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.
If your domain name was in fact stolen from you, please go file a police report as soon as possible. If, instead, you allowed your domain name to expire through carelessness or ignorance, then you’ve learned a valuable lesson: domains have value. I’m not saying this to be a jerk, I’m saying this because words matter and saying something was “stolen” when in fact it was allowed to expire is not truth. I’m happy to share my knowledge as clearly as possible for others to benefit from, and all I ask is that others do the same.
Referring domains for anchor phrases usually reveals similar information. What you really want to look out for is whether or not the site has been picked up by a spammer in the past. A lot of times these expired domains were dropped, picked up by a website owner who then tried to rank it for keywords like Viagra, Cialis and whatever. You obviously don’t want that kind of domain.
Lately I've noticed a lot of questions in Q&A centering on purchasing expired domains. A lot of our members have expressed interest in buying old domains for a variety of prices (some are cheap, some are going for upwards of $50k) and want some advice on what to do with the domains once they've been purchased. I'm no domainer, nor am I an expert in such a business tactic, but I generally recommend one of three different options for an expired domain (and would love to hear more if you've got any).
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.
Now a lot of time, you'll search for things and you'll think you're getting niche website's back, but actually, in fact, because of Google's shift towards big authority websites, you'll get things like Amazon listings. So if you don't want to end up crawling those big authority websites - and you want just the smaller ones, then you can make sure that the website, you'll crawl from the search engine results, is relevant by putting in a metadata requirement here. So any results that come back from the scrape of Google for any of these search terms, here you can say that they must contain one of these things, so what you can do is you can just put that your search terms in there back into there into the metadata requirement. So then, when a result comes back from google, it will loop through these line, separated terms and it'll say this is a homepage metadata, so the title, the keyword, the description, does it contain these?
I wish I could tell you that expired domains are some sort of magic bullet solution to all your traffic problems and headaches. Unfortunately, if I were to say that to you, I would be lying. There are drawbacks. Just like with anything else in life, there are advantages and disadvantages. The problems with expired domains is that they are often hard to find on your own. You can take wild guesses and waste a lot of time, effort and energy, and end up with nothing. Also, if you were to try to scope out drop domains by trying to find them in the most common way, which is to use a drop domain exchange, expect to pay a lot of money. Why? Because of heavy competition. Keep in mind that you’re not the only person who knows that dropped domains can bring a lot of traffic to the table. There are many other online marketers out there that realize drop domains' traffic value.

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?
Answer: Registrars are not set-up to negotiate the selling price of expiring domain names. Their technical support team likely won’t even know what you’re referring to, let alone who to refer your inquiry to. It’s likely your offer won’t even be worth their time to handle. Unless you know the founder, president or chief operating officer of the registrar, you won’t even be able to have a dialogue about it. In addition, depending on how they interpret the ICANN registrar rules, it may not even be possible.
When you are searching for the expired domain which you might consider buying, you can conduct expired domains search and learn how to buy expired domains. Or you can take an easier route and go to searchenginereports.net from your browser’s search bar. Once you are on the site, click on the ‘Free SEO Tools’ icon. Scroll down the list of free SEO tools icons till you come to ‘Expired Domains Tool’ icon.
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.

If you bought the domain name, the typical procedure is to unlock the domain name, then either push it to your account at the same registrar (such as https://www.domainsherpa.com/how-to-push-a-domain-name-at-godaddy-com/) or send you the authorization code so you can transfer the domain name to a different registrar (https://www.domainsherpa.com/how-to-transfer-a-domain-name-to-another-registrar/).
I've seen some people comment about losing the link value of domains that have expired and picked up, but what about non-expired domains?  Let's say a competitor is going out of business and they still have a year or two left, and we buy their domain and site.  Is there a risk changing registrant info and registrars, even if I keep their site up and mostly the same as before?  I was under the impression that I'd want to keep it under their name so as not to hit the uber-reset button on the domain's inbound link value.
Once a domain expires, the registrar will allow around 30 days for the original owner to renew it. This period depends on the registrar and can range from 2 weeks to a whole year. Once this period is over, the domain enters the "Pending Delete" status, during which it cannot be renewed, purchased or modified in any way. Once the Pending delete status is over, the domain is dropped back into the available pool, and can now be purchased by anyone.
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