If you ever wondered what expired domains are, how they can expire, or how to put your hands on them, then read on, because this guide explains it all…
What are expired domains
Why domain names expire
When do expired domains become available
Why buy expired domains
Where to buy expired domains
Before you buy an expired domain
How to buy expired domains
How to make money with expired domains
First of all, although registered for an individual, a company or an organization, who usually called the domain owner, nobody really owns a domain name.
Domain names are rented for a certain amount of time during which the domain owner has the right to use the domain name. This time usually ranges between 1 to 10 years and can be renewed at any time.
Whenever an individual, company or organization does not renew this rental contract for the domain or cancels it deliberately, this domain expires and will become available for re-registration.
The 7 stages of expired domains
- The registrar reminds the owner of the upcoming domain name expiration
- The registrar informs the owner of the domain name expiration
- The domain name enters a renewal grace period (usually 30 days)
- The domain name is on registrar hold (usually another 30 days)
- The domain name can be sold in an auction
- The domain name is returned to the registry
- The domain name is released for public registration
A domain name could expire accidentally or intentionally due to different reasons.
Accidental domain expiration
- Auto-renew not enabled
- Outdated billing information
- Expired contact email address
Intentional domain expiration
- Domain name is not needed anymore
- Original domain name registrant went out of business
What if your domain expired accidentally?
Although it might sound scary at first when you receive the information that your domain expired, not everything is lost.
While the domain is in its grace period you will still be able to renew it without any additional fees. You can do this through your domain registrars interface, as you would normally do when renewing a domain.
Once the grace period is over, the domain will be in a state of registrar hold for another 30 days. During this time you still can get your domain back with paying an additional redemption fee on top of the normal renewal fee.
Renewal grace period
Expired domains can become available at their different stages, once the grace period is over.
Registrar hold period
It starts during the redemption period that your domain registrar might try to sell the domain in an auction to the highest bidder, who has to wait until the end of the redemption period to get control over the domain.
If the original domain registrant decides during this redemption period to renew the domain, and pays the redemption fee on top of the renewal fee, he will gain back control over the domain.
The highest bidder will have the bidding fee refunded in this case.
After the registrar hold period
Once this passed, and the domain is neither renewed by the original domain registrant, auctioned off to the highest bidder, or sold otherwise, the domain registrar will give the domain name back to the registry.
It will then eventually be released back for public registration.
Not only will an expired domain give you the right to use the desired domain name, but it also comes with a few advantages.
As the domain name pointed to a previously established site, it will come with some SEO value, such as domain authority and a number of backlinks still pointing to it.
You can take benefit of this value when it comes to rank your site in the search engines.
ExpiredDomains.net lets you search its database of expired domains that are available on various domain auction sites, and apply filters to narrow down the search results.
It also allows you to search for Deleted Domains, these are the ones who are not in an auction anymore and can be registered through your preferred domain registrar at a normal registration fee.
When using the search function, SnapNames.com will give you the minimum bid or price of the domain, depending on its status.
Although it is a bit tricky to find, you can apply some basic filters to your search results. Simply click on the grey bar on the left for the search options to fade in.
NamJet.com will allow you to search for a keyword to find your new domain name. You can then apply various filters to the search results, such as special searching only for special top-level domains, the range of bid amounts, or the status of the domain.
In the list of results, it will show you the number of bidders, the minimum and high bid, as well as the closing time.
You can use DropCatch.com to search for and backorder domains. A few filter functions will allow you to narrow down your search results, such as auctions ending today or auctions from a private seller.
In the list of expired domains you can see how much time is left until the end of the auction, how many bids were placed, and the minimum bid price.
The advanced search function of GodDaddy’s Domain Name Aftermarket allows you to limit your results by domain extension, price range, characters, number of bids, estimated traffic and more.
Different to the other services listed above, GoDaddy will give you an estimated domain value in the result list, which I always would take with a grain of salt.
Before you go ahead and bid or order the domain, you might want to run a couple of checks to make sure it’s worth the investment.
Some of the auction sites have links to tools where you can check some of the important metrics, or they show them even in their marketplace.
Here are a few metrics you want to be sure of:
- Age of the domain
- Backlink quality
- Moz Rankings for Page Authority and Domain Authority
- Estimated traffic
- Possible Google bans
How you can buy a domain that just expired depends on the stage the domain name is in.
Once the domain name left the grace period, it might be listed on domain name auction sites like the ones mentioned above. From here you can make an offer what you are willing to pay for the domain name.
Some of these auction sites show how many bidders there are for that domain name, and the minimum amount to bid in order to put your hands on that domain name.
Domains that did not sell during an auction and were released to the public again, can be registered with any registrar. You can find these domains easily with ExpiredDomains.net. Just check their Deleted Domains section and pay attention to the status “available“.
How to make money with expired domains?
Here are two ways how you could monetize a domain that you purchased from the domain aftermarket, especially if the domain has still backlinks pointed towards it and some steady traffic coming in.
Build your own site
You could take advantage of the backlinks and age authority the domain has acquired already, and build a site around it.
First, you set up a new WordPress blog on your new domain, and add your content. If you want to be quick, consider using and rewriting PLR articles. Just make sure that they are of high quality.
Then you could monetize this site either with AdSense or with adding links to matching affiliate products in your niche.
Flip the site
The second option is similar to the one above, but it uses a different strategy.
Rather than monetizing the site with AdSense or affiliate products in the long run, you might want to flip the site, means sell it including the content for a much higher price than you have purchased the domain for.
You can use sites such as Flippa.com to list and sell this online business.
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Have you ever purchased expired domains? Are you still using the domain name, or did you use the domain flipping method and sell it again? Let us know your experience in the comment section below.