Bill Slawski wrote a blog post about what famous social media websites were before they are what they are now. Those on the list include:
I thought it was interesting to see what these websites were before they were the famous and popular sites that they are now. Then it dawned on me, could the histories of these websites come back and haunt them?
I doubt that any of these sites will suffer any lasting reputation damage due to a failed business model of the past, but it is important to point out that if you buy a used domain name, it could be damaging to your business model if that older domain has been involved in shady or black hat SEO tactics. Link selling and other nefarious promotional tactics will be attributed to that domain name and you could start off on the wrong foot, with the deck stacked against you before you even get started.
All that last paragraph really means is that you should do your due diligence before you purchase any domain names.
So what about that reputation? I think, once successful it doesn’t matter. If a previous business model for a domain name doesn’t work out it likely won’t affect what your website is today. There may be exceptions to that rule, but you should analyze any business model from every angle before you implement it. Sometimes a bad idea is just a bad idea and there is no real reason for failure.