Expired domain names are like a box of chocolates...

I received an email from a regular blog reader of Kickstart Commerce.

Expired domain name lessonsThis person totally stoked about how they read my latest blog about finding and buying domain names.

They found an expired domain name to die for, let them tell it.

I was super excited, as I usually am, to hear from our readers about this reader’s good fortune find.

I was elated until I researched the readers’ good fortune domain name.

The reader did almost everything correctly based on their email.

The one missing piece the reader did not note was performing a search on the domain itself for negative or scam reviews using Google or another search engine.

Had the reader performed this simple step, the reader would have figured out that another company had used their so-called good fortune of an expired domain name to run a scam.

I was surprised and heartbroken for the reader when I searched.

To my dismay, I saw results with this domain and the words scam, negative reviews, and complaints as prefixes and suffixes a few times.

I guess the reader was so excited about the domain that they didn’t think about performing any due diligence to ensure the expired domain name had not been used in a deceptive way.

Based on the steps outlined in their email, this reader was duped by not performing this one step, as all other steps revealed nothing but positive results.

My only wish for this reader would have been that the reader would have performed this step before becoming emotionally attached to this domain in a bidding war that ended with the reader winning a domain that, for now, is useless.

Buying expired domain names can be a costly and painful lesson when not careful.

For this reader, it’s a costly $250 lesson about unknowingly buying tainted expired domain names.

But as life will gladly teach us all, there is nothing like a bought lesson.

When we pay for costly mistakes with the money we’ve tirelessly worked for, there is a greater appreciation to be very mindful of how minor mistakes can cost us in major ways.

The reader was not at all happy to find out that their gem of an expired domain name was a too-good-to-be-true purchase.

However, the good news is that the domain name can be rehabbed, although it will take some good ole SEO work to diminish the current negative rankings for the expired domain.

Why buying expired domain names are like a box of chocolates.

No matter where you land in the world, everyone remembers the line from the movie Forrest Gump about the box of chocolates and never knowing what one will get.

The same statement can be said when buying expired domain names too!

You truly never know what you’re purchasing if you don’t perform thorough due diligence on the expired domain name in the auction.

In addition, purchasing expired domain names can be much like purchasing an auctioned home that has been foreclosed in another state or city that you’re unfamiliar with.

There is always a chance that foreclosed homes can be invisible money pits that only reveal themselves as such when a buyer doesn’t perform thorough due diligence.

And if you’re not familiar with foreclosure real estate, then try buying a car at a car auction.

It may look good on the interior and exterior but could very well operate like a lemon once the *new* wears off.

Much of the same can be said about buying expired domain names.

I’ve had my fair share of wonderful expired domain finds that turned out to be a big waste of money and time.

I’ve participated in and won tainted domains on multiple occasions. Some expired domains I purchased on purpose, while a good number were accidental.

And just why were these expired domains a complete waste?

Well, most of the time, it’s out of sheer laziness on my part to do my homework on the expired domain name.

Most of the expired domains I speak of were a waste because I chose to participate in an auction ending in a matter of a few minutes.

Haste always makes waste, especially when trying to buy expired domain names on a feel and sound-good high instead of sound judgment.

Given the auction had tens of minutes remaining, I could have taken my time and performed a diligent review of the expired domain that would save me in disappointment and money in the long run.

Why would anyone buy a damaged, expired domain name on purpose?

Now there are times were it makes perfect sense to but a tainted or severely penalized domain name.

I recall one domain I knowingly purchased because I saw that I could rehab the domain from bad link building and flip it for a greater amount.

I purchased the domain for pennies on the dollar.

In short, I built a relevant website on it and worked to remove the bad links contacting webmasters of the linked websites and using the disavow tool in Google Webmaster tool.

It took me 10 months to pull off, but it was well worth it for a couple of reasons.

For one, it puts a very popular keyword or exact match domain back in good standing with search engines.

In addition, I was able to make roughly $75-100 per month using Adsense while waiting for the domain and website to return to good standing.

Then to add an end-user sale for a high four-figure amount as the icing on the cake, I was pleased and would do it all over again (although I don’t recommend this for all domains).

Should you buy an expired domain name for your business to use?

Again, I don’t recommend buying severely damaged expired domains that have been used as a church and burn websites or have been used in scams of any type.

It doesn’t always work out that one can rehab a severely damaged expired domain name back into good standings with search engines at all or in the time it took me.

As my reader learned, nothing is promised, and each expired domain must be researched and purchased on a case-by-case basis.

As for their expired domain, my guess is that they will either hold onto the domain or not renew when the time comes.

However, they could very well make every attempt to rehab the name back into good standing, seeing they are $250 into this expired domain name adventure of an investment.

Nevertheless, no matter the expired domain name, please save yourself the frustration and money, and perform sound due diligence so that you know in full transparency what you are in for when buying expired domains.

Have you purchased an expired domain name only to find out that it was severely damaged in some aspect?

How did you find out about the expired domain being damaged, and what did you do with the domain?


Written by Alvin Brown
He's an experienced and passionate serial entrepreneur, founder and publisher of Kickstart Commerce. Alvin possesses a great love for startups dominating their market using profitable digital strategies for greater commerce.