thoughts were that if the content would rank on the fresh domain, then that shows the problem is actually the aged domain.

So, indexing was really freaking slow on the fresh domain.

After two weeks, I ended up paying to use IndexMeNow to try to get the content indexed on the new domain.

That worked for some of the content, but not all.


The site still isn’t getting any traffic though, so that was essentially just wasted money.

But what IS interesting is that the content has some rankings on the fresh domain.

Here’s what my report from SerpRobot looks like today for the freshly registered domain –

serprobot fresh domain

So, while I’d love to see more posts ranking and better rankings overall, this is really nothing to be mad about since this is a fresh domain with zero backlinks.

Overall, I call that a win.

And, here is what it looks like for the aged domain today –

aged domain serprobot

Yeah, that’s not how this is supposed to work.

The aged domain with the kickass niche relevant backlinks is supposed to be crushing it not having an average ranking of 201.

So, that is definitely what I would classify as bad news.

I waited almost a year to find an aged domain in this niche and here I am doing better on a freshly registered domain – so I could have started this site a year ago and been seeing some revenue by now.

Fucking hell, eh?

But, the good news is that now I have confirmation that the domain is the problem.

After learning about the aged domain sandbox, I was hoping that this aged domain would pop once it hit three months of being rebuilt and live in Google.

Like I said earlier, that three month point was yesterday and this is still a dumpster fire.

Current Thoughts & Looking Forward

The crossroads that I am at now is do I trash the aged domain and just move forward with the fresh domain?

Or do I wait it out since I’ve heard tales of it taking up to 8 months for an aged domain to pop?

I’ve decided to push forward with the site on the fresh domain, as much as that pains me.


But at the same time, I’m going to keep the aged domain live so that if it does eventually pop, I will see that and then I will 301 it to the fresh domain.

I’ve haven’t really decided the best way to do this yet since I should really take down all of the content that I’ve moved, but at the same time I still need some content up on the aged domain.

I’ve also considered restoring a Wayback Machine archive to the aged domain to see if I can sort of reset things with the aged domain.

And I’m watching for other aged domains that I can buy and redirect to this fresh domain since it has zero power right now and I really wanted to avoid starting from scratch like this.

So, while I’m not where I wanted to be by now with this site, I will still be pushing forward (especially since I’ve already lost so much time).

But it just won’t be the case study that I thought I was doing.

9 thoughts on “Project Cloudburst Case Study: Update #2”

  1. Very interesting read!
    Thanks for the updates.
    I hate to ask you this question because there are so many other good questions I’d wanna ask you.
    You’re using Giphy GIFs and Re-hosting them on Imgur. Doesn’t that go against their license and copyright?
    I’m asking because I think it looks good on your site and I wanted to do the same thing on mine. Do you only do it on Skipblast or do you use GIFs on your other sites too?

    Kinda reminds me of the early internet ^.^

    • You know, copyright law around gifs is both really interesting and really complicated. So, technically who owns it? It’s not a simple answer because it includes the person who created it, the production studio for the show/movie, and some people say even the actors in the gif have an ownership claim. It’s also possible that sites like Giphy pay places like NBC, Disney, etc. for a license, but I kind of doubt that as I have first hand experience knowing the cost of licensing stuff like that in film (it’s not cheap). I also remember Giphy removing a bunch of baby Yoda gifs when they thought Disney might sue them (but I think they did go back up eventually). Technically every single time someone posts a gif that is not an original piece of worked created by them, then it is copyright infringement. Gifs are such a big part of culture these days that I don’t think most people have to worry about getting sued for using them, with these exceptions – if you’re using one to try to sell something (i.e. if Tai Lopez was using gifs to sell his shit) or if you were using them in a way to hurt the reputation of the copyright owner. So, to get back to your question, technically I should not be doing it, but also technically Giphy doesn’t own the gifs either. I think they’d have a hard time suing anyone over it. And yes, I do the same on other sites of mine. I also create my own gifs for my sites using stock video footage, when relevant.

      • I’m taking your word for it.
        Also, good idea there with using stock footage, it makes so much sense.

        I was trying to find answers elsewhere, but with this being in a greyzone, people say all kinds of things.

        Thanks for the reply, you’re far too kind!

  2. mmmh, interesting questions would be πŸ™‚

    1. What is NWB or odys saying about this case?

    2. Haven’t you used aged domains from odys before? But not together with a writing package from NWB, right? So, that was your first bad experience with aged domains out of roughly how many?

    I understand if you don’t like to answer these ones. Just very curious πŸ™‚



    (oh, and just in case you know a good writer who lives or lived in Las Vegas (like you), who can write travel articles, please let me know πŸ™‚ I’m having a hard time finding one πŸ™‚ )

    • Hey Mike,

      I bought this from NWB before they started working with Odys, so Odys is not a part of this transaction at all. Last I heard from NWB was in January, but I don’t really expect them to do anything about it because that’s the risk of aged domains. I did the due diligence on the domain and it checked out, but for whatever reason it is not working and there’s no way to know if it’s really just the domain or something they did before I got it. Though I can’t imagine they’d be doing anything to sabotage these domains since it wouldn’t look good for them. Likely just a fluke.

      Yes, I’ve bought aged domains from a variety of sources, but never had a fresh build on one with NWB content. I’ve had loads of failures with aged domains in general, though I think only one from Odys that is underperforming – and that one was a risky buy that I just wanted to get and test since it was cheapish (~$1500) and it may still pop yet as I’m currently adding content to it. Most of my failures came from other vendors.

      If you’re considering buying an aged domain, then my recommendation is currently to stick with Odys or buy it yourself via GoDaddy auctions.

      And sadly, I’ve got zero recommendations on the local writers front.

      • Thanks, Shawna, very helpful! I’m still torn between a ‘pure’ NWB writing package in combination with a fresh domain or NWB content + ODYS aged domain. Will decide soon πŸ™‚

        • I think going with something brandable is ideal, even if that’s a fresh domain. You can always 301 a good aged domain that’s not brandable to a fresh domain πŸ˜‰


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