If you buy keyword specific domains, you're really buying the type in traffic.  I use the URL builder and redirect through that URL so you can see how much traffic your getting from the keyword domain.  There seems to be no rythme or reason to what keyword domains deliver traffic and what don't.  By tracking traffic with the Google URL builder you get a feel for what names are giving you traffic and which are not. ie. the plural, the singular, two words, three words, the possessive, etc.
While getting a new domain name will give your site a clean slate and allow you to start a fresh marketing campaign, you may not be aware of the fact that some expired domains come with a high Page Rank value. A company that buys such a domain will not have to work so hard on website promotion and backlink building techniques. Thanks for updating this really informative post!

Yes, we port in all of the domains from NameJet, SnapNames, etc. There are a lot of great deals to be found. Some are absolute trash of course but if you can sift through them and put some time in (hopefully that is what we are trying to do with our tools is save time and give some value add with the SEO metrics, alerts, etc.) then you can find some great bargains.
Your course of action really depends on how much work and effort you can put into the expired domain. If you're barely able to maintain and optimize your current site, you probably want to just 301 redirect the old site (note: see my amended comment above about the link value not likely to be passed). If, however, you're more creative and have some time on your hands, you can try your hand at crafting a microsite. If you really know your stuff and are experienced at making money off various websites, you'd probably do well with the third option.
Hi Michael, thanks for the excellent writeup. I followed your steps and found that the domain name I’m seeking is currently registered with GoDaddy. Interestingly enough, I actually owned this domain name almost a decade ago, but out of laziness (at the time), I didn’t renew the registration. Someone else snatched it around the same time and has had it since. The website is dormant, with only an embedded video playlist from a YouTube account last updated over a year ago. The website itself hasn’t changed in appearance for several years.
There is no easy way to explain “all” things about expired domain names. As you stated Michael, Network Solutions domain names go to the partnered domain auction service NameJet.com BUT, not “all” do… NSI customers have the option to opt-out of having expired domains go to auction. If a customer picks this option, the domain name would go through the drop process and go PendingDelete around the 71st day after the expire date. When it is released from the registry, the domain name is fair game to the major dropcatching services and the private ones. This still doesn’t mean anybody would grab it, and the domain may become available to hand register.

* “Thousands of domain names that reach expired status never make it to any auction service and are released by the registry.” I think this is only if the registrar a) has an auction partner and b) nobody places a bid at the auction house. In that case, it drops normally and is deleted from the registry and available for anyone to hand register — including backorder services like SnapNames.com or Pool.com. I’m not sure why a registrar wouldn’t list an expiring domain name at the auction house as it could lead to extra revenue for them. Can you, Jamie?
1) pending delete auctions.  These are domains that were not renewed and are going through a pretty complicated drop process.  You can backorder these names at the auction venues and then each attempts to "catch" the dropping domain.  If one is successful you win the domain at $59 if you're the only one to backorder the name.  If more than one person backordered the domain a 3 day private auction is held.  Once the domain goes through the drop process, the back links have pretty much zero SEO benifit to the new domain owner.

While traffic, as an abstract, is fairly easy to understand and get, getting it on a consistent basis is another matter entirely. That’s why a lot of affiliate marketers who are serious about generating online traffic are quickly paying attention to drop domains. Drop domains is not a new phenomenon. People have been registering drop domains for many years now to scoop up traffic that those domains still attract. However, as Google continues to crack down, and as more social media platforms impose anti marketing rules, or rules that have an anti marketing effect, drop domains have become more prominent in the online marketing landscape. If you would like to tap into a fairly easy and potentially powerful source of online traffic, consider drop domains.
The whitelist filter for wanted characters is now split into three filters. The old whitelist is now named whitelist (only). When used, the domain has to consist only of the defined characters or numbers. No other characters are allowed. The new whitelist (any) filter finds domains that have at least one of the defined characters or numbers. The new whitelist (all) filter finds domains that have all defined characters or numbers at least once.
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