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Since I normally use DropDay, I will provide some examples and screenshots of how I use this service to find expired domains. DropDay.com offers a free trial membership, so if you want to try out the service yourself you can do so (the trial membership lasts for 10 days or 100 searches).
Since I normally use DropDay, I will provide some examples and
screenshots of how I use this service to find expired domains.
DropDay.com offers a free trial membership, so if you want to try out
the service yourself you can do so (the trial membership lasts for 10
days or 100 searches).
The process of finding a domain will be quite similar when using
RegisterCompass or FreshDrop as well, although the user interface for
these different services will differ a bit.
How to sort through available domains When you do a search using
DropDay there will literally be thousands of domains to choose from,
and you will want to narrow the search to those that will perform best
in your blog network.
For the purposes of this exercise, I will show how I would do a search
for a PR2 domain. There are a few important features you will want to
select when doing such a search.
First, you will want to make sure you are searching only for the PR
range of domains you want to purchase. You may also want to limit
your search according to certain domain extensions (.com, .net, and
.org - for example).
Second, you will want the domain to have some age to it as well.
Normally, I only purchase domains that are at least three years of age
or older. This means I will want the domain to be registered at least in
2008 or earlier.
Third, you will want a domain that still has some links showing up,
and preferably from multiple sources. I usually want to make sure that
it has at least two or more separate domains linking to it - although the
more the better.
Here is a screen shot of the search screen at DropDay.com and how I
will usually fill it out when doing a search:
As you can see, I've selected boxes for certain extensions I like (.com,
.net, .org, .info), PR2, creation date of 2008 or later, and I've also
chosen to search for domains expiring the next day (April 15th). After
I've filed out the search form and click on the "FIND" button, here are
some of the results I see:
At this point you will want to manually check the listed domain names
to make sure that they are not associated with porn, gambling, hate
speech, illegal selling of pharmaceuticals and similar undesirable
elements. You want the sites you have in your network to be as clean
and inoffensive as possible, so avoid any domains that have names that
may be controversial. I would also avoid any domains that use trade
names as well, to avoid legal problems down the road.
If you are simply purchasing sites to use to post articles for a variety of
different niches to, the domain name itself is probably not important
unless you are building a niche specific posting network.
However, even with niche networks, you can re-purpose a domain for
your niche by retitling it something relevant. For example, you might
purchase Sharonweisenbach.com for a health niche network and retitle
it "Sharon Weisenbach's Health Blog" (or something similar), and then
fill it with health related content.
Looking at the list returned by dropday, I decided to check out the last
one: Epicslo.com. This domain was registered originally in 2008, so it
has some age to it, and it shows at least six different sites linking to it. I
will next move on and start to do the necessary "Due Diligence"
checks on it.
Although sites like DropDay.com will often alert you if they think the PR
is false, you should check this for yourself. Fake PageRank is one of the
biggest problems domain buyers encounter, and you always need to do
First, you should do a check with Google using the info: command. To
do this, type info:epicslo.com and info:www.epicslo.com into Google's
When you do this search you will want to make sure that the domain
results show the same domain as you typed in.
Here is what it should look like:
And here is what it should not look like:
By the way, the fact that there is a video returned in the results is a
good sign - it means there was probably some real content on the site
beforehand and possibly multiple pages that can be recreated that may
have some PR to them as well (I'll get into that further below).
I will also use the following websites to do additional PR checks:
Here is a screen shot of the results from www.rankchecker.com:
A check using both of these sites comes up as it having valid PR, so I'm
ready to move onto the next step!
Your next step will involved checking to see if the domain has any
history of being "dropped" from the internet registry. Some blog
network experts have suggested that if a site has been dropped in the
past, it has a higher chance of losing it PageRank down the road,
although this claim may be a bit speculative.
For me, I don't worry too much about domain drops for PR1 or PR2
domains. But once I get to PR3 domains or higher, I pay careful
attention to drops. If a domain has suffered a drop within the past two
years, I generally avoid it. Also, if a domain has had multiple drops, I
tend to avoid it as well. To check whether a domain has ever been
dropped you need to go to:
http://whois.domaintools.com and enter in the domain name. When I
do this, I get the following results:
(I've blurred out some of the previous registrar's name for their
privacy). These are good results - the domain shows only one registrar
and has never been dropped. It has passed this check.
But what if it had been dropped? For example's sake, here are the
results for another domain found up for auction at DropDay.com:
This domain shows one drop and at this point you might want to see if
you can figure out how long ago it was dropped. Looking at the above
information we can see that the domain is actually six years of age
(where it says "32 changes on 13 unique IP addresses over 6 years). For
even more information, click on the "Registration" tab.
Here you will see that the domain was re-created in 2008. This means
the drop is four years old, and is probably safe to purchase as many PR
updates have happened during the past four years and it has retained
its PR so far.
Back to the domain epicslo.com - we now want to double check the
previous content on the site, to make sure it is not offensive in any way.
To do this, we can use the "Wayback Machine" at archive.org.
This website captures screenshots of websites, so you can see what the
original content was on the site.
