Buying expired domain names is one of the best ways to find investment-grade domain names at wholesale prices. Of course you’re likely not going to be the only person to find the name and if it’s a really good name you can expect to get into a bit of a bidding war to get the name. Since you never know who you’re bidding against all it takes is one end-user who is buying at a retail price to quickly move the auction from a good deal for an investor to a terrible one.
Usually when you buy an expired domain you’re laser focused on getting the best price, what you might overlook is that the domain you bought might come with a bit of baggage beyond the price tag. I’ve learned this lesson before but saw it happen again just yesterday when I found a very official looking letter from a law firm in my mailbox. I opened the letter and it said that I had some website that was selling products with someone else’s name on it and they demanded that I stop…confusion set in.
I emailed the firm back to figure out what they were talking about and it turns out they were referring to a website that was on the domain name years ago, i.e. before the domain expired and I acquired it. There’s no website on it now and I never put a site on it, but the domain came with some real baggage from the previous owner. In some cases it’s easy to figure out if the expired domain you are looking to buy comes with baggage, just do a Google search and see if anything funky comes up. If you ever get a demand letter or something similarly scary – make sure to find out if it actually refers to you and something that you’ve done with a domain, or if a previous tenant might not have been an upstanding citizen.
So don’t be surprised if something like this happens to you someday, just don’t panic because it might not actually be referring to you! I’d say this is probably the second time in ten years that anything like this has happened to me so it certainly doesn’t seem to happen too often but it is a good reminder that expired domains can come with baggage.