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.
Buying a website is a risky job especially if the investment is big. My first experience was a big fail. So after some time spent on Flippa I found out about a site called Safe Site Buying which I heard that was created by super sellers from flippa and got a coupon code "flippa50" which was supposed to give me a huge 50% discount. This deal looked pretty good to me so I tried it. They provided me with a full report, 20 pages long and with their own subjective opinion. They were very helpful. When you want to spend more than $2-3000 on a website this service is a must if you ask me.
Dictionary Word/Pronounceable/Memorable/Brandable: A dictionary word domain name is very valuable. Of course, the more popular and widely used the word is, the better. For example, “marketing.com”, “cars.com” and “hotels.com” are 7-8 figure domain names. Even if a domain name isn’t a dictionary word, being pronounceable and/or memorable and/or brandable are all big pluses that add to its value.

Where do I start? So I heard about bitcoin and I know it’s all the craze nowadays. Let’s start from there. I’ll hop on Google Trends and type in “bitcoin”. Google Trends basically tracks the popularity of search queries over time, it’s often a goldmine for discovering currently exploding or soon-to-explode topics/terms..etc. So here’s what it looks like:

Internet users, who try to find expired domains and re-register them, will soon discover that this plan cannot be manually accomplished. Professional domain traders are familiar with the registry deletion process and rely on sophisticated algorithms that indicate when a domain is about to become available. Deletion lists are the result of this research. You can find many datasets online with domains that have already become available or will soon be. You often have to pay to be able to see this information.


Where do I start? So I heard about bitcoin and I know it’s all the craze nowadays. Let’s start from there. I’ll hop on Google Trends and type in “bitcoin”. Google Trends basically tracks the popularity of search queries over time, it’s often a goldmine for discovering currently exploding or soon-to-explode topics/terms..etc. So here’s what it looks like:
Before EmpireFlippers became a website broker, the internet marketing duo Joe Magnotti and Justin Cooke had been sharing how they flip sites for cash on their widely-popular blog and podcasts. They relocated to the Philippines, hired locals to create content and build traffic, and then literally built hundreds of niche sites that earn from either AdSense ads or Amazon affiliate commissions. Every month, they chose low-earners and sold these ready-made sites on their marketplace.
Domain name expert Bill Sweetman has provided strategic domain name advice to major companies around the world for over 20 years. Bill is the President & Lead Ninja of Name Ninja, a boutique domain name consulting firm that helps companies acquire, manage, protect, and profit from their domain names. A self-confessed domain name fanatic, Bill registered his very first domain in 1994 (which he later sold for five figures) and has been perfecting his “Domain Karate” moves ever since.
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
You can’t tell us (with a straight face) that aged dictionary word .net and .org domains won’t sell easily. The .net extension is technically OLDER than .com, and holds an equally intrinsic value to that of its .com counterpart. These LLLL .com’s that are just letters slapped together may be cute to look at and easy to sell, but in the eyes of Google, ANY aged domain that makes sense (i.e. a dictionary word) is going to be much easier to rank for than some acronym or hodgepodge .com…and at the end of the day, that holds more value than whatever society sees in these nonsensical “wqij.com” names.
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.

At the end of the day, the owner of this domain name let it expire and didn’t renew it. So while there may be many legit reasons as to why they might’ve done that, one of the not-very-legit reasons could be that the domain is “dead” in some way or another. In other words, it’s no longer useful for the original owner because of a penalty or otherwise. If so, it's unlikely it'll be of any use for you as well.

Acquiring what you believe may be a valuable domain name is the easiest part of the equation.  Finding the right  buyer is much more difficult. Using auction sites and forums is perhaps the best way to find qualified buyers that are interested in your domain, and using auctions will take some of the stress away from establishing the value of a domain name yourself.
Check backlink profile: If you’re not familiar with what backlinks are, they’re basically any public website that “links” to the domain in question. Since there are numerous shady tactics in the SEO world, expired domains’ backlink profiles should be examined carefully. Check if too many links are coming from the same domain or if links have weird anchor texts/use foreign languages. You can use a tool such as ahrefs for these purposes.
Domains are nonmaterial goods. When sold, the only transaction taking place is transfer of domain rights from one user to another. Barring any form of copyright or trademark violation, virtually any domain name can be bought or sold. Generic domain names, such as car.com or computer.com, are not legally protected and can therefore theoretically be reserved by anyone.
For the following TLDs you can now find a expired/deleted domain list. .cr, .gd, .gs, .im, .ke / .co.ke, .kg, .kz, .ir, .la, .ma, .pe / .com.pe, .pm, .re, .tf, .wf, .yt, .so, .th / .co.th, .uz They also show up in the Deleted Domains (last 7 days) list and in the Domain Name Search, however they are not in the pending delete list! I do not have a working droplist for them yet, so that is why they are not released in the pending delete list yet.
@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.
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The dropdate for the following TLDs is not verified. Domains might drop earlier or later: .eu .cat .aero .travel .tel .jobs .ae .at .be .bg .cr .es .fm .gd .gg .gi .gl .gs .gy .hn .ht .hu .id .im .ir .is .je .ke .kg .ky .kz .la .lu .lv .ma .mu .ng .no .om .pe .pf .pm .qa .re .ro .ru .rw .sb .sm .sn .so .st .su .sx .tc .tf .th .tl .to .ug .uy .uz .wf .yt .berlin
Great article on what to look for when buying expired domains! I’ve looked at the domain and page authority of expired domains but haven’t checked if they are blocked by Google like you’ve listed. I haven’t pulled the trigger yet to purchase one (probably good that I didn’t since I didn’t do all my homework) but this will make it easier to finally go. Thanks for the great info!
With over 25 million .com domains registered with Google alone, this top-level domain is by far the most popular choice worldwide. According to the domain marketplace Sedo, the average sales price for a .com domain name during the second quarter of 2015 was 4,701 dollars. The most expensive publicly traded domain names have been known to fetch eight-figures. But don’t quit your day job just yet: such sales are the exception rather than the rule.

Official marketplaces offer a third possibility for domain traders to peddle their product. Domain marketplaces, such as Sedo, GoDaddy.com, or BuyDomains.com, connect potential buyers with domain holders hoping to sell their valuable virtual property. These platforms function as a kind of domain real estate agency and are known to sometimes demand high prices for their services.
Those trading domains for commercial purposes are generally on the prowl for lucrative domain endings. There are essentially two different ways traders go about making money off of domain names. One method entails purchasing already established names for a low price and selling them for a profit later once their value has increased. Another strategy involves buying and registering a domain that is thought to possess a high sales potential. Many domain traders use backorder services. These services automatically register a domain when one becomes available or is deleted (what are known as expired domains).
By default we show the following metrics - Age, Ahrefs Domain Rating, Moz Domain Authority, Moz Page Authority, Moz Trust, Majestic Seo Trust and Citation Flow, Alexa Rank, Moz Referring Domains, Majestic Seo Referring Domains, Open PageRank, SimilarWeb Rank, SEMrush Monthly Traffic and Domain Price. Apart from these there are around 40+ metrics that you can see by customizing columns
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.
Parking: While your domain is just sitting there waiting for its new owner, you might as well take advantage of it. Parking sets up automated advertising on your domain so that you earn money every time someone views/clicks on an ad. This could be especially useful if your domain is an expired one that’s already receiving traffic. Services that offer parking include Sedo, GoDaddy, 1and1 among many others.
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