To do this, first go to: http://archive.org/web/web.php - and type in the
domain name and click "Take Me Back". The results we get look like
What this shows me is that there are only two screen shots of the site
archived - one from early 2011 and another from 2008. I click the
results from 2011, and see the following screen shot of the site from
January 28, 2011:
I like what I see here. The site looks like it was originally quite rich in
content and had videos (which is why there was a video showing up in
our earlier info: check). This also means it may likely have many other
pages as well that can be re-created, possibly some with PageRank to
them. And the content is not at all offensive: in fact, it seems to be
mostly religious in nature.
This domain has definitely passed check #3!
As I mentioned, the screen shot above suggests there were many other
pages originally on the site (you can see some page titles under "recent
articles"). and I can use this information to compile a list of other pages
that used to be on the website, and then check their PR.
However, another important check is to see if any of the previous pages
are still indexed, and to do this you should do a site: search at Google.
Here are the results I get for this site when I do this:
Based on the site: search, I see that a substantial number of pages are
returned. Over 57 pages are returned as indexed in Google. By the way,
if the site itself shows as not indexed in Google, that is not a good sign,
and you may not want to purchase the domain!
Next, I will check to see if any of these pages have any PR to them.
To do this, I can simply click on the links individually and see their page
rank, or use a tool (like Scrapebox) to check the PR of pages.
Unfortunately, for this site it doesn't look like any of the pages currently
have PR to them.
And if you don't own Scrapebox, another alternative is to look at the
top pages for the site using ahrefs.com. Ahrefs.com won't give you the
precise PR of the pages, but it can tell you which pages it believes are
the most powerful.
To do this, go to http://ahrefs.com (using a free account is fine) and
type the domain name into the box that says "Site Explorer" and click
One advantage of doing this is that you will also immediately get a good
preview of the existing links to the site. In the example above, you will
see that ahrefs show that the site has 14 current backlinks, including
four from .edu pages.
However, to check existing pages, then you need to click the tab at the
top that says "crawled pages". Here are the results for this site:
The pages shown on this page are listed from most powerful to least,
and you should definitely manually check out the first few results (by
clicking on the link) to see if the pages have any high PR to them. You
will also be able to see if a page has any backlinks by viewing the
"external" backlinks column to the far right.
The research we already did with ahrefs.com gives a pretty good idea of
the number of links the domain has, but we also want to make sure the
site still has links intact and also that they will likely "stick" after we
purchase the domain.
Probably the best tool to do this is SEO spyglass. Although there is a
paid version available, I've found the free version to work for most of
my needs. To download the free version, go to:
Once you have downloaded and launched the software, you are ready
to "spy" on this site and learn more about its backlinks. To start, imput
the domain's URL into the search page where it says "Enter a
competitor's ULR to analyze":
Then click the "Next" button.
When you do this, the program will immediately start search for
backlinks and you will see these results when it is completed:
SEO spyglass was able to find 25 backlinks to Epicslo.com - which is
actually 10 more than ahrefs reported earlier.
Next, you will click the button that says "Finish" - but you actually aren't
The next page will ask you if you want even more data on the backlinks:
Click the "Yes" button.
You will then be given an option to choose which factors you want to
At this point, I usually just click the "Next" button. However, it can take
some time to check all the domain factors, so if there were a lot of
backlinks returned, you may want to deselect features that you don't
really need information on - such as "Internal factors".
For just 25 backlinks, the results were compiled pretty quickly. In a little
over two minutes, the results were ready:
At this point you will see a wide variety of information, that you will
need to sort through. I suggest you first click on the column that says
"Page PR" to sort the incoming backlinks from high to low according.
Next, you need to check if the link back column shows the link is still
active and valid. For this site, I see that there is at least one PR4 link
intact as well as one PR3 link. This should be adequate to make sure the
site retains its PR2 level. In fact, these are quite strong incoming links,
and I wouldn't be surprised if the PR actually increased down the road!
Furthermore, these links are also from .edu sites!
What you do not want to see when checking SEO spyglass is that the
top rated links are missing. Furthermore, the top level links should not
all be "no-follow" either - since these theoretically don't count.
DropDay.com shows the domain as being for sale via GoDaddy expired
domains, so I will go there to check and see if there are any active bids
on the domain (http://auctions.godaddy.com). (In order to bid for
expired domains at GoDaddy, you will need a auction membership,
which currently runs about $5 a year).
When I go to GoDaddy.com, I see the domain does have one bid
already on it. I decide to put in my maximum bid for what I would pay
for this PR2 domain ($21). I strongly suggest you set a price limit for
yourself before bidding - as it can be quite easy to go over budget at
the last minute with these auctions (or, at least, for me it is!):
Fortunately, the previous bidder's bid was not higher, and I'm now the
But I still haven't won the auction yet! GoDaddy will send me an email if
I've been outbid as well as when I win a domain letting me know I need
to pay for it. Depending on the company, you will usually have between
24-72 hours to pay for a domain once you have purchased it.
Then you will have to wait an additional 3-5 days for the domain to
be transferred to your account. During this waiting period, the original
buyer still has the option to renew their domain. If this happens, your
money will be returned to you. (I haven't had this ever happen to me
personally, but it does happen from time to time).
: I didn't end up winning this auction in the end - the
winning bid ended up being around $40. However, the new owner does
appear to be using for a blog network purpose - so you might want to
see what it looks like now. It is often quite educational to see what
people do with expired domains that you do not end up winning - and
you can learn a lot from paying attention to this!
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