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Searching for a domain using drop day

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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).

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Searching for a domain using drop day

  1. 1. 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.
  2. 2. 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
  3. 3. 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.
  4. 4. 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 multiple checks. 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 search engine.
  5. 5. 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:
  6. 6. 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: http://www.rankchecker.com/pagerank-checker/ http://www.prchecker.info/check_page_rank.php Here is a screen shot of the results from www.rankchecker.com:
  7. 7. 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
  8. 8. 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:
  9. 9. 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.
  10. 10. 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.
  11. 11. 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 this: 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:
  12. 12. 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!
  13. 13. 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:
  14. 14. 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 "Explore Links":
  15. 15. 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:
  16. 16. 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
  17. 17. 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: http://www.link-assistant.com/seo-spyglass 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":
  18. 18. 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:
  19. 19. 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 finished yet. The next page will ask you if you want even more data on the backlinks:
  20. 20. Click the "Yes" button. You will then be given an option to choose which factors you want to research:
  21. 21. 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:
  22. 22. Click "Finish" to see the final results:
  23. 23. 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!
  24. 24. 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!):
  25. 25. Fortunately, the previous bidder's bid was not higher, and I'm now the high bidder: 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!
  26. 26. Visit http://www.techandtrends.com/ for more IT articles.