No, no, no. ToysRUs made a perfectly logical decison that most any business would do and Google tanked them for it. ToysRUs wanted the url toys.com to direct to their site.  They're all about toys and they simply bought a url that described their business and told the url where to take people.  Google tanked them in the rankings because Toys.com came with link juice. Google assumed that Toys.com was doing this to manipulate the search engines but there is just, to my knowledge, ZERO evidence of this.  This is another case of Google caring more about the possible spam threat than the actual rankings for searchers.
Your best chance of getting it is contacting the current registrant and negotiating to buy it. After that, your best chance is buying it in auction or finding it listed with a “buy it now” price at a marketplace. Your other option is to find a broker who can negotiate on your behalf (if the domain name sells for a few thousand or higher…brokers likely won’t have the time or inclination to negotiate smaller deals).
Thank you for a very informative article. I am still a bit confused on a couple of things. There is a domain that I have been looking to purchase for about a year now and it expires within the next 24 hours. It is with name.com and appears for backorder at snapnames but not at namejet. I am assuming this is because they are both connected auction houses?
If you are pursuing option 1, then you will want to use an automated service for the reasons mentioned in the article. Follow the process in the article to see which registrar the domain name is located at. If it’s at a Auction House like GoDaddy, NameJet or SnapNames, I believe they publicly share if there is a backorder on a domain name but not who placed that backorder. (Any interest in a domain name may be enough for someone else to place a backorder, thereby driving interest in the domain name that may be visible to the registrant.) So if the domain is at a registrar partnered with one of these companies, then you’ll have to monitor it manually (via calendar entries based on the whois expiration data) to maintain your distance.
Hundreds of thousands of domains expire everyday. While most of them are trash, quite a few are aged domains having excellent backlinks. These can be easily filtered using metrics from Majestic (Trust Flow) & Moz (Domain Authority). These are great for your money sites or for building private blog networks. Some of these domains have natural organic traffic, that can be determined by their SEMrush rank or the SimilarWeb data. These are great for domain parking or for promoting affiliate offers.

Then the number is an HRL so it’ll be quite a bit different then you’ll see an expired domains because domain pop service is not very good compared to HREFs. Usually this shows about 20 percent of the total lengths. This shows more like 80. Okay? As you can see it has actually 162 referring domains which is quite a lot better than we saw in expired domains.
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.
For many reasons, these domain names expire and become available to the market. Perhaps the domain renewal fees are unpaid. The owner no longer needs the domain or business came to a halt. With the large pool of domain names that become invalid daily, investors who are looking to cash in on the traffic that they generate have to do extra work to find the most profitable every day. The trick is to find expired domains.
I don't necessarily agree with some that dropped domains don't have value for SEO purposes but either way one thing you can do is to check out our tool for finding auction domain names (the tool has a database of domains available buy from GoDaddy and SEDO and also give additional SEO criteria to look up for the domains like backlinks, Compete data, CPC, Google stats, Alexa stats, etc. and there is also an option to schedule auction domain alerts so that you can be notified via email if a domain name meeting criteria you specify gets put up for sale) or you could use our tool fo domains dropping soon that shows all domains dropping in the next 5 days that way you can be ready to snap them up right away.
Also, I currently have two other domains that are registered with Squarespace, and I have their annual payments set up automatically so I never have to manually pay (and so nobody else gets that window of opportunity to take the domain away from me). Would it be possible that the owner of this domain might just have a similar system in place and that I might be wasting my time?
Your best chance of getting it is contacting the current registrant and negotiating to buy it. After that, your best chance is buying it in auction or finding it listed with a “buy it now” price at a marketplace. Your other option is to find a broker who can negotiate on your behalf (if the domain name sells for a few thousand or higher…brokers likely won’t have the time or inclination to negotiate smaller deals).

Ultimately, I was left with a semi-automated process of scraping sites and running an intricate series of processes to come up with a list of expired domains that I then had to evaluate by hand. This meant I had Majestic and Moz open to check the backlink anchor text and Archive.org to check for obvious spam for every single possible domain. The process was excruciatingly slow and tedious, but absolutely necessary to find domains that would be suitable for building out.


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.
I am trying to find the auction house partnered with “Registration Technologies, Inc.” (http://registrationtek.com/). They appear ancient, but still active. I have attempted to contact them and received no response to my queries. How would I go about finding the auction house they are partnered with? Are you certain that all auctioning partnerships are exclusive?
What about option #4 - Redirect your existing domain to the old domain? I bought an old domain that is 100% relevant to my current domain but currently has with very little content. It did have more content fours years ago. The old domain is 13 years old, pr=3, while my current is 7 months old pr=1 and a decent amount of content. The old domain I purchased was not expired though and I do not know if this makes a difference. What are the pros and cons of option #4? Am I correct to think that option #1 would result in no benefit from the old domain's age value and if so why is it not listed as a con, a MAJOR one. Its hard to believe that a 301 using option 1 would give my existing domain 13 years credit but I'll take it if it does.
Since high quality expired domains are in low supply, the huge numbers of marketers competing for those drop domains tend to drive prices up. Also, if you use an exchange, you’re basically lucky to get whatever you can afford. In other words, niche specificity isn't guaranteed. This is going to be a problem because as Google continues to evolve, it is cracking down on domain niche relevance. In other words, its software is fast evolving to the point that it can tell what the niche of a particular domain is. If your private blog network is a patchwork of expired domains that involve many different and dissimilar niches, then you might be in trouble. You are at great risk of being penalized by Google.
At the end of the day, this article is geared to startups, business entrepreneurs, webmasters and marketing professionals who need to understand the process, and I guestimate that the process listed in the article above accounts for 99%+ of all expired domain names. All of your points are valid and appreciated, but if someone is interested in buying a good, brandable domain name for their business, they should follow the instructions above to have the best chance of grabbing it.
DomCop has a great offer that all of you buying expired domains should consider. For the price of a couple domain names, you can use DomCop for a month, snag some excellent domain names, which would otherwise cost you thousands of dollars. If you're considering expired domain software and don't have the knowledge to program your own crawler, I'd lean towards DomCop.
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