Yes, buying existing domain names can be profitable too. Existing domains with a potential for profit can be found using Sedo. Make sure you pick domain names that have good traffic, backlinks and Google PageRank under 17 characters. Also, steer clear of existing domain names containing special characters or numbers because they are not likely to be sold.
You can turn then into content sites, set up an actual website, or try to sell that site elsewhere. You may even luck out by selling a site that's up and running and full of great content already. In this case, you can ask a higher price. Or, you can set up a shared hosting or direct hosting website. Shared hosting and direct hosting websites can be profitable too.
Many top-level domains, or TLDs, out there have the potential of being sold at top dollar rates. Gone are the days when domain names with ‘.COM’, ‘.ORG’ and ‘.NET’ were known as top-level domains. Newer domain names with ‘.US’ and ‘.IO’ are also worth their weight in gold. All you have to do is conduct thorough research in order to find all the good domain names you can park.

Thanks for this post. I do good with Adsense and wanted to branch out so I bought 5 domains from Namejet after reading this thread. After the 5 auctions ended I spent $500 total. I contacted 30 people about these domains and after a few bites I was able to sell one of them for $500 so I got my money back and now what I sell the other four for is all profit. The best part about this is that it is not very time consuming. I spent maybe an hour on Namejet. I spent maybe two hours sending out emails. Thanks again!
Some buyers are a tough nut to crack and they may quote a ridiculously low offer. Explain to these buyers and convince them why the domain is worth more than the quote. If the potential buyer doesn’t agree, fret not, just move on to the next one until you find a willing buyer. Once you finalize the deal, then it’s time to find the best payment mode for the transaction.
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.

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.

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.

I have one domain name which I never used it and it has .com and I later discovered there is another company with similar name but with .net and they are doing good as once they approached me to sell them my .com which I never did as I had plan to start something which didn’t materialize . its been 11 years now I have maintained the name now I have two options.

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. domain name for $8000 is just unrealistic and won't happen) and therefore can sell domains easier. 
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.
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.

Determine your domain's value. Before you start taking offers or listing your domain, take stock of its value so that you can come up with a good price. There are a lot factors to take into consideration when determining the value of a domain, so if you are unsure it may be wise to contact a company that performs these assessments. Some of the major factors include:

Listing on domain marketplaces: This is the most common route. You should, however, acquaint yourself with each marketplace’s policies and fees before deciding to work with them. For example, Sedo’s commission starts at 10% and BrandBucket prohibits listing the domain anywhere else if you’re selling with them. Here’s a list of the most popular marketplaces (in no particular order):
I did this last month, snagged a great domain that no one else found and got it for $69 because I waited until the last moment to place my pre-bid. Flipped it within a week for a little over $1,000. And probably could have gotten more if I sat back and waited 6-12 months, but a bird in the hand… (plus I like to keep turning over inventory and maintaining cash flow).
There are many places and ways you can purchase domain names.  You can purchase unregistered ones through sites like GoDaddy.  There are forums where people will gladly try to sell you their domain name (usually though the domains being sold in forums are either crap or the asking price is so high it does not allow you any room to flip the domain).  And then there is my favorite way of obtaining domain names, through an online auction at Namejet.  Let’s first talk about Namejet and then we’ll talk about how I personally ring the register by flipping domains.
Hi guys, just a thought, you do not need to build traffic to the domain yourself, you can always buy expired domains, best to subscribe to a paid service like (so you are the first to know) or a free one, and in this way, you can get old domains that have traffic. You could use these domains for parking, getting advertising income or even to sell. I have noticed, that domains that were not hot in the past, can still be hot now, just use Google Trends to type in the keyword, and you will see its future projections. 
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.
This wonderful piece of information about buying expired domains is simply mind-blowing and I did not know about that before. It is easy for every one to understand about the topic with the pictorial representation. I feel sad that you lost around $400 due to Fake PR, but this article will surely help others save them from any sort of inconvenience.
You can easily find domains using the best metrics available from Ahrefs, Moz, Majestic, SEMRush, Similar Web, SEMrush, Domain Scope and Social Networks. We buy only the best, the latest, and, the most comprehensive industry wide metrics so you have the maximum amount of information to make a decision. No other tool gives you access to 90+ metrics.
Domain names expire when someone decides to stop renewing it. They may not be available to register immediately. We update the search index every night, so some names may already be renewed or re-registered. Some may become available in a few days. Some registrars, like GoDaddy, will let you buy a name that one of their own customers expire immediately. When you find a name you like, just click on it to try backordering the name!
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.
If you don’t have a lot of money to invest in employees and you’d rather work on your domain portfolio by yourself, you’d need plenty of free time. Generally, mini sites with 5 to 10 pages of content can be built within 5 days, while authority sites with over 10 pages could take up to two weeks. This amount of time would depend on your writing skills and knowledge of SEO techniques.

I'm not against making money in any way, but $400 doesn't really seem worth the effort and coffee expense invested (I like the good stuff). This is a very basic example used to put the costs in perspective. Most SEO providers charge more than $50 per hour, and you get what you pay for. The above example of a final labor estimate is probably much higher, or if the domain is already ranking high and the owner wants to sell, so is the initial purchase price. Since this is often repeated many times over for multiple domains, it could get time consuming, and expensive.

The easiest way to see that is to go to HREFs and look at the anchor text. It reveals right away whether or not the site has been spammed. You also want to see if it’s been SEO’d too much. Right? In this case, it’s not because it has a brand name here and some natural keywords, but if the number one anchor text was like, cell phone management system and then the next one was like cheap cell phone management system, you’d know that the anchor text was manipulated and probably overly SEO’d. So, what you want as a site that has a natural link profile.

You can turn then into content sites, set up an actual website, or try to sell that site elsewhere. You may even luck out by selling a site that's up and running and full of great content already. In this case, you can ask a higher price. Or, you can set up a shared hosting or direct hosting website. Shared hosting and direct hosting websites can be profitable too.

Here's a test I have in process.  I bought an old $5 closeout domain from Godaddy TDname expired auction.  I put a quick minisite up and linked to it with a crazy anchor text phrase.  The domain is ranking for that crazy term now.  It's gone through one pagerank update and I'm waiting for a second to come.  Then I'll redirect the domain to another minisite.  I suspect the second site won't rank for the anhor text, but we'll see.  

In order to maintain ownership of a domain, you must renew it yearly. If you don’t, it “expires”. An expired domain goes through several stages before being released again for general registration. The process differs slightly from one registrar to another but it’s more or less the same. GoDaddy explains what happens to domains that expire with them here.