Brett Tabke, founder of WebmasterWorld, created a thread at WebmasterWorld (1) placing the age of a domain a top five factor in Google rankings and (2) asking for hands on advice on what this exactly means. Here is Brett's post:
Most of us know that the age of a domain is one of the single most important criteria of the Google algo. I'd put it as a top ten - maybe top five - filter. It is a gate keeper. The real question to me is if that matters on a parked or doa domain? We have some domains 10years old this month that have never had sites on them. I am wondering if there is a default value there because of the age? Is it a pure whois thing? Or is a age of inbound links thing?
Now, here are some excerpts of responses to Brett's question:
I'm thinking that so many people own a warehouse of stockpiled domains for experiments and possible throw-aways that it can't be just a pure Whois thing. - Tedster
And likewise there are surely enough people who just threw up a blank index page (or even "Coming Soon") with a title that it can't be just age of domain...(or, if it is, there will be a rush of people searching for underconstruction.gif) - Stever
I think there is something to the domain age, but I think general history of the domain and pages and rate of change and ranking on similar terms means a LOT more. - BigDave
Those two are key factors. It is not just the age of the domain but also how long it has been in the index. I don't think parked domains count (much). Or do they?
Another factor, WhoIs turnover. Has that domain exchanged hands once, twice, thrice?
Age of inbound links.
All sorts of stuff. This is a loaded question. ;)
IMO whole "signals of quality" thing factors into the question of parked and dark domains. Right or wrong, we distinguish between the two kinds when it comes to potential for launching a new site. Based on our own experience/judgement/guesswork, if we think a newly acquired domain will be turned into a real site in the relatively near term, we do NOT allow the domain to resolve to a parked page.
IMO, age of domain matters, age of inbounds matter, age of inbounds is factored by quality of inbounds and growth pattern of inbounds (which can produce positiveor negative influence), templates matter, content matters, page update patterns matter (and sitewide issues play a role here), IP's matter.
Food for thought:
Forum discussion at WebmasterWorld.