This is in response to a question a fellow Moz community member once asked in Q&A, and we thought that it deserved its own article. Buying up expired domains, or purchasing keyword-driven domains is becoming more popular amongst the internet "get rich quick" crowd. The big question is: Can you make a profit by buying and selling domain names? If you get the right one, sure. If you plan on repeating the process over and over, probably not.


Yes! Selling domain is an emerging trade and no wonder if it can develop into an exchange. www.DomainX.org has been initiated with this view. There are some good ideas in the comments regarding which names to buy and how to grow their value. However one must not forget that it also involves a recurring cost (annual renewal) and keeping many of them might become difficult if you are not really selling at least a few to cover it. Enjoy free listing at DomainX.org.
All very relevant points for anyone wanting to sell a domain name. Sometimes it is the basic points that we need to be reminded of in a transaction like this. What is the potential of selling a .com domain that has a relevant search term to a particular industry, but hasn’t been used on a website yet? So it is a good search term but no current traffic.

Hundreds of thousands of domains expire everyday. While most of them are trash, quite a few are aged domains having excellent backlinks. These can be easily filtered using metrics from Majestic (Trust Flow) & Moz (Domain Authority). These are great for your money sites or for building private blog networks. Some of these domains have natural organic traffic, that can be determined by their SEMrush rank or the SimilarWeb data. These are great for domain parking or for promoting affiliate offers.
As you can see just within expired domains they have over two million deleted .com domains. Now, this is obviously overwhelming if you’re trying to look for domains. So, you should use a few filters to make the search process a lot easier. To do that, click on the search filter button. Down here I like to click on the Only With A DMAS Entry because that just filters out sites that are really spammy. For sites that that have been in DMAS ever, it means that the site had to be of some quality.
Since search engines regard inbound links as recommendations, these links have a decisive influence on the ranking. The search engine definitely doesn’t appreciate link networks and won’t give new projects a jumpstart by allowing a former website’s backlink profile to be used when registering a new domain. Using an expired domain is like playing with fire, where the worst case scenario is that you’ll be penalized or be excluded from the search index.
The "Domain Lists" and the "TLDs" filter are now static and not created dynamic based on the current search. Turns out creating these 2 filters dynamically was slowing down the search tremendously. It even made certain requests impossible. For example now you can do a dot search that affects all .com domains and get a result with over 150mio domains in reasonable time. I'm also working on a new search cluster that will make searching even faster (not released yet).

Most popular auctions with expiring domains are at godaddy, namejet, snapnames. Search for expired domains name its very easy if you have domains list. With a bit luck, you can drop good one with PR5 cheaper like $200, just need to know which domain have not fake pr. List of domains are not free, but updated dailly with aprox. 50.000 new expiring domain names.
As far as flipping domains for a profit is concerned, there are certain domain names that are worth a lot of money. For instance, Hotel.com and Business.com have been reportedly sold for $11 million and $7 million respectively. Now even though coming across such golden domain names seems more like a long shot, you can still make a decent amount of money if you choose to buy and sell domains as a part-time business opportunity.

We do not only have Expired Domains, but you can also find lists of Deleted Domains for a lot of TLDs. Deleted Domains or Dropped Domains are available for registration and can be picked up for just the normal regfee at your preferred domain registrar! All Domains have the typical SEO relevant data, like Number of Backlinks, Archive.org Birth Date and a lot more.


What you really want to do first is scroll down to where it says, referring pages for anchor phrases. All that is is the anchor text distribution to that site. As you can see here this looks like a very natural link profile. Brand name, a product that they had, no text, URL, shopping cart, wireless government. These are the keywords that were related to what that site was about. Okay?
Chris takes us through his stages of domain investing: educating himself, antique picking previously owned dropped domains, buying brandable expired domains and his first 2 profitable flips. We touch on the tough topics of frontrunning and GoDaddy expired auction changes, plus the 4 letter word of domainers, CALL- with Chris’ current 100% success rate on phone calls!
One of the easiest ways to make money online is by buying something for a low price and selling it for a higher price.  It is even better when you don’t need to pickup or ship a product.  Today I’m going to talk about how to make money online by flipping domain names and how I personally have made tens of thousands of dollars in the past year doing this.
@ib2 @T-3D I've been a domain investor for over 10 years and have been very successful at it. There's a lot more that goes into it then just registering a domain name and hoping it will sell. You can list your domains on Godaddy auction listings or on premium listings, I've had a lot of success with those. Some good resources are namebio.com, dnjournal.com, namepros.com and others.
Really depends on whether you want it to be passively marketed or actively pitched to investors and buyers, as well as how fast you want it sold. It also depends on what you're selling. What you're selling is only worth ANYTHING if there is an interested buyer. And it's only worth what the buyer is willing to pay for it at the time you want to sell it, not what you currently owe on your RV. This is a common misperception among folks trying to value domains before sale - they pick some nebulous method of pricing it that is not based on the market or history or sector demand, but rather on what a vacation costs or how much they owe on their boat. Good luck with that. So it really depends. If you have something that you feel has demand, you'll potentially get a higher price for it by NOT needing to short sell it quickly for cash and being able to wait while a broker packages and pitches it. 60-90 days. That will always get a higher price than just listing it in a database and hoping someone will see it and be interested. The problem is, good brokers are few and you're going to need to see if they will represent you in the sale. If they don't believe they can sell it at all, or they don't believe they can sell it for what you owe on your boat, they'll decline your offer to do business with you because you're being unrealistic.
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The backlink profile of a recently-available domain is a double-edged sword. While some expired domains have been well cared for by their previous owners and have high-quality links from reputable websites, some contain quite questionable backlinks. The worst case scenario is that the domain was merely used as a link farm to strengthen a major project in a satellite domain network and has already been penalized by some search engines.

