The Best Places to Buy a Website in an Expired Domain Name Auction
Can you guess what the world’s most expensive domain is?
Contrary to popular belief, it’s not porn.com!
The most expensive domain name history is Cars.com, purchased by Gannett Co., Inc., for a whopping $872 million. Yes, you read that right.
For us normal people, we’d like to acquire high-quality domains at more reasonable prices. The best way to do that is through domain auctions. Instead of paying face value for a high-quality domain, you have the potential to get valuable domain names for a bargain.
In this article, we’ll show you how it’s done.
But First, What Are Expired Domains?
When you buy a domain, you don’t actually own it permanently. Instead, you’re only renting it. Granted, you can set the terms for several years and choose to auto-renew the domain for life.
But sometimes, people choose not to renew domain names, or maybe they don't know how to renew an expired GoDaddy domain. When this happens, the domain expires, and it goes through an expired domain auction process before becoming available to the general market.
The process can get somewhat complicated because of both regulations and competing registrars, but for the moment, what you need to know is that an expired domain can be a major opportunity and a valuable digital asset.
Why Buy Expired Domains?
Other than potentially getting a discount on a valuable web property to park your business, savvy individuals might also want to buy expired domains for SEO benefits. Though remember you don't want, just expired domains, its important to research and review a domains historic data.
There are three reasons why this strategy can pay off big time for domain professionals.
1. Acquire Something Already Valuable: Unlike tangible property like a car, for example, domains can become more valuable over time. Aged domains have the potential to develop domain authority and strong backlink profiles that can allow you to rank from day one.
If your business’s name doesn’t have to correlate with your domain, you can simply take over the expired domain and make it your own. By contrast, starting from scratch can take years to climb the ranks of the search engines and get meaningful traffic.
2. Help Your Primary Site: Some businesses choose to redirect the traffic from expired domains to their own site. As long as the two websites are consistent in terms of content, this can be a fast and easy way to boost site traffic and rankings.
3. Set up a Private Blog Network: PBNs are a network of interlinking sites that help each other rank. PBNs can be spam traps, so you’ll want to use a tool like Spamzilla to check backlink profiles and content archives to ensure you’re buying something legitimate.
The Best Places to Bid on Expiring Domains
There are dozens of marketplaces to choose from. The cost, data, and type of the services these marketplaces provide vary widely, so we’ll compare the top five and give you tips on choosing the right market for your needs.
Refer to the table below for quick reference, and scroll down to see our evaluation of each option.
1. GoDaddy – Best for Beginners
If you’ve never bought a domain through an auction before, this platform can be a good place to get some experience. For one low price of $4.99, you can register for an account and get access to all of the current auctions.
Pros: The interface is easy to use, and you can sort based on various criteria. You can even add domains to your watch list, so you can follow them without having to bid on them.
Cons: You should ideally learn about GoDaddy's domain expiration grace period. There’s virtually no information about the domains, so to get any meaningful insights, you’ll require separate tools. Plus, it’s not unusual for no bids to be placed within five minutes of an auction’s end, only to have a flurry of activity price you out of the water.
2. NameJet – Best for Exclusivity
Domain investors appreciate this marketplace because you first have to place a domain on backorder before you can bid in the auction.
The company also boasts an exclusive inventory of desirable “.com” TLDs (top-level domains). Because of the backorder requirement, you’ve got a decent chance of being the only bidder, allowing you to pick up domains for rock bottom sale prices.
Pros: Unlike GoDaddy.com, the marketplace presents a fairer environment for a potential domain owner since would-be bidders have to indicate interest through a backorder and can’t swoop in and bid at the last minute.
Cons: Even though sniping bids don’t happen at the auction level, they can still happen during the backorder process because other would-be bidders can see when you place the order.
3. Sedo – Best for Buyers on a Budget
With 2,000 sites added daily, there’s always something new at Sedo. Add buyer protection, free transfer services, and accreditation by the BBB (Better Business Bureau), Sedo takes the Wild West feeling out of the Internet.
Pros: Instead of having to sort through thousands (or millions) of expired domain auctions, you can search specifically by short URLs.
Cons: Sedo runs three types of auctions, and sometimes the top domains are reserved for specific timeframes. This can slow down the acquisition process.
4. Spamzilla – Best Overall Solution
We saved the best for last in this auction round-up. Spamzilla not only gives you the option to acquire your dream domain, but you have a complete data set that tells you everything you need to know about a property before you buy.
Spamzilla is registrar-agnostic, so if you see something you like, you can click on the registrar icon to be taken directly to the appropriate links to place your bid.
And if that’s not compelling enough, consider this – you can complete registrations instantly without having to wait or bother with auctions or a specific sale date.
Pros: Spamzilla is a one-stop-shop for both domain analysis and purchase. You can even get started for free and look at several data categories before upgrading to a paid plan.
Cons: Some of the features are behind a paywall, but you can still get a lot of data and be taken to the marketplace's expired domain auctions page without having to take out your credit card.
When it comes to acquiring top-notch domains, auctions are a perfect place to start, especially if you’d like inspiration in the naming department.
Before completing the sale, it's a good idea to find out the reason why the domain was dropped. If the domain was banned by Google or there was a legal issue surrounding it, the property might not be a great choice.
On the other hand, if there was an administrative error, such as the original owner’s email address changed and they didn’t get the renewal notice, then that person’s loss is your gain.