Buying expired domain names is a great way to pick up some good deals on domains that could make great development or resale candidates. Many of the top investors buy expired domains every month and have been for years, people like Frank Schilling, Michael Berkens, and many more. The problem is, many new investors see other people bidding on an expired domain and instantly assume its a great deal.
Like any investment strategy doing your research is absolutely critical, otherwise you could end-up spending a nice chunk of change on a big pile of junk. The key to buying expired domains that make real investments is research. However by research I don’t just mean search volume and CPC, I mean really digging deeper to understand what you’re buying.
Here are some tips for doing the due diligence you should be doing every time you’re evaluating an expired domain purchase:
- Who owned the domain before you and what did they do with it? It is absolutely critical to understand the history of a domain name you’re buying, just because it was registered in 1998, doesn’t mean it has a clean history. If the previous owner used the domain to run a scam business, or to spam millions of people, you may be inheriting their problems. The best way to research the history of the a domain is to use DomainTools and look at the WHOIS history.
- Does the domain name violate any Trademarks? Before you buy any domain, expired or not, you should make sure it does not violate an trademarks. This takes under a minute and is completely free, simply go to USTPO.gov and see if there are any active trademarks on any of the words or phrases in the domain, if there are, stay far far away.
- Do the keywords in the domain get any search volume? Whether you’re planning on developing or selling a domain search volume is an important factor to take into account. If nobody is searching for the keywords in your domain, what makes you think it would make a great development candidate, and heck, why would anyone want to buy it?
- How competitive is the niche? This applies more to development than anything but it’s still important to consider no matter what you plan to do with the domain. Do a Google search for the keywords in the domain and see who comes up. If it’s all Google Adsense or Google Local followed by major brands you probably don’t stand a chance to get on the coveted page one. If you can’t this means a savvy buyer also knows they can’t so it might not be as great of a purchase as you’d think.
- What is the TLD of the domain? If you’re not buying a .COM you should make sure you understand the market you’re buying in. Just because you saw a great .IT sale the other day doesn’t mean that every .IT name you buy is going to be worth a fortune. Be very careful when buying outside of .COM and make sure you look at past sales and have an idea of what the value might be. Tools like Estibot can help you get a ballpark figure for what the keywords might be worth and how that changes based on TLD.
As always I’d love to hear from you! Feel free to share your own tips for buying expired domains or comment on any of the tips I’ve listed above. Comment and let your voice be heard!