How to Buy Expired Domain Names: A Brief Guide to What Should be Considered
Today, it is a trend to buy expired domain although previously such a domain used to be dropped or made available for manual registration on first come first served basis. Currently, the registrars of such domain names auction them to the highest bidder for obtaining more revenue.
Whatever may be the mode of selling; there are justifiable reasons for finding domains that have expired and buying them. The most obvious one is to take the benefits of rich backlink profile and history of that domain if it is searched right.
Notably, buying expired domains that has a high Page Rank (PR) as well as Domain Authority (DA) prove to be easily and highly profitable for SEO business. Expired domain names with high traffic are perhaps the biggest pull for Private Blog Network or PBN SEO. So, apart from adding such a domain as a part of a network of private blogs, you can redirect it (301) to your site for getting some good level of trust and authority.
For an SEO professional, these benefits have a lot of meaning. This may seem to be Black Hat-ish but it is not so due to a perfectly good reason. The reason is whitehat process of buying a domain with a record for popularizing a new site in the same niche with interesting and relevant content for visitors of the expired site.
The Domain Name Expiration Process
When it comes to how to buy expired domains, it is first essential to know how a domain name expires. Here are the steps in brief:
- Expiration: As per the schedule, the domain name expires on the decided day. You can use the whois service to check the expiry date of a domain. In this stage, the expiration process is just triggered due to which it is possible to reclaim it.
- On Hold/Grace Period: In this stage, the domain has expired but is not still released for resale. This means it is still with the registrar. As per the registrar policy, it can be possible to renew the domain name via a quick payment. This period usually does not exceed 30 to 45 days, which is the Registrar Hold period and differs from the grace period during which renewal can occur without additional fees.
- Registrar Closeout Sale: This is when a few registrars try to sale the domain name at discounted price, called Buy It Now (BIN). This happens only if the renewal or auction has not taken place. In case the domain is sold, the Registrar Hold period is still valid and the original owner can yet claim re-possession. This is much like buying expiring domains.
- Redemption: Usually, registrars retain the domain and allow their owners to redeem it within 30 days for a redemption fee after expiration. This stage comes when the Registrar Hold expires but no renewal or sale has occurred. It marks releasing the domain name by the registrar to the registry. At this stage, the site and email addresses stop functioning.
- Pending Delete: This is when the domain is brought back into the pool for resale when the grace period is over and renewal is still not applied for. At this time, the owner has completely lost the domain. The status of Pending Delete tends to last for five days.
- Deleted: This is the last step wherein the domain is fully removed and that anyone can purchase it on first come first serve basis. While buying expired domain, you are actually making an attempt to catch them the moment the Pending Delete status has gone.
The Right Time to Buy Expired Domain Name
Generally, soon after the expiry, a domain name is not instantly made available for re-registration. This is because almost all registrars give a grace period of almost a week or even a year for renewing expired domain names. This period can vary for each domain name as well as registrar. For example, the grace period can be 6 months for a .com domain name, while it can be 3 months for .us one by the same registrar.
If a registrant does not redeem or renew, the domain name can be auctioned, which anyone can acquire by bidding on it. This is for those who wish to buy expiring domain. In case the domain name is not redeemed, purchased via auction, or renewed, it goes back to registry that decides its release date for registration again.
However, the recent trend is to buy an auctioned domain name that is not renewed but is about to reach its expired status. While it does not instantly go for auction, the domain name is instantly listed on the auction house partner’s site with a schedule for auction in near future.
Showing up in domain listings for auction, such a domain name will be available only via that auction service. This is because of the rule: An auction cannot happen at more than one location and that a domain name is exclusive to one such service. This is worth keeping in mind when it comes to how to buy expiring domain from relevant online auction sites.
In short, there is no right time as such for buying expired domain names. It all depends on domain name availability, your niche, and your purpose of using it.
What to Know to Buy Expired Domain Names
Ideally, you would start searching for best places to buy domains online that have expired. Hwoever, it is worth knowing that this task is not as identical as buying a standard name. While a standard one is just registered, an expired one is to be captured via different methods. For that, you need to know the following two points.
Type of Expired Domain
This is perhaps the first step in buying expired domain names. To know the type, you need to find the expiry date at WHOIS.
If it is between around 1 to 30 days in the past, just ask the registrar of the domain name to know how to buy it. The registrar is seen in the WHOIS outcome as the Registrar, ICANN Registrar, or Sponsoring Registrar. A few examples of registrars include GoDaddy, Moniker, and Mark Monitor.
