Last week, I wrote what I considered a “controversial case study” on expired domains; but as it turns out, everyone seemed pretty supportive! The controversial part was really in the fact that I discussed the potential to link from these expired/reclaimed domains to your other existing niche sites. This is definitely not a “white hat” SEO tactic; but neither is most other types of link building.
However, what I wanted to focus on today was how these expired domains can be monetized other than using them as a link building tool (although that's certainly a way). In fact, I closed my last post out with the question: Where can I sell these domains? I really didn't know at that time. Well, after doing some research and seeing some results, I have 7 ideas of where to either sell the domains or monetize them in other ways.
1. Flipping the Domains on Auctions or Forums
After doing a bit of research, I found several webmaster forums that have an active market place for buying and selling domains – especially those with PageRank. Some of these forums include: Digital Point Forums, DNForum.com, and TrafficPlanet.com. I'm sure there are many other good forums where you can sell domains as well.
As an experiment last week, I listed one of my PageRank 3 domains on GoDaddy Auctions. This was an expired domain that I found a couple of weeks ago and had purchased for less than $10.
I put the minimum bid price at $47 to see what would happen. This domain had wordpress installed, but no content whatsoever. And guess what? The domain sold for my $47 list price!
I was a bit surprised because this was not a cool domain name either, it was just someone's name; like, john-doe.com. That's it. So, I made a quick flip of almost 5 times my investment. Not too bad. Now imagine doing this hundreds or thousands of times every month!
2. Selling Domains on Your Own Site
I could also quickly sell my domains here on my blog. If you have a blog in the online marketing space, you could potentially do the same.
I started thinking about this after my last post. I listed 10 domains as an example of the types of expired domains I was looking at. I mentioned that I hadn't had a chance to analyze the back links of these to see if they were spammy or even worth buying. However, within 2 hours all of those domains had been purchased! I was really surprised to see how quickly these were picked up by readers of my blog.
So, yes, the wheels are turning on the fact that I could simply list the expired domains with PageRank that I have found on my site and probably sell them very quickly. I may test the waters in the near future…we'll see.
In addition, I received a few emails from people interested in buying my PR 3 and 4 domains. I received offers between $30 and $50. So, the market appears to be there for me to turn around and sell these domains at a profit pretty easily. Maybe you could do the same on your blog?
3. Package and Sell Them on Flippa
I had written off selling these domains on Flippa because they charge $29 just to list your site! However, if you were able to package a dozen or so domains together, you could potentially sell them at a price worth the fees.
If you could sell 10 domains at an average price of $40 – that's $400. This would cover the Flippa fees and leave enough profit to still make it a good business. And this is on the low end for sure. You could probably list 20 or 30 domains together and spread out the costs much better.
So, if you don't have your own blog or audience to sell to, you can potentially still go the Flippa route.
4. Monetizing with Text Link Ads
Another way to monetize expired domains is by selling links. Again, this is perhaps on the controversial side, but its a big business. You can sell links on forums or other places, but one of the most established link marketplaces is Text-Link-Ads.
I haven't sold any links yet, but I'm close to testing this out. I have a site approved on the system and will likely be getting buyers very soon. Again, this is more of an experiment at this point – not sure how far I will take it.
However, the potential is big in selling links on Text Link Ads. A PR 3 site can easily bring in $20 to $30 a month, while a PR 4 site could top $50 a month. Higher page rank domains will bring in exponentially higher dollars.
Imaging having several hundred PR 3 and 4 domains bringing in $20 to $50 a month…not bad. Now imagine taking a site that has been consistently earning $50 a month via text link ads, and flipping that domain! If you can pull in 20 times monthly earnings, that's $1,000 for a $10 investment in the domain. I'll let you think about the possibilities there for a while.
Maybe flipping these types of monetized sites for 20 times earnings is not as easy, but some decent multiple is certainly doable.
5. Building the Expired Domains into Niche Sites
Another option for making money with these reclaimed domains, is to simply target a niche keyword and try to rank for that in Google. Ideally you can pick a keyword that is somehow related to the domain, but this is not essential.
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Lets say the domain John-Doe.com was a site for a financial planner. You could target any low competition financial term, even though its not specifically mentioned in the domain. Having an exact match domain is not critical.
Because these sites already have links and authority, the content you place on these sites technically should be ranking better than content placed on sites without any links or authority. I personally haven't done this, but the idea is certainly an intriguing one.
6. Build Authority Sites
If you are able to find a domain that has a PageRank of 5 or 6, you have a valuable asset. Why not develop a high quality authority site and rank for lots of keywords? This is a route that I would like to pursue if I can find a domain that makes sense to do so with, and has lots of authority already.
In this way, rather than spending years to build up the link profile of a brand new site, you can start ahead of the game! So, if you are planning on starting an authority site anyway, perhaps its worth considering starting that site on a domain that already has high quality links pointing to it.
7. Link to Your Other Sites
Finally, you can always just use the domains to link to your other niche sites. The focus of this post is not on this point, but it certainly is a way to monetize these domains, so it needed to make the list. This is a tried practice that is the basis for every blog network in existence out there. Blog networks continue to pop up (and probably always will), because it works.
Some blog networks fail for various reasons, but if you have complete control over the domains, hosting, and link placements – you can make sure to do it right.
Again, this is not something that Google is a fan of, but it is certainly a method for making money with expired domains. I haven't personally done this at this point, but many people do, and its definitely a way to get authoritative links pointing to your sites.
Overall, the more I look into finding expired domains, the more ways I am finding to potentially monetize them. So far, I've sold just one domain – but I've only put 1 domain up for sale. I've also received offers from blog readers, and I see lots of other potential ways of using these domains.
How far I go down this road, I don't know – but I'm definitely exploring options right now.
What do you think of these 7 ways to monetize expired domains? Do you have any other business models to add? If you have had any experience with this business, I would love to hear your thoughts.