Here’s what you DON’T want to do: Target prospective buyers based on their perceived economic status, without any insight into the industry you’re targeting. “Lawyers seem to do well,” you think, “maybe I should start selling names to them.” So you rush out and buy a bunch of domain names you think would appeal to the law firms you’ve identified as potential buyers. Without knowledge of the space, you may not know that the American Bar Association and other industry-specific organizations set rules that govern some aspects of legal advertising. You’re not going to strike gold selling names your target buyers can’t use.

When you backorder the domain it will say how long you have to place your bid in. Let’s say it says 25 days. If the domain is from one of Namejet’s partners then the auction will start in 2-3 days. If this is an expiring domain and Namejet has to catch it there is a chance they won’t catch it in which case it won’t go to auction at Namejet. If they do catch it then 2-3 days before the auction starts.
Most of the website owners interested in an expired domain that has existing traffic, backlink and good SEO metrics. This kind of domain more likely gets buyer easily since it has a plus value for search engine optimization purpose. You can find high-quality expired domains that have SEO metrics by using BuycomDomain - The Expired Domain Search Tool for free, as seen in the picture below.
Just because something is legal does not make it ethical. While things that are legal can and often are ethical, there are practices like domain name flipping that are not ethical. Buying a domain name without intending to use it to make profit creates an unnecessary industry which costs people money and reduces general productivity and economic growth. This is the same with all practices that cost people money but do not contribute any value, most notably corruption. If we eliminated such practices our economic growth increases and general wealth is increased because our money is paying people for things that add to our lives and our communities. This does not. Evessariky reglect badly in people who choose to engage in such practices, but is a result of regulatory failure.
However, I'd argue that most people in the business really struggle as they don't understand what makes a good domain name and what's a bad domain name. While I do not work in this field full-time, I can say that I can make a living of it, but it's probably because I don't ask for absurd prices (e.g. randomword247.com domain name for $8000 is just unrealistic and won't happen) and therefore can sell domains easier. 

The second option requires a bit more time and effort than a 301 redirect. You could do a mini overhaul of the site and turn it into a microsite for your main domain. This option is good for exact-match domains for your targeted keyword, and there are other reasons for going the microsite route that Rand's highlighted in his post about root domains, subdomains, subfolders and microsites. This strategy also works better if the old domain has decent rankings for the keywords you're targeting.
Just because something is legal does not make it ethical. While things that are legal can and often are ethical, there are practices like domain name flipping that are not ethical. Buying a domain name without intending to use it to make profit creates an unnecessary industry which costs people money and reduces general productivity and economic growth. This is the same with all practices that cost people money but do not contribute any value, most notably corruption. If we eliminated such practices our economic growth increases and general wealth is increased because our money is paying people for things that add to our lives and our communities. This does not. Evessariky reglect badly in people who choose to engage in such practices, but is a result of regulatory failure.

Thanks for the great review on domain flipping. I could definitely see myself getting into domain flipping down the road. I constantly find myself thinking of domains that are probably worth buying. But the way you have presented and analyzed which keywords get the most page views makes it more like long term investing. I also never considered trying to market the domain names or that Adsense money could be generated. Thanks for sharing and good luck with your domains!
Domain name sellers are advised to use Sedo.com to list their domain name. The real advantage with Sedo.com is the mandatory escrow service that comes with every transaction. The site charges the seller a commission of 15% per transaction or USD 50, whichever is higher, for domain names featured on the site. Sellers who do not list with Sedo.com but would like to use their escrow service will have to pay the minimum transaction fee of USD 50, or 3% of the transaction, whichever is higher.
If you know how to get websites to page one, why are you not marketing that fact to potential clients and consumers or would-be domain purchasers? Trying to get a keyword driven domain to rank high and sell it off for a profit isn't a good investment, either time wise or for the long-term success of your company. Instead, use sites that you have already ranked high as an example of how awesome you are and sign them up for a monthly fee, rather than trying to sell them a "make money now" domain.
As mentioned earlier, knowing the potential value of a domain name is an invaluable skill. By adhering to basic guidelines such as those I listed above and through some of your own research, you’ll be able to pick names that offer you a higher chance of flipping them more easily. Remember, a net profit of $100 is still a profit, you must start somewhere.
This is similar to house flipping, where a home is purchased and fixed up in order to sell for a quick profit. Unlike house flipping, however, there is essentially nothing to be done with the domain name in order to increase its value. Therefore, the key to a successful domain flip is being in the right place at the right time in order to acquire a valuable domain name before it is given a premium price.
It is mind boggling how local search engine optimization has grown from a tiny market to a mammoth industry within a span of ten years or so. This is also one of the reasons why focusing majorly on local names is profitable. From doctors to pizza parlors to salons, everyone wants to see their business thrive on the first page of Google Search results with the help of target keywords.
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Referring domains for anchor phrases usually reveals similar information. What you really want to look out for is whether or not the site has been picked up by a spammer in the past. A lot of times these expired domains were dropped, picked up by a website owner who then tried to rank it for keywords like Viagra, Cialis and whatever. You obviously don’t want that kind of domain.
Adam Strong Ali Zandi Ammar Kubba Andrew Allemann Andrew Rosener buy domains cybersquatting domain name investing domain name parking domain name review domain name sales domain name valuation Efty.com EMD Escrow.com Estibot.com exact match domain Founders Frank Schilling GAKT geo-domains Giuseppe Graziano Go Daddy GoDaddy.com Google ICANN lead generation Michael Berkens Michael Cyger Moniker NameJet.com NamesCon.com negotiation new gTLDs Page Howe registrar Ron Jackson Sedo Sedo.com sell domains seo Shane Cultra trademark UDRP valuation

