Domaining MBA Monday: Expired Domains

Domaining MBA Monday

Hello, good morning, and welcome to another Domaining MBA Monday here on! Today I want to talk about a topic that is critical for beginning and intermediate Domainers, just in different ways for each. To make this applicable to both groups I’ll have two discussions so decide where you fit in the equation and dig in!

New Domainers

When you are just starting out you probably don’t have a strong sales history. To put some texture around this let’s just say that you have sold less than $10,000 in domain names. There’s a good chance that your current portfolio is full of names you hand registered and you’re starting to get the feeling they aren’t quite as good as you thought. In most cases, they aren’t as good as you thought, that’s a reality of entering this business. The question is what you do next.

I’d venture a guess and say that about 50% of new Domainers quit at this point. They conclude that since they couldn’t randomly register domains that sound good to them and sell them for big bucks then all the good domains must be taken. The other 50% realize that they need to learn more to be successful and soured at their initial experience hand registering domains now looks at expired domains as their future gold mine.

Sound like you? If so then my advice is to start off slow. Don’t get wrapped up in how many people are bidding on a name and stick with .COM if you’re planning to flip the names you buy. If you haven’t learned it yet, .COMs have the most liquidity by far so while you might find a better .NET or .ORG I’d stick to .COM when you’re starting out.

Don’t but a domain simply based on search volume and CPC, do a Google search and see who shows up, are there any potential buyers there? Try to think of at least five end users that might want to buy this domain, if you can’t think of five, don’t buy it. If you plan to develop the domain, follow this same advice, don’t just buy based on search volume and CPC. Do a Google search and see who shows up on the first page, what makes you think you can outrank them?

When you’re starting out the idea is to not buy too many domains, instead carefully analyze every domain you buy and see if you can successfully do what you intended to do with it. If your plan was to flip it and six months later you still have the domain, it didn’t work out, learn from it. If you sell a name a week after buying it, great, learn from this too. The idea is to keep your mind open and learn from every failure and success equally.

Intermediate Domainers

As an intermediate Domainer I’m assuming that you have had some level of success buying and selling expired domains. To put some texture around this let’s say that you have sold between $10,000 – $25,000 in domains. You are still getting good returns but are having a very hard time judging how much time it will take to flip the domains that you buy. This is probably the biggest problem that intermediate Domainers face, knowledge of what names they can successfully flip, but unknown timeframes for when those flips will happen.

This is where being a Domainer and being a detective meet. Since you most likely purchased the expired domains you have with specific buyers in mind, now it’s time to make it happen. Just sending a few emails might not generate a lot of interest, if you want to increase your changes you may need to pick up the phone. This is where I lose most intermediate Domainers. If you’ve had a good sales history and suddenly things are slowing down, you can’t keep saying, “I used to have great flips with these types of names.” You need to have great flips now, if flipping is your goal. Just because something worked in the past doesn’t mean it won’t change in the future. Iterate your business model and get more proactive, oh and if you suck at sales (which you might, and it’s okay to admit it) then hire someone who can sell.

If you’re an Intermediate Domainer buying expired domains for development a lot of the same logic still applies. Google has changed dramatically in the last six months, if you are buying domains based on sites that performed well for you last year you might be missing the boat. Go slow, make sure you can still turn the domains you have into champions, if not, figure out how your world has changed and adapt to it.

Expired domains offer investors incredibly opportunities, but they can also lead to a false impression of liquidity. Just because 50 people are bidding on an auction, doesn’t mean 50 people want to buy your domain. It is up to you to do the research and to learn from your own experiences. There’s nothing like the feeling of a great flip and another, and another, but you have to get your formula right first.

Morgan Linton

Morgan Linton