What I Look For In An Expired Domain

If you’re not buying expired domains right now you are missing out on what is literally the second domain gold rush. I don’t want to sound overly dramatic but it’s true – some real gems are dropping and the opportunity is incredible. For those of you who are active in the drop market I apologize in advance for potentially inspiring more people to compete with you (and me) for these names, but I thought it was important to write about this topic…so I am!

So let’s start with the #1 complaint I hear from new Domainers, all the good domain names are taken.

The reason people say this is because for some reason they think that the only way to buy domains is to hand-register. In this case, yes – all the good domains are taken. It’s pretty rare that you’ll hand-register a name that’s going to sell for four or five figures. Of course there are exceptions to this rule and I do know people who have hand-registered names that sell for over $1,000 but it’s a rarity and I wouldn’t build a business on that dream. If you ignore the whole hand-registration process and start looking at expired domains you’ll quickly see that many of the good domains are dropping.

Let me say this again, all the good domains are not taken, many of the good domains are dropping. Notice I didn’t say all the good domains, that just wouldn’t be realistic – big portfolio owners do have great .COM names that they would never think of dropping, however this doesn’t mean that great domains don’t drop every day.

There are lots of great services for buying expired domains but I’ve always been pretty laser-focused on two services Snapnames and Go Daddy Auctions. These are easy to use and have some incredible names available every single day. Now I know you’re probably sick of my ramblings and you’d like me to get to the good stuff – what do I look for in an expired domain?

We all look for different qualities, since I’m more focused on developing and monetizing rather than flipping for a quick profit I look at different characteristics than most. Below is a list of a few of characteristics I look for in expired domains:

  • Existing link profile – I like to see domains that already have 50+ backlinks coming in, this gives a nice springboard for the new site I put on it.
  • DMOZ Listing – I love to buy expired domains that are already in DMOZ, it’s hard to get in this directory so having it already done is a huge bonus.
  • Domain age of 2+ years – I like domain names that are at least two years old, a little age helps in search.
  • .COM – that’s right I’m just buying .COM’s off of drops right now so I always make sure my search results are .COM only.
  • No Dashes – I’ve never been a big fan of dashes so I make sure the results I see don’t have dashes in them. Yes dashes are fine for search but terrible for resale.
  • Existing traffic – if there was a site on the domain previously it may have had some existing traffic which will show up in the compete.com report.
  • Niche I Know/Like – I only buy in certain niches, these are either niches I know I can make money in or niches I like a lot so enjoy building in.

So there you have it – the basic criteria that I look at, and yes it’s a bit different than what your average Domainer is looking at. I’m in this for the long-haul so I’m buying good .COM domains that make great development candidates now but still offer nice liquidity down the road. Buying a domain with no traffic, no backlinks, that was registered a year ago and is a .info just doesn’t seem like a prudent investment to me no matter how great the keywords are – but that’s just me! It’s up to you to decide which criteria is most important to you – when you do just make sure your logic is based on real business data not the famous “I think people are searching for this” or “this is going to be the next big thing” because that’s just pure speculation and in this game it’s all about making real investments. So stop collecting and start investing, the gold rush is here, go stake your claim!

Morgan Linton

Morgan Linton