3 Ways To Know If You’re Buying Bad Domains

Most Domainers start the same way, buying a bunch of crappy domains only to realize later that the investments they thought they were making were not investments at all. Like most domain bloggers I get tons of emails from people asking me to evaluate their domains, and sadly I have to be the bearer or bad news.

So I thought it was time to publish a list of three ways you can tell if you’re buying bad domains. Of course there are more than three ways to know this, but these three should help you do some filtering:

  1. The keywords in your domain have less than 100 exact-match global monthly searches and a CPC of $0.05. Nobody is searching for the keywords you own, and no advertiser wants to pay, who the heck is your buyer?
  2. The TLD you are buying in hasn’t seen a big sale in years. Yes, TLDs like .VG have a TON of names available in them, but when’s the last time you saw a big sale in the space?
  3. Every domain you’re buying is hand-registered. While there are definitely some great opportunities to hand-register great domains, most new domainers aren’t doing this. If you find yourself with 500 domains you hand-registered just because you thought they sounded valuable, you might be going in the wrong direction.

Feel free to share your own top three list below, as always comment and let your voice be heard!

{ 14 comments… add one }

  • Herb March 6, 2012, 8:42 pm

    As a new domainer, I appreciate your advice but I’ve got to disagree with your #3 and it seems in your explanation, you disagreed with yourself as well. I’m buying bad domain names if every name is a hand reg, yet you admit there are great finds in hand regs – so which is it? I exclusively hand reg and turn $8 into typically $300 – $750 and have a flip rate of just under 25%. 
    Now, are new domainers likely to buy ill advised names regardless of hand regs or not? Absolutely, but I think new domainers can invest wisely and cheaply in hand regs and get a decent return out of them… at least I have.
    My top 3 based on looking for immediate flips:
    1) SAME -Low exact match.
    2) No ads or site descriptions use that keyword(s).
    3) Filler words such as the, and, or, in, for, of… et al.

    • Morgan Linton March 7, 2012, 12:44 am

      Appreciate your comment Herb! All I’m saying here is that I get a lot of people emailing me with huge list of names that sounded good to them, that they didn’t take the time to evaluate using the Google Adwords Keyword Tool. If you hand-reg names that you’ve properly evaluated that’s fine,  as long as you have a track-record selling these.

      I get a lot of people emailing me with huge lists of names and no sales. If you’re spending $x,xxx and not making anything it’s not really an investment…

      • Grandma April 11, 2012, 1:15 am

        I must be a newbie then 🙁

        • Morgan Linton April 11, 2012, 8:10 am

          Don’t be sad, that can be a great thing! It means all the opportunities are ahead of you!

  • Jeff Matthews March 6, 2012, 9:00 pm

    I disagree with #1..  Many of the names flipping on DNFORUM and on DNJ are “brandable names without notable search count

    • Morgan Linton March 7, 2012, 12:42 am

      Sure but what price are they selling for? If you’re spending hours of time selling names for hundreds of dollars you aren’t valuing your own time at very much…

  • Aladdin Domains March 7, 2012, 1:39 am

    Luck can also play a part. Last year, as a newbie, I registered the .info equivalent of a european country’s tourist .com for $1.99 and they bought it for £500 (through direct contact with them). I spent time researching them and ensuring I had good contact names in their marketing function before I registered!

  • Domain Name Value March 7, 2012, 3:35 am

    I hand registered

  • Shy Rosenzweig March 7, 2012, 6:00 am

    Thanks for the info 🙂

  • John Nigro March 7, 2012, 7:30 am

    good tips.  i only buy ccTLDs for the purpose of building a website in that local market.  And so far this has only been .co.uk and .co.za

     ps – are you planning to put a mobile-friendly theme on this blog?  I am usually reading it from my phone 🙂  on one of my blogs i noticed a good portion of mobile traffic, so i installed WP Touch – so far so good even though i wish it had a few more features for monetization built in.

  • Ivan Kreimer March 7, 2012, 6:10 pm

    Morgan, great post as always.
    One thing I didn´t catch very well. Taking in count what you said in number 1: Don´t you always say that you buy domains with at least 1000 searches per month and more than $1 CPC?
    What I interpreted is that you sometimes make an exception and buy a domain with less than 1000 searches but more than 100. Am I right? And in what cases you make than exception?Hope you are doing well!

  • Thomas Hoi March 11, 2012, 11:56 pm

    Hi Morgan, thanks for these good tips. How about expired domains which are already ranking in Google first page and getting traffic which we can convert it to cash?

  • elevatoria March 26, 2012, 11:09 am

    What do you think about domains with .ms .co. etc and new extensions with good google search ? Is it possible for such domains to go quickly?

    I really believed on .com and .net for good sales

    • Morgan Linton March 26, 2012, 8:50 pm

      Other TLDs are great for development however if you’re looking to buy and sell .COM really is king.


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