A practical guide to profiting from expired domain names in 2009.
Because of the economy and faltering parking revenue, you should expect to see more domain names expiring and dropping in 2009 and 2010. Most of these added drops will be of low or mediocre quality, but some of them will be worth backordering.
To new comers, buying expired domains can be somewhat daunting. But in many ways it’s easier now than in the days of many competing services slamming the registry’s servers for each domain. You had to backorder the domain at all companies and then watch auctions across all of them.
Yet when you see domain auctions with over 100 bidders, it’s natural to be scared away. This is a guide to playing the drops for people like me, who are ok spending $100s or even $1000s on an expired domain, but don’t have deep enough pockets to throw around $10,000s each week.
Do your research. It’s worth the money to use a service like FreshDrop to find gems. With thousands of domains dropping each day you can’t do it by hand. I personally filter out any domain that isn’t at least 5-7 years old, as most domains registered in recent years aren’t worth much.
Don’t fall in love with a domain. There are dozens of very high quality domains dropping each day. If a bidding war errupts, don’t let your ego get in the way. Let someone else win the domain and move on to the next.
Place the minimum offer at NameJet. To preorder a domain at NameJet you only have to bid $69. Some people are confused and place a proxy bid before the auction even begins. NameJet treats your proxy as your actual bid. All this does is increase the starting auction price. It doesn’t give you any benefits.
SnapNames may be easier for getting your feet wet. SnapNames has fewer of the prized domains and auctions aren’t as heated. You can pick up some good bargains because of this.
Forget about 3 and 4 character domains. These domains stand out and are usually backordered by dozens of people. The sales prices leave no room to quickly flip the domains to other domainers. The goal is to go after domains that people may overlook.
Watch out for deadbeat bidders. Sadly, a lot of bidders don’t pay. This has a lot to do with leniency by the auction house. If you are bidding against someone for a domain and it’s only the two of you that seem to be bidding up the domain, you may want to let it go. You may be bidding against someone who doesn’t intend to pay. If they don’t pay, the domain will be re-auctioned.
Don’t forget about Afternic. As mentioned above, SnapNames tends to have less competition than NameJet. Afternic has even less. Afternic auctions off some of Melbourne IT’s domains. You’ll rarely find anything worth four figures from Melbourne IT, but when a good domain does drop it goes for a steal. A couple weeks ago someone picked up CampusOnline.com for $1,300.
Great tips. One more to add, Don’t place your Backorder until shortly before the Backorder Due Date/Time – especially if you found a gem. Otherwise, with even a single bid the name is likely to receieve more bids. But if you place it right before the Due Date/Time, then you might win the name outright.
Rob Sequin says
I was going to say the exact same thing. This is true for any auction.
Never play your hand before you have to.
Also, sign up for namejet and snap and pool keyword alerts if you chase keyword domains.
Andrew Allemann says
On NameJet you won’t call attention to it for the most part unless you bid more than $69. I still don’t understand why people do that. They must be confused.
Rob Sequin says
When you do a search for a keyword at namejet and a dropping domain has a bid, a 1 shows up next to the domain and I think you can sort by number of bids.
So, if you leave a bid on a domain, that bid flags the domain with a bid meaning that someone likes this domain so maybe I should have a look at it.
There are thousands of domains with no bids so they don’t stand out.
I think that this “exposed” bid feature on Snapnames actually works against getting higher bids (from Snapnames viewpoint). Precisely because of the reasons outlined above, many domainers hold off until the last minute. It’s very easy to forget to bid (as I have on many occasions). In some of these instances, no-one else bid either and the domain dropped, so I picked it up for reg.fee.
Stephen Douglas says
I hate giving advice and hearing advice one way or another about BUYING or SELLING a domain. Why?
Because we’re the only industry that discusses ways to compete against OURSELVES. lol
Tell people how to get a domain name for cheap that I’m trying to sell for a nice profit. I hate you.
Tell people how to sell a domain name for a good profit that I’m trying to buy for cheap, and I hate you again.
Let us establish the real game plans here:
1) Domain names should be sold to END USERS, not domainers. Domainers buy low…
2) Domain names should be bought from auction websites with the least amount of fanfare possible to get the domain for cheap.
Either way, the two directions still make us domainer look like guys sharpening our swords to fall on them.
And Dub-A, this comment: “I personally filter out any domain that isn’t at least 5-7 years old, as most domains registered in recent years aren’t worth much.” is completely “old school”. Where have you been?
In the last year, I’ve been refusing offers of low figures on domains I registered within the last 1-3 years. Not going to discuss what those domains are, and what category they fall into.
Tonight I did some wide ranging search and compilations of a certain category of domains on prodservs that you wouldn’t expect would be available. In fact, most people wouldn’t even understand what the domain means… but after bulk searches of over 30 domains, and only capturing one OOTB, it shows me that this category is ready to explode.
So the “age factor” on a domain name is only one small consideration, and really means nothing in the value of the domain. The DOMAIN NAME is the value, and assuming that all valuable domains have been bought five plus years ago is wrong.
I make a lot of money on selling domains exactly opposite to what you said here.
But I still love ya!
Stephen Douglas says
UPDATE TO LAST POST: I meant that I have several domains I bought OOTB in the last three years that are getting low four figure offers. Additionally, I’ve sold hundreds of domains registered OOTB for $100 – $1000 in the last two years.
Ramiro Canales says
I agree with your comment about deadbeat bidders. I recently lost an auction with 10 bidders. I liked the domain name because it fit with my business plan. The winning bidder didn’t pay and I won the name when it was re-auctioned.
What’s the best tool that shows how well an expiring domain name has performed? Meaning the Alexa ranking, traffic, etc.