How I Evaluate and Acquire Expiring Domains


“In my years of scanning expiring domain name lists I’ve found that only 7% – 12% of all names, that expire, mean anything to more than one person”

– Frank Schilling , founder of Uniregistry

There are many resources for acquiring brandable domains such as hand registration, a fellow domainer, or “the drops”.  But one of the most popular methods is trolling the vast pool of domains that expire daily.

Aside from the expiring domain auctions at places like GoDaddy and SnapNames many domainers look for gems in the GoDaddy Closeouts.  This is a precarious task since all the domains that reach the Closeout marketplace have already been examined by dozens of other domain investors and been deemed unworthy of a bid at auction. 

Therefore to be a successful Closeout domain buyer one needs an eye keen enough to see treasure where others saw trash.

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What Kind of Domainer Are You? Part One: Domain Flipping

After being shot down numerous times, I humbled myself and came to the stark realization that this is a much more intricate process.

Ali Zandi

Before we buy a domain we should have a concrete plan for selling it. For veteran domainers this is an almost instantaneous calculation when they consider a domain purchase.  Beginners, on the other hand, may need to write down and think through their plan before hand.  In either case a practical plan should include both a buy and sell price, a list of potential customers and preferred methods for transactions (sales venue, payment process, commission and escrow fees etc).

Without a plan we might acquire a domain with little to no marketability or overpay and lose potential profit. 

This process will be different for different types of domainers including what I call flippers, trend riders and investors.

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Eight Ways to Fail at Domaining

“A diamond is a chunk of coal that did well under pressure.”Henry Kissinger

Profitable domainers fail 97% of the time on the way to selling 3% of their inventory each year.  Domaining is a highly speculative endeavor.  To be profitable means walking a virtual tightrope of income, expenses and probabilities.  On top of that we have to compete with thousands of other domainers from around the globe. So if we want to exceed – we have to excel.  On the other hand, if we want to fail, there’s at least eight ways to do it:

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Retrospective: My Four Years as a Domainer

In many ways, most domain name investment is better labeled as speculation……… Less is more – quality over quantity. Don’t invest unless you understand the quality of a domain, and your options to cash out.

Alan Dunn at NameCorp

I’ve just completed my fourth year of an exciting and profitable domaining adventure.  So today, at the start of a new year, I’m looking back and sharing my reflections on my past successes and failures. This includes insights, stats and some year over year sales analysis.


Keep in mind that I characterize myself as a journeyman domainer investing, almost exclusively, in dot-com, brandable domains.  Everyone’s journey is different but here’s the story of mine.

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Pricing and Profits; Threading the Eye of the Needle

Everybody knows that if we price our domains too high, they won’t sell and we’ll go bankrupt, right? Well not everybody. As newbies we think we’ve struck gold with hand-regged domains like SandpaperSusan.com and we list them for sale at 5 figures. After a year when it hasn’t sold we feel foolish and change it to a bargain price of $50. After a month, when it still hasn’t sold, we’re at our wits end.

The art and science of domain pricing is a crucial factor in the management of our portfolio. It can make or break our business. I feel it’s one of the most under-recognized factors in the, domain profitability, equation.
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Domain Renewals: The Silent Killer

If you are buying domains and you say to yourself that you will hold it for a year and then decide to renew, you are buying the WRONG ones.
Rick Schwartz

One of the great joys of domaining is waking up and seeing the words, Your Domain Has Sold!, in your inbox. There’s nothing better than earning several hundred, or even several thousand, dollars while we’re sleeping. But there’s another, more insidious, process that also occurs while we sleep. It’s the silent cancer that eats away at the money in our pocket and it’s called, domain renewals.

Every day the clock is ticking on the hundreds (or thousands) of domains we own. Renewal fees come due night after night. For every thousand domains in our portfolio the annual renewal cost is about $8,000 per year. That’s $666 per month or about $22 a day. Yikes!

With numbers like that we’ve gotta be careful and make sure our portfolio is a clean, lean selling machine with no dead weight. Otherwise renewal costs will eat our profits faster than an African tapeworm. So how do we avoid that?
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The Brandable Insider: Hand Reg Is Dead. Or Is It?

The big $$ is with the end user. You have to be patient and position yourself with a commercial location to be in THEIR PATH.Rick Schwartz, the Domain King

I wish I had a dollar for every time I’ve heard someone say hand reg is dead. I don’t think it’s true. I’ve sold a few dozen hand registered brandable domains over the past two years for prices between $2k and $3k. Was it easy? No. Did it require hundreds of hours of hard work? Yes. Was it worth it? Well…..maybe.

Domainers can still hand reg saleable brandable domains but it’s becoming increasingly difficult and very, very time consuming. To make matters worse, only a tiny percentage of what we reg and renew will sell to an end user in any given year.
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The Brandable Insider: From $19 Purchase to $4k Sale in 6 Months

When I BUY a domain I put a value on it and I stick with that value. PERIOD! Offers much lower than my value MEAN NOTHING!!Rick Schwartz

In October 2016 I acquired a strong brandable in the Go Daddy closeouts. I was very surprised that no one had bid on it and I bought it immediately. About 6 months later, I got an email from someone who was interested in buying it.

Now……….. whenever I get an inquiry on a domain, the very first thing I do, is research the person making the inquiry. I don’t respond to their email until I have some intel on the ID of the potential buyer. Why? Because my sale price and negotiation strategy may vary greatly depending on the identity of the person wanting to buy the domain.
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The Brandable Insider: The Secret Path to Profits (Part II)

“Don’t be romantic about your domains. Don’t fall in love with them. You’re not a collector of domain names, you’re an investor.”Michael Cyger at DNAcademy

Last week we talked about money management and its crucial impact on our success as domainers. Small changes in money management can make or break our business. One of the biggest mistakes we make as domainers is renewing domains that have little chance of selling in the next one or two years.

If you had zero end user sales last year then renewals will likely take you further into the hole. If you had a few sales then renewals can still significantly erode your profits. So it’s a fine line to walk.
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The Brandable Insider: The Secret Path to Profits

“Domaining is a hard industry, very few make money but many like to pretend that they do.”Morgan Linton, Co-founder of Fashion Metric

I like to play poker. No-Limit Hold’em to be precise. But I’m an average player and I don’t play very often. However, despite my shortcomings, over the past 10 years, I’ve won more money than I’ve lost. How can I say that? Because I have an Excel spreadsheet to prove it.

What’s the secret to my success? Well that’s easy. Smart money management. Huh? Let me explain.

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