Does Buying Expired Domain Names to Make Money Work?

There is a big industry within the website world in which people love to sell and buy up expired domains. I personally get emails regularly from registrars offering me up these things for a “low price”.

In this article, I want to tackle this topic and explain why my position on this industry and why I lean to not getting involved with it for the pros and cons I will explain in a moment…

does buying expired domain names work

First, let me cover the general pros of buying expired domain names:

1) Buying up expired domain names in general CAN carry a lot of benefits and the first one is that there is potential to buy a “brandable” name that was unavailable at one point.

It is very often the case that when you wish to create a website and go to purchase the name for it that it is unavailable and the gTLD you want it with (.com, .net, ect…) is taken. This leaves you having to come up with another title for your site and/or to go with a different gTLD. 

2) An expired domain carries SEO weight particularly in the age category. Many people don’t want to buy up a fresh site and start doing things like SEO with it from ground zero. A fresh site generally needs at least 6 months of existence on the internet to be taken more seriously by Google, among other Google ranking factors.

It is because of this that people want to buy a site which already has established some presence in Google and even had traffic and high rankings and if they manage to find an expired domain which had it, then all they have to do is buy it, set it up the way they want, and they will generally get faster rankings due to it’s age.

It’s like a horse owner deciding to give the reigns to you while the horse is still healthy.

I’m going to end the pros there because I honestly feel these 2 are the biggest. If you have your own personal pros, leave them below please. 

Now when it comes to cons of buying expired domain names…

I have more than a few to list. The first thing I want to say on this matter is that the same pros I just listed, also have their own negative side to them, like a coin. For example:

1) The same pro I listed in which you had the potential to buy up a brandable site is also a con in itself…

This is because the same one you’re looking to buy may or may not open up. You may end up waiting for a very long time and this may hinder you in other areas like making an online business. Let me put it this way, the registration for a site is 1 year. Within that time, you can buy your own page, and make it earn you big within the 1 year frame. 

2) I also happen to believe that having a good looking site name is overrated.

I feel as though people tend to narrow down their choices of website names and want it to be things such as a keyword in the domain (EMD)or something that sounds flashy, which are typically the 2 types of domains that are most often bought up by others.

Just being a little more open minded can eliminate this problem entirely. You can still look to buy a website name you really want but if it’s taken, just add a little word in the title to make it work. For example:

When I was looking to buy the same website I have now that you’re on, my original choice was Obviously, in the case of this site, you’ll probably already know it was taken and that includes all other gTLD options. So I just brainstormed and added the word honest to it and as it so happens, my goal was to provide honest views on how to make money online, so it worked out.

3) You need to understand that your website’s URL does not have massive implications on it’s success and that includes SEO.

Just because you purchase a good sounding website name does not mean it’ll suddenly become viral and take over the internet. Far from it in fact.

You can have completely arbitrary names for websites including your own name as the URL and have it overtake the good sounding ones and it happens all the time IF you know the basic rules of doing so:

4) Every expired domain name can carry a dark history you don’t know about…

And may never know about until it’s too late…

This may be one of the biggest cons I have to share with you. Let me explain it like this:

Expired websites carry their own, and secret sort of “credit history” and the problem is, it is VERY hard to know what that history actually is. The issue with this is that by not knowing it, there may be a ton of negative issues with the future site you wish to make. It’s as though you get a card you think is an ace, but when you turn it over, it ends up being a joker. Now try to build an entire business on top of a joker. It won’t work well…

Here’s just some of the potential issues to consider:

-If the expired website was black listed by Google, you’re screwed if you try to get it working in the SEO department.  A lot of people do this horrendous thing in that they ruin their site and then let it become expired leaving it to someone else to buy up as though it’s used trash all while not telling them the history of it and the new owner won’t know this. They are getting a toxic deal.

-If not blacklisted then there’s things like de-listings and Google slaps to consider which often happen to websites that engage in black hat marketing. And as far as I know, once the site becomes expired, the registrar does not mention any of this potentially harmful info to the next person seeking to buy it. And the other problem is that the same registrars really don’t know about it either. They just see a site that becomes expired, and see it as a way to sell it to make more money, absent the issues that may have been on it. 

5) Age may not be a factor for positive SEO.

Remember how the last pro above mention that age for a domain helped it rank better? Well there are also people in the SEO world who believe that age for a domain is not always a sign it will rank well, so consider this possible con.

6) The expired site costs more than a new one.

