When done right, the domain trade is an enterprise that lends itself to particularly lucrative deals. The tactic is simple: domain names are purchased with the prospect of reselling them for a wide profit margin. But the trick of this trade lies in securing domains that may later be valuable to well-endowed buyers, such as a large company. We have laid out all the important facts and terms on the topic, including some of the highest sale prices on record for a publicly traded .com domain.
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.
Buying and selling domain names is an exciting adventure that for some seems to conjure up images of finding hidden pirate treasure or guessing the winning combination on the next Powerball. Stories abound of domains that were purchased for $8 dollars 15 years ago being sold today for millions. Of course, that leads the more adventurous of us to wonder, “How can I do that?”
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).
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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.
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:
Contact Potential Buying Companies: With my domain IHateCold(.com) I will email the marketing teams of some of the large winter clothing companies and let them know of the available domain to buy and a few potential slogans they could use with the domain name. This is a very “I’m here to help you” scenario that I’m curious to see how it plays out. They’ll have to learn about the domain name for sale somehow, right?
You can find the new fields in the Column Manager and the Majestic Filter Tab. Majestic Crawled URLs, Information about the Outbound Links of the Domain and Information about the types of Incoming Links (follow, homepage, ...). Also you can now see the detected language for the website (or previous website) on the domain and the language of the anchor text links referring to the domain. The filter for the website language only includes values with at least 20% and the filter for anchor texts only with at least 10%. When you hover over the column, you still see all values (even lower percentages), but lower values are not used for the filter. If you only want to see domains matching the majority language, use the "majority language" filter. Unfortunately that filter doesn't work in the domain name search
Finally, you want to head over to domaintools.com. Then put the domain into here. What this will do is it’ll show you the history of the domain, because a lot of times these domains have been dropped like four or five times and a lot of people in SEO feel this way. I’m not sure about it. If a domain has been dropped several times, then Google does actually devalue the links pointing to that domain. So, as you can see I just changed registrars a few times and it hasn’t been dropped or else it’ll say one drops or two drops.
I don’t think that there is a real way to sell your domain fast, you can put it up for sale, depending on domain name, but if there is a fastest way to sell domain name, it’s certainly - having a good enough name, that someone would want to buy. I don’t like .com domain names, but that’s my opinion, instead I prefer Hacks ( I’m from Serbia, therefore most of word in English, in plural ends up with ‘s’, so every word that ends with letter ‘r’ in plural gives you .RS ) so I think that here we have great Hack domain names which would sell fast. Either way, your contact information should be available in WHOIS , so if you have an interesting domain name, every buyer would like to be able to contact you directly.
Whether you can use an existing backlink profile for a new web project under the available domain depends on whether the link target of incoming links can be reconstructed. In order to analyze which content was provided under a domain in the past, you can find out on the Internet Archive Backlinks have no value if they lead to nowhere and this can even have a negative impact. They are possibly redirected to similar subpages or homepages using 301 redirect. In this case the most part of the link’s power is lost.
One big tip is to find a domain that someone can make money with. If you only owned that 1 domain, could you earn a living? This helps you focus on the top 1% of domains and ignore the junk that you will struggle to resell. You must get this right because domaining can bankrupt you fast if you buy the wrong domains. Godaddy is also great for grabbing expiring domains for much less.
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.
Your course of action really depends on how much work and effort you can put into the expired domain. If you're barely able to maintain and optimize your current site, you probably want to just 301 redirect the old site (note: see my amended comment above about the link value not likely to be passed). If, however, you're more creative and have some time on your hands, you can try your hand at crafting a microsite. If you really know your stuff and are experienced at making money off various websites, you'd probably do well with the third option.
If you buy keyword specific domains, you're really buying the type in traffic. I use the URL builder and redirect through that URL so you can see how much traffic your getting from the keyword domain. There seems to be no rythme or reason to what keyword domains deliver traffic and what don't. By tracking traffic with the Google URL builder you get a feel for what names are giving you traffic and which are not. ie. the plural, the singular, two words, three words, the possessive, etc.
