Does the change of a domain name ownership, i.e. the whois records, by itself, have an effect on the site's rankings? For example, if I sell domainA.com, with the content and everything as is. And if the new owner does not make any changes to domainA.com, but rather continues the same old daily work on the site as the previous owner. But the only change the new owner makes is that the domainA.com name is now registered under a different name. In that case, would you see a downgrade or upgrade in rankings, on those changes alone?
A WebmasterWorld thread seems to support the answer of NO to that question. A domain name registration change, in of itself, will not have an effect on ones rankings.
I've sold a few sites with number one rankings, and the change to the whois/server/ip etc. has had no effect, they still rank perfectly after many months. I see no proof to suggest otherwise.
Forum discussion at WebmasterWorld.