So you are in the market to find a domain name so you can make your first million (or two) on the internet.
Before you rush out and register that new domain I am going to suggest that you consider purchasing an existing aged domain.
An aged/expired domain is a domain that has previously been registered by someone else, and that person or company has, for whatever reason decided not to renew it.
Sometimes the reason is simply that they forget. There was a famous story a few years ago when a very valuable domain passport.com owned by Bill Gate’s Microsoft was forgotten about when it came time to renew the registration, meaning it became available for absolutely anyone to grab.
This guy did just that with this domain, but luckily for Microsoft this guy did the right thing and gave it back to them (I think Microsoft paid him a small sum to cover the registration).
Other reasons for not renewing a domain might be that the individual that owned the domain left the internet game, or they maybe transferred the business that used to operate on that domain to another person. In fact there are a multitude of reasons why domain names do not get renewed.
So what are the advantages for you re-registering an expired domain?
- Links – Most domains, particularly those domains that have been actively used in the past and not just left idle have other sites linking to them over time, and these links form a vital part in determining how well the site will rank in Google and other search engines for particular keyword phrases.
- Page Rank – As a consequence of these links, many of these expired domains will have existing page rank.
- Age – As a general rule the search engines give more ranking power to domains that have been continuously registered for a a longer period than other domains.
- Web site Visitors – Many domains will have established traffic, with visitors arriving to that domain on a regular basis, often as a result of previous campaigns completed by the previous web site owner.
- No Sandbox – New domains are once in a while placed in a “sandbox” where they will not rank as well as older domains until they have proven themselves to the search engines.
These are really the most attractive factors to consider when re-registering an expired domain versus registering a shiny new domain.
There is an important distinction I recommend you become familiar with between an expired or aged domain and a deleted domain.
An aged or expired domain name has the age preserved. For example if I registered a domain three years ago and then did not renew the registration and you come along and re-register it, then effectively the domain is still 3 years old and gets all the advantages of that age in the search engines.
If however, you re-register a deleted domain, then for all intensive purposes you have registered a BRAND NEW domain. You will still be be able to use any links, page rank, and traffic, but your domain may be subjected to the sandbox, and WILL be treated as a brand new domain by the search engines.
So the key is to make sure you get the domain before it is deleted by the domain registar. There are a number of websites with free search capability available that you can use to locate aged domains or expired domains.
Just do a search in Google for terms such as aged domain finder or something similar.
These websites will often even allow you to search for domains and return information about the age of the domain, existing page rank, number of links, traffic, and even allow you to use the wayback machine (a catalogue of all web pages at various points in time) to see what content was on the domain in the past.
Some of the more complete services will offer the functionality to search with keywords as well which is a very powerful feature.
You see domains rank better in the search engines if they contain a keyword relating to the particular niche you are looking to get involved in.
For example if you are selling products for cats, then if you have the word cat or cats in the domain name this will help you get better rankings than domains that do not have this (if everything else is equal).
Essential tips to purchasing aged domains
- Try and get a domain at least 5 years old (the older the better, this is a minimum).
- Aim for a decent number of links as possible (although this is not essential).
- A domain with existing page rank is not essential but a bonus if you can find it.
- Existing web traffic again is not necessary but is a huge bonus.
- Make sure the domain has a keyword relating to the niche you are going to use the domain in.
- Check the history of the domain to make sure you are happy with the previous content that has been used on the domain previously. Bad content may have blacklisted the domain in the search engines. Many services allow you to search for this automatically.
- Optional: Use a service that allows you to search closeouts. These are really cheap domains usually costing only $5 (plus standard registration fees). Why buy premium domains if you do not need them? You do not need to spend a heap of cash to find domains that have most of the items discussed above. In fact only recently I purchased a 10 year old domain, with a heap of existing traffic and lots of backlinks for just $5 !