Current Craze: When PokémonGo was HUGE last year, my domain flipping friends (Matt of Handshakin.com is one) were all about buying domains like PokeStopNearMe(.com) and other related domains associated with the PokémonGo craziness. It’s like the day trading of the domain world. You’re buying domains during the hype and hope to sell them for a higher price quickly before the hype fades.
This is similar to house flipping, where a home is purchased and fixed up in order to sell for a fast 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 higher price.
Great post! I tried to repurpose an expired domain to build an authority site (your method 1) – but it doesn’t rank as it should. i checked the backlink profile via majestic and archive.org and it’s clean. also checked the metrics of the competition. with the amount of trust and link juice my expired domain has vs. the competition, it should be on page 1 for those keywords. is there something i’m missing here?
This ebook is the ONLY book you need to read if you want to get into the domain name flipping game. This ebook is a step by step guide on how to get into this very lucrative online business. From picking domain names, to finding out their value, to registering them, putting them on auction sites and eventually selling them, this book takes you by the hand and walks you through the process step by step. This book gives you the websites to go to and everything! Very informative guide!
Hi I totally agree with you Domaineer42. My partner and I are web developers and are seeing a lot of ‘hype’ selling and not enough ‘real value’ selling based on actual search engine criteria. Recently brokers have knocked back selling domains with great potential value based on some pie-in-the-sky logic, defying even Estibot values we’re told to use. The domains were not our best but with four figure value, according to Estibot, I thought it was a great start as a newbie to domaining. In an industry which should flourish, some of these domain ‘fashionistas’ are making rods for their own backs by devaluing domains that have REAL potential value based on customer search. I don’t understand what is going on, but I have decided to opt out for awhile. We have quite a few domains in our repository, with data backed search criteria, trending upwards. Will bring them out of the closet when the industry is ready to get real.
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.
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.
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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.
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, in 2015 the average sales price for a .com domain name was over £3000. The most expensive publicly traded domain names have been known to fetch eight-figures sums. But don’t quit your day job just yet: such sales are the exception rather than the rule.
Hi, I’m Mark! I’ve been an online entrepreneur, writer, website flipper and more for over 8 years now. Having faced the highs and lows of the online marketplace first-hand, I’ve learned quite a few things along the way. I’d love to share all those learnings with you here on this blog! Buying/selling websites can be great fun, provided you’re aware of the right tactics and know how to implement them correctly. My posts will help you do just that!
@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.
Granted, it is not bad information, however, if EVERYONE rushes to namejet and signs up, the only people that really benefit are namejet 😉 The increase in competition means there are more bidders in the pool which will likely increase bid amounts (because the newcomers will not be able to ascertain a “true value” as much as a “pro” flipper would). The result is a lower profit margin as the method becomes saturated.
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.
Unfortunately, most domain names take at least a couple of months to sell, especially without an attached website. Thus, there is no need to become discouraged if your domain name does not sell immediately. Most people make the mistake of quitting their domain speculation endeavor after waiting for several months to sell without success. In reality, domain name squatting can be just as profitable, and it is a valid form of long term investing.
If you’re serious about domain flipping, one of the best strategies is to buy expiring domains that auctioned on the market such as GoDaddy Auctions. Make sure you pick domain names that have good traffic, backlinks and SEO metrics, or domains with the generic niche. Expiring domains with a potential for profit can be found using BuycomDomain.com, this is a free website/tool that helps you sort through the domains by different metrics (age, traffic, backlinks, domain authority etc).
The truth is that you require at least one year’s time to get around only the basics of the domain flipping business, leave alone making huge money from it. During this time, you’ll make several mistakes, buy useless domain names, lose out prospective deals and much more. Domain flipping is far from any get rich quick method. If overnight results are what you’re after, domain investing may not be your piece of cake. This business involves a real and steep learning curve which many people find difficult to climb.
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.