I have some pot related ones I've purchased recently that deal with the manufacturing of hemp like hempmfr.com, hempmoulding.com, hemp-textiles.com, hempecofuel.com etc.  Some of the older domains I've been sitting on are ones like internetpot.com, califunk.com, cafunk.com, caedibles.com, 1tokewonder.com, govherb.com, grasspeddlers.com, pot-megastore.com, usgov420.com etc.  Another interesting recent on I've purchased is Dogparkdates.com and dogpark-dating.com. Do any of these seem valuable in your eyes?
To join, you’ll need to purchase an annual GoDaddy Auctions membership for $4.99 a year. Once you’ve purchased a membership, you can take advantage of member benefits such as our Auctions Tools, which can help you prepare before buying or selling any domains. After joining the auction community, you’ll quickly learn how to navigate the world of domain buying and selling and can begin to make money by investing in domain names.
Aside from places where you buy and sell domain names, there are some companies around that support the business of domain flipping. GoDaddy is one of the bigger names out there that does. There, you can not only trade domain names but also park those you’ve bought. The buying, parking and selling is relatively painless and all you must give up is a small percentage of your selling price.
Use escrow services for direct sales. When you are dealing directly with the buyer, make sure that any money that is transferred goes through an escrow service. This will ensure that all checks clear and that you aren't left with a bounced check and no domain. Escrow services may add a few days to a sale and cost you a percentage, but they can save you a lot of heartache.
If you want to participate in a domain name auction, there are several options for how you can list your domain. Once you’ve purchased a membership, you can choose a free and simple listing, or add advanced features to increase your domain’s visibility. See our handy insider’s guide on how to list domains for sale for more details about listing a domain.

If you are feeling ambitious, you can link each of your domain names to its matching “buy it now” purchase page at one of the marketplaces. Another more sophisticated option would be to “park” your domain with one of the leading domain parking companies, such as DomainSponsor or SmartName and enable their built-in “for sale” message and contact mechanisms.

The practice of exploiting misspelled variants of popular websites for personal gain is known as typosquatting. Users who incorrectly enter URLs into a browser’s search bar may be getting more than what they’ve bargained for and end up on a squatted domain. We’ll show you how typosquatters exploit the simple workaday mistakes of internet users and how website operators and their visitors can...
Here's an old post on search engine roundtable that claims google's policy is to discount previous backlink juice when a domain changes ownership.  I'm not convinced whether this is actually true or something Google says to discourage excessive domain buying / 301 redirecting for SEO benefit.  The comments above seem to give varying opinions on this matter. Would be great to get to the bottom of that one!
Wow I didn't expect A War & Peach novel, but, to have about 30 pages this is a very thin offering. My thought is if I get one idea from a $.99 e-book-it made it worthwhile. So there was mention in a keyword tool that might be helpful to me. But, generally speaking, As a s domain investor with sales under my belt, there is very little additional information that I can use here. If you are looking for a fast 10 minutes read this is it. I'd pass.
Sometimes people purchase domains that they plan to build a website on or sell in the future, but it just doesn’t end up happening. If an individual decides that it is no longer worth the yearly investment of keeping the domain in their account, they may choose to let it expire. Or, someone might just forget to renew the domain before the expiration date. If this happens, it’s a great chance for other domain investors to score rare domain names that are pending delete. Spending time perusing the list of recently dropped domains can be a worthwhile way to find high quality domains.
What if we replace “bitcoin” with “ripple” in all these examples? SellRipple.com? RippleGiftCards.com? Ripple.network? Ripple.us…etc. You get the picture. There are a 100 of these on NameBio + the keywords we got from the Google Keyword Planner, that’s hundreds of potential high-value domains right there. The thing is, we’re only scratching the surface here. According to Wikipedia, there are over 1,300 cryptocurrencies online as of January 2018.
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