But with all the potential negatives that go with it, why spend more? And by the way, the best place I suggest buying domains from for a great price is this place:

7) If you are looking to raise the value of a site, forget buying expired domain names.

I have seen more than enough case where buying pretty much any domain name, and working to raise the value of the site by growing it yourself can lead to making a HUGE income, vs selling just the domain name. 

There are cases studies I can show you (and I will) where people have made 5 figure incomes from selling one site. For example, Dylan, sold a website for $40,000 at one point. Here is how he sold his website for this sum.

My final thoughts on buying expired domains:

I have witnessed way too many cases of the cons realistically happening more often than the pros in this industry and I just flat out do not trust the seller who is trying to get me to buy an expired domain, especially if there is no accurate or precise history provided. There is only 1 exception in my experience of buying domain names that are “aged” and that’s from websites like Human Proof Designs, whose owner I trust.

Now it is also true that sometimes people don’t even do anything with the domains they get. They just buy them up for a low price, don’t even make a site with it and let it expire on it’s own, in which case the registrar takes over and sells it for a higher price. If this is the case, then there is an argument to be made to buy it, but even then, I prefer to go the fresh route and get a fresh new site to work with.

There is more money to be made in this regard because ANY new fresh site carries a fresh “credit history” you can improve upon and make it profitable. Again, the key is to know how to do this and there is one platform that will show you that:

Again, I want to state that my position on buying up expired domains is my opinion. I’ve never purchased one of them before because I already heard about the negative issues from experienced people I trust and I have also made fresh sites go from zero to full time incomes using the same training platform I just showed you above. 

My final position is that you should NOT overrate the name of a domain you get because ultimately if you’re seeking to make it successful, then the name is not as important as WHAT you do on the site itself which will make it that.

8 thoughts on “Does Buying Expired Domain Names to Make Money Work?”

  1. Hi Vitaly,

    This post came at a very opportune time for me because I’ve been considering such a purchase. Perhaps I’m getting a little too hung up on the idea of the perfect “brandable” name? I hadn’t given the potential negative aspects the proper consideration. Thanks for providing a more balanced perspective!

    • It’s possible, there’s a lot of misinformation or myths about domain names on the internet Linda, so a lot people are often steered to believe an expired, brandable domain is the way to go, but it isn’t.

  2. I agree with you that buying an “aged” site that is already indexed in Google does have it’s advantages. I also agree with one of your negatives. You just don’t know if the website name is “poison” or not.

    Thank you for sharing. I was just wondering if you agree with the internet marketing strategy of buying EVERY available domain name that links to your targeted keyword or should you just buy one and focus on that?

    • Hi Glenys, no I don’t like that strategy, it’s basically a way of backlinking in ways Google does not like and/or if you try to hide it and do it more in the PBN route, it’s bound to get revealed to Google eventually. And plus you waste a lot of money doing this stuff.

  3. Great Article Vitaliy,

    You have peaked my interest not in buying used domains, but the implications of buying a live domain, by that I mean buying or taking over an existing niche site.

    Getting all number and data is something most people look at first, you know…the money..what’s it making, where? costs? And yes traffic numbers from Google Analytics.

    Doing proper research and going further like the domain record and track history…does that have some shoddy and shady stuff attached to it such as bought links (PBN’s and Google penalties)?

    Is there any way to check for that with a live site, if you were going to buy a site rather than just a domain name?

    • Well there are backlink audits you can do through programs like SEMRush Derek but you can get a “double negative” type of result, as even legitimate sites which do not engage in backlinking still show a huge number of backlinks anyway because big sites become popular and naturally have people share the links with others. 

      Honestly, this is one of those faith things as you would have to ask the website owner and hope they are honest with you. Often times this is not the case which is why I never buy live sites from others.

      That and the fact that it’s also VERY expensive to buy these sites too. You can buy an expired domain for cheap prices (still above the regular, new domain price), but an existing site which someone wishes to turn over to you which has traffic, good rankings and is making sales, can cost you $1,000’s and even $10,000’s.

  4. Actually not knowing the history of a website is really bad. I also read that many websites’ do not even have rankings because of it. I think this is more important than any other con. Do you agree with this statement? Or should I just be more relaxed about it?

    • Well a website may not have any rankings because it was just purchased as a domain, but nothing was set up, no site, no content, nothing, and thus it has no history in rankings, but the point I made was that it’s really hard to figure all of that out if the owner themselves won’t tell you. I wouldn’t say you should be this worried about it, but personally, I will never buy expired domains, I will always get new ones.


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