Google manual penalty domains: are they worth buying?

Recently I bought a domain which was apparently Google banned: it was blocked from parking and not indexed by Google, although indexed in Bing. Still, it possessed a pagerank 5 with outstanding DA and PA values. It used to be a very popular site with still some referral traffic. Originally it was a site with high quality content, however, last year the site was used for spamming purposes. The domain was for sale at a fixed and relatively low price. I bought the domain with the intention of trying to waive the penalty and see if the domain’s strength can be restored.

After taking the ownership of the domain, it became clear from the Webmaster tools that it is manually banned. The reason was that the domain is a pure spam having automatically generated content from other websites, which violates Google’s Webmaster Guidelines.

The previous owner used the domain it in bad faith as revealed by Webmaster Tools

The previous owner used the domain it in bad faith as revealed by Webmaster Tools

As I already had a web application developed for more than a year which has not been published elsewhere, I used the banned domain for the application. Thus, I had high quality unique code and unique design. Then I requested a review after I made sure that the site complies with all points of the guideline. Surprisingly, after 3 days my application was rejected. In this case the site’s content (which was the reason for the ban) clearly satisfied Google Webmaster Guidelines, so what could be the reason for not waiving the ban? I thought of two reasons:

  1. When the site was used for spamming purposes, it got spammy links as well. However, no such links were observed in Webmaster Tools.
  2. I have dozens of domains, and I do not use Whois protection, so this information of me being a domainer is easily accessible. Could that be a disadvantage? Google might think that I bought the domain solely for SEO purposes which is against their guidelines. However, most probably this was not the reason – rather that it is extremely hard to recover de-indexed domains.

My intention was to give it a one try, I did not want to waste my time with dozens of repeated review requests.

Manual penalties usually come from a bad backlink profile. If the domain is hit by that, there are more tools to help: first, Google demands that the webmaster makes an effort to remove the spammy links by making a list of bad links pointing to the domain and proving that effort was taken to contact the domain owners in order to get rid of those links. As a last resort Google disavow tool can be utilized as to ask Google not to consider irrelevant bad links.

However, in my case penalty came from spam content and the domain was already de-indexed in Google at the time of the purchase. Usually at that point the chances of waiving the penalty are very, very low.  Thus, I think that most domains are simply not worth the effort it takes to get the penalty removed.