How I Search For Expired Domains

Lately I’ve been buying a healthy amount of expired domains as I continue my quest to make my portfolio 90% .COM by the end of 2011. There are some real gems expiring right now and with so many opportunities it can sometimes be a bit overwhelming. So I thought now would be as good a time as any to tell you how I search for expired domain names.

First, where do I look for expired Domains?

Well I’ve used just about every tool and platform out there and in the end I find that I spend a majority of time on two sites, Snapnames and Go Daddy Auctions. I don’t have anything against any of the other services out there, I just know what I like after spending years trying things. Yes – you can use automated tools that will just spit back a list but I still like to search myself every day and use filters to make sure I only see the results that matter to me.

What search criteria do I use?

Whether I’m using Snapnames or Go Daddy I tend to set the same search filters. The main filters I use are:

  • TLD – I select .COM only, yes there are great .net’s and .org’s dropping but why spend your time mining copper and silver when there’s gold out there?
  • Maximum Keywords – I set this to three in most cases. At the end of the day a four and five word domain can still be good but I like shorter memorable .COM’s. Most of what I buy now are two-word .COM domains.
  • Domain Age – I like domains that are at least two years old but find I’m buying names that are often 5+ years old. There are tons of benefits to aged domains, just this week I bought an 11 year-old .COM domain that is currently getting a nice stream of type-in traffic, that just feels good!
  • Keywords – I select specific keywords and use the “contains” option. I know which niches I like and there’s about 5 main keywords I focus on.

What is my price range?

I know that plenty of new Domainers love to brag about getting domains that nobody else was bidding on. While there are some good hidden gems out there most of the names I buy have multiple bids and go for anywhere between $50 – $1,500. If you’re not willing to spend more than $100 don’t expect to find many domains that you’ll be able to resell in the four-figure range.

About 75% of the expired domains that I buy are for development purposes with 25% reserved for flips or longer-term investments. For domains that I plan to flip I use the Estibot Lead Generation Tool to find potential end-users. Oftentimes I’ll use this tool before I buy the domain so that I can know how many end-users I’ll be able to email prior to making the investment. If Estibot comes up with over 100 end-users I feel good about the flip potential, if it only returns 10-20 results then I’ll usually pass unless I have development plans for the name.

For anyone that thinks all the good domains are taken I’m here to say you are just plain wrong. Sure, it takes time to find great domains, and no there is no perfect formula, but one thing is for sure – there great .com domains dropping every single day and this won’t be happening forever. Now is the time, if you want to turn your portfolio around, the opportunities are here, don’t look back five years from now and say, I could have been a part of the second domain gold rush!

If you’d like to learn more about buying expired domain names I have an entire chapter in my book dedicated to this topic.

Morgan Linton

Morgan Linton