I’ve been hitting the domain closeout bin at Freshdrop.net regularly. I’ve found this site to be a great resource as compared to Godaddy’s site that I have used in the past. I’ve bought several pre-owned, nicely aged, domains over the past month or so and that means I have a lot of work to do in the next few weeks starting up new sites of various types. I did run across some weird/crazy domains and I have a few thoughts on buying used domains I thought I’d share.
Why Aged Domains?
Perhaps you’ve wondered why buy a recently expired domain instead of buying a new one? The answer is simple, Google loves domains with a history. Pre-owned domains have been around for a while and Google gives them a pass on many sandbox algorithms. Of course, if you go nuts and use some automated site generator on these domains Google will slap the site down. But, these domains are great for working in tougher niches and for high volume search keywords where new domain sandboxing can significantly delay the process. If these sites already have PageRank (PR) so much the better and if you find one that matches your keyword research, that’s even better.
One thing I noticed while buying used domains is that there is some craziness out there.
First of all, people seem to throw away perfectly good domains for no reason. These can be common personal names, keyword rich domain names and so forth. Why they do it and why these domains end up in the closeout bin at Freshdrop I have no idea. You can find some great domain names this way though.
On the flipside, there are domains that a greatly overpriced for what they are. I noticed several domains being sold for $50,000 where there would be little hope of the new site owner recouping the investment. For example, pledgeofallegiance.com being sold for $312,000. Sure, type in traffic, although ‘allegiance’ probably will get misspelled a lot anyway, and the keyword term gets a few thousand search hits a day but it isn’t all that monetizible. You would have a hard time making back the $312K.
I also noticed there were a lot of real estate agent domains up for sale. Wonder why that is right now? I guess a lot of them are getting out of that game due to the mortgage crisis. Another little scam that many real estate agents fall for is that they don’t own their personal name domain. Instead it belongs to their broker who redirects it to their own site and, when the agent quits their brokerage, they put the agent’s domain up for sale.
Another interesting trend I noticed were couples and pets domains like ryanandtricia.com or mydogwylie.com. You’ve got to wonder why these domains didn’t get renewed. That could be a sad tale or just that someone didn’t want to continue to pay $10/year for a domain that had two pages of pictures of the dog or wedding.
Do you have any crazy domain stories? Leave me a comment about them if you do.
My Domain Buying Strategy
I thought I’d cover a few basics of my own domain buying strategy although it isn’t that unique. A lot of people use this kind of approach to it.
First, as I mentioned way back in my Secret Guide to Social Blogging Success Series, having an blog entourage to boost a new blog is a good idea. If you can buy some well aged, 4 or more years old, domains with PageRank they can serve as your entourage to kick off and support new blogs, whether they’re social blogs or niche blogs.
I stick with .com, .net and .org and avoid other top level domains (TLD). Domains like .tv might be good but are comparatively expensive to renew. You can almost bet that a .info you find will have been used for spamming and you’ll have to spend time getting it back in Google’s good graces. I also don’t look at sites that have fake PR. This may also indicate Google problems that would have to be corrected before anything could be done with the site.
Next, I look for interesting keyword combos that somebody is dumping. There are premium names that have high paying keywords like ‘wedding’, ‘mortgage’ or ‘credit card’ in them but they’re usually way too expensive and the competition too tough to consider. But, sometimes, you can find offbeat ones, long tail ones or simply overlooked ones in the closeout bin. If they have a little age on them and if you work them wisely you can turn them into money earning sites working along the long tail edges of major keywords.
Lastly, I look for domain names that would fit well with niches I’ve already analyzed. For example, if I had researched ‘ants’ and found that it paid well in Adsense I might be inclined to purchase an expired exterminator’s domain. It may not have ‘ants’ in the name but Google may already have in categorized in the niche area I want to work so that can be a help.
Well, there’s my big ramble on buying domain names. Let me know if you have any thoughts or questions on buying pre-owned domains by leaving me a comment.