If the expiry date exceeds 31 days, look for the Registrar Status in the result. If the status is Pending Delete, the domain name is a dropping one.
In general, you can buy the following types of domains:
- Expiring Domains: That are in auction, pre-release, or Pending Delete state.
- Expired Domains: That have just expired or whose auctions are over.
- Archived Domains: That have dropped in past one year.
These types indicate that you can have domain name types as on auction, Pending Delete, and BIN. To look for all these domain types, online tools or services such as DomCop, Expireddomains, NameJet, SnapNames, and FreshDrop tend to update their domain listings continuously.
Type of Expired Domain Name
This involves finding out which of the aforementioned six stages it falls under. Once you know the type of expired domain name, it marks the right time to start acquiring it. Here are the six types:
- Pre-Release: Is not renewed prior to its expiry date and is now sold in a public auction to the highest bidder. It is called pre-release, as the domain name is kept for sale before being putting into the registry. You can acquire such domain names only from its auction source that is searchable by asking the registrar. Some famous pre-release auction sources are SnapNames and NameJet.
For such domain names, you need to consider two dates, the start date of auction or cutoff date for a preorder and end date of auction.
Pros: Creation date not reset unlike dropping ones, chance to get all available ones unlike a backorder service
Cons: Expensive due to an open auction
- Closeout: Is not renewed before the expiry date and is also not a part of a pre-release auction. Available at BIN, such a domain name is available only at the BIN source. ‘Closeout’ here means the last chance to buy it from the registrar prior to releasing to the registry. Currently, TDNAM only sells such domain names. For these domain names, you need to consider the close date.
Pros: Creation date not reset unlike dropping ones, best value for money
Cons: No precise prediction for its availability
- On Hold: Is not renewed but is under the Registrar Hold status. While most of these domains are legitimate, a few can result in a legal clash. You can buy such domains only through their owners. The most vital date in this case is its expiry date.
Pros: Less competition due to direct negotiation with the owner, no creation date reset
Cons: More acquisition cost as the owner has to renew the domain by paying redemption fee
- Redemption: Is under the Redemption status. Even these domain names can be brought only from their owners.
Pros: Same as on hold domain names
Cons: Same as on hold domain names
- Dropping: Is not renewed and is now fixed for deletion from registry. Dropping indicates that the domain name is being deleted. You can buy such a domain name when it is dropped completely from the registry. Due to high competition, it is recommended acquiring it effectively via a drop catching (backorder) service. Examples of such services include NameJet, GoDaddy, and Pool. For dropping domains names, the important date is the date on which it will be removed from the registry.
Pros: Lower acquisition cost than those in open auction
Cons: Lower success rate in acquiring due to high competition, creation date reset
- Deleted: Is dropped or removed from the registry. You can buy it just as a regular domain name, provided no one else has registered it before you. For these domains, the most important date is the dropped or deleted date.
Pros: Most affordable as it is purchased like the standard domain name
Cons: Time needed to find domain names available for registration
Things to Consider to Buy Expired Domain Names in the Right Way
Most bloggers, especially for private blogging, do not consider new domains but the old or expired ones for their niche blogs. This is due to the fact that the latter ones come with innate quality backlinks, DA, and high ranking ability. To enjoy these benefits, you need to choose the right expired domain. After all, you would not like to dig yourself into the pool of legal disputes. So, here are some things to consider for that purpose:
- Check for spam. The domain name should not have spam results. You can find this out by Web page snapshots via Wayback Machine or by checking the backlink profile through Majestic SEO.
- The domain authority, indicating the site’s ranking power, should be 20+. You can check this out at Open Site Explorer.
- Check for Google’s ban on the AdSense account for that domain. If it exists, it means that the domain did not comply with the rules and conditions. Such a domain is not worthy of your money. To check this out, consider using the AdSense Sandbox tool that shows ads for the entered URL. If the ads are not shown for your site, it indicates a higher risk of spam. This check is a must if you will be setting up a micro blog on that domain for earning advertising revenue.
- Check two more metrics namely, trust flow and citation flow, as they are the most reliable ways to find out about the quality of prevailing backlinks to the domain. You can find out the ratings Majestic SEO. If the trust flow is very low, it is the indicator of more number of spam backlinks. As a rule of thumb, the trust flow needs to be a minimum of 25% of the citation flow. In case of any doubt, choose a domain with higher trust flow than the citation flow.
- Do not buy expired domain names that were on the Web before 2000, as they are considered too old to meet the latest specifications.