Does a domain sell for more if it’s expiring?

It’s a question I’ve had many times and I don’t think anyone has put together the data (or even could) to answer it. Would the same domain name sell for more in an expired domain auction vs a regular domain auction? My thinking is, yes – expired domains sell for more. This afternoon, Josh Reason commented about this issue on Twitter:


In his Tweet, Josh cites a UI issue as the cause of this…and while I agree, it would be great for Go Daddy to update the UI here, I think the issue goes much deeper.

I have always felt that it goes down to the way that people (well Domainers – who are people too BTW!) think about an expired domain auction. When you see an expired domain, you know that someone has let the domain expire and the name will sell to the highest bidder. Something about that, psychologically (and maybe a little factually too) makes me feel like I have a better chance of getting a good deal.

With a regular domain auction, while the domain owner could start at $10 and go from there, I usually find a starting point that in my mind often makes it easy for auctions to go from wholesale to resale pricing quickly…or in some cases they’re just starting at a retail price.

As investors, we have to all buy at wholesale otherwise if you really need liquidity later on down the road you’ll find yourself selling at a loss. Still, going back to the psychology of expired domain auctions – I’m not sure if it’s just me that feels like there is a greater opportunity in expired auctions or if that’s something other people feel as well. I know that my buying activity has been pretty laser-focused on expired domains for years and it’s pretty rare for me to look at public domain auctions from other investors…I’ve kinda written those off.

So now is where I’d like to hear from you and I think it’s a good discussion for us to have. Do expired domains sell for more than public auctions? If so, do you agree with my theory or do you have one of your own?

I want to hear from you, comment and let your voice be heard!

{ 7 comments… add one }

  • Jon Schultz August 15, 2018, 9:47 pm

    I’m not sure that any domain can be assigned a “wholesale” or “retail” value, Morgan, as the amounts domains sell for depend on so many variables, including how much the seller needed cash at the time, whether the buyer was a reseller and, if an end-user, how much they wanted the domain and could afford.

    When buying a domain as an investor it doesn’t really matter to me if it’s an expired domain or one being sold by a domainer, the important thing is the qualities of the domain including how many other extensions are registered, whether there are sites at those domains and if so by whom, how popular the word/phrase is, whether it’s a growing field, a high CPC field, etc. Then I decide if the reserve or minimum bid, if there is one, is too high to make the domain worth bidding on.

    How many investors look more or primarily at expired domain auctions I don’t know, but I think those who do and neglect what’s being offered by domainers who may be over-invested in domains and need cash quickly are closing themselves off to possible great buys.

  • Jackie August 16, 2018, 12:16 am

    I definitely share your experience and approach.
    The vast majority of my portfolio I have picked up on GD expired auctions, a reasonable amount of hand-reg and dropped domains, and only a handful of private purchases or public domains.

    I actually think that there are opportunities for good deals at public auctions as well – as investors need/want to liquidate before letting them drop. So I will periodically peruse those lists – if/when I have the time.

  • Keith DeBoer August 16, 2018, 6:44 am

    Hey Morgan,
    Really enjoy your blog and perspectives on the industry. In this case, though I see it differently. I think the difference is purely situational. There is a feeding frenzy on the GoDaddy expired auctions and so prices are artificially high. There is a buzz for expired auctions and the public auctions are not publicized and are not sexy. If the public auctions were combined and forced to conform to the same standard as expired auctions ( start at $10 with no reserve) the prices would be just as high. I think GoDaddy is missing out on a lot of commissions and sellers are missing out on a lot of income by having the two auctions separate. An auction is an auction.

  • Mark Thorpe August 16, 2018, 8:07 am

    Some domainers will not buy from another domainer. They don’t want to give them their money.

    They would rather buy the domain in an expired auction and let the domainer lose their domain and sale.
    Twisted but true.

  • Snoopy August 19, 2018, 11:52 pm

    An expiring name is worth significantly more than the exact same name in a public auction. The expiring name will be no reserve and a transfer virtually guaranteed (aside from some Godaddy cases). That is totally different to a public auction where names are often not priced to sell and the transfer dependant on the seller.

  • Snoopy August 19, 2018, 11:57 pm

    btw Morgan you really should fix up your comment moderation, posts seems to take hours/days to get approved and I’m sure many people have given up commenting because of it. No need to moderate all posts, other blogs don’t do that.

    • Morgan August 20, 2018, 8:36 pm

      @Snoopy – thanks and agreed…I’m not sure what’s going on. I have WP set to approve all comments from past commentators I have approved, strange it keeps flagging some and not others. I’ll look into the settings and get that fixed!


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