The Domain Name Gold Rush

All the good ones are taken. The really good ones, that is. But they don't always stay taken.

Domain names often come back onto the market. Even before they do, domain name prospectors are sifting through them to find the gold domains among them.

Why domain names become available again

Thousands of domain names expire every day. Other domains are offered for sale. The reasons are varied:

Carelessness

The webmaster forgets to renew the domain by the expiry date.

The email address that the domain is registered with becomes invalid, and the domain name registrant doesn't receive the renewal notices.

- Lack of need or funds

- The company that had registered the domain goes out of business.

- The website owner loses interest in or doesn't have time for the website.

- The website owner doesn't have funding to continue the website venture.

- The domain name registrant registered numerous domains on speculation and couldn't afford to continue renewing unused domains.

Profit

- The domain name registrant may realize how much a domain is worth and decide to sell it.

- The domain name registrant may have registered the domain because of its potential worth, with the aim of selling it later.

What makes a previously registered domain name valuable?

In July 2005, the domain name website.com sold for $750,000, the highest-valued domain name sale this year. Why would anyone pay so much for a domain when they could register a new domain for under $10?

- Instant traffic

If the domain name previously pointed to a website, search engines have already indexed that domain name. Other websites probably still have links to that domain. If the domain is listed in directories, these links bring in even more traffic. You register the domain, and the work getting incoming links has already been done for you.

- Surf value

Sometimes web surfers search by typing generic words followed by dot com (or other extensions) into their browsers, for example, dogs.com. This particular domain name redirects to the website for a company that sells pet products and services. A domain name like this constantly brings visitors to the website without the cost and effort of advertising and marketing.

- Easy to remember

Your company name may not be memorable, but domains such as dogs.com and website.com are. People are more likely to return to a site or pass on the name to their friends when they can easily remember it.

How to find domains pending expiration

You decide to join the gold rush for valuable pre-registered domains. Finding expiring domains is the first step, but you also need to research domains that are about to come back on the market.

Lists of domains pending expiration

At these websites, among others, you can search for domains containing keywords you enter. At expireddomains.com, the results contain domains that are currently available, soon to expire, on hold, in the Redemption Grace Period (RGP), or for sale by their registrants. Extensions searched: .com, .net, and .org.

The domainsbot.com database searches .com, .net, .org, .info, and .biz extensions for domains that are available, for sale, or expiring.

Domain research

You can find some (but not all) incoming links to a domain by entering "link:siteURL" (replace "siteURL" with the domain name) into Google or Yahoo. When you find the links, follow them to see what types of sites link to the domain. How would you feel about having these particular sites linking to your site?

Also look into any possible problems associated with the domain. Search engines may have banned the domain if the previous site had controversial search engine optimization techniques employed, such as the use of hidden text or links. Check the history of the site at a domain name via the WayBack Machine. If the domain previously pointed to a site with gambling or adult content or a lot of affiliate links, or if it employed questionable search engine optimization techniques, search engines may have banned the domain. Aside from the possibility of a domain being banned, you may not want incoming links from sites associated with these types of content.

How to register domains pending deletion

You've decided on a domain that you want. How do you maximize your chances on getting it?

At eNom.com's Club Drop, you can bid on expiring .com and .net domains the day before they're available to the public. You can also be notified when domains matching your search criteria become available.

The NameWinner system places bids on .com, .net, .org, and .info domains for you. It bids only as high as is necessary to maintain your high bid position up to your maximum bid.

How to profit from your domains

- Selling domains

If you have a domain that may be valuable and that you aren't using, consider selling it at a domain auction. If you already have a buyer for a domain, you can transfer it securely through Escrow.com.

- Paid parking for domains

With paid domain parking programs, also called "domain monetization" or "monetize domains," you can earn pay-per-click revenue via targeted advertisements. These sites offer domain monetization services:

- DomainSponsor

- Park Quick

- Domain Spa

- Google Adsense for domains

With the right knowledge, timing, and a bit of luck, you have a chance as a domain name prospector to hit pay dirt.

Lois S. is a Technical Executive Writer for http://www.websitesource.com and http://www.lowpricedomains.com with experience in the website hosting industry.

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