Domaining MBA Monday: 3 Ways To Avoid Buying Junk Domains

Good evening and welcome to Domaining MBA Monday. I normally write this post on Sunday night and schedule it for Monday morning however Daina and I had an incredibly busy week in New York City last week and I’m still playing a bit of catch-up. That being said, I think I’m just about completely caught-up which brings us to this blog post and a very important topic that hopefully will save you a lot of money, or at the very least prevent you from wasting more money.

What I want to talk about are three simple rules to help you avoid buying junk domains. What are junk domains? These are domains that you’re never going to sell, never going to monetize, but for some reason you’ll just keep renewing holding onto a dream that someday they’ll make you a small fortune.

I’m here to crush your dreams and give you a reality check, you can’t get your MBA without a bit of dream crushing, right? So let’s dive-into three ways you can avoid buying junk domains.

  1. Never buy an expired domain just because it has a lot of bids – do your research. Just because there are other people bidding on a domain doesn’t mean that it’s valuable. There are plenty of domains that get lots of bids and will sit collecting dust in your portfolio for a long time. Yes, there are also great domains that get lots of bids but to know the difference you need to do your research and make sure you have the data to back-up why it is a good purchase, don’t go on bids alone.
  2. Avoid TLDs you don’t know anything about – just because a hot one-word .VC name is available doesn’t mean you’ve stumbled on a goldmine. I’ve seen far too many people build-up portfolios of one-word domains in TLDs that nobody on the planet wants to buy, there’s probably a reason why a killer keyword is available in that extension and it’s not because you’re the first to discover it.
  3. Be very careful with trend domains – ah trend domains. I’m not going to say you can’t make money on trends, I have and plenty of other people have. What I will say is make sure you really understand what you’re buying and if that trend really has any hope of surfacing. Sure, registering one or two won’t hurt, but I’ve seen people with portfolios of thousands of trend domains which means massive renewal fees. Save yourself the pain and buy some lottery tickets because it will be cheaper and your chances are about the same. Once again, I’m not saying you can’t make money on trend domains, but I am saying they shouldn’t constitute a majority of your portfolio.

As always I’d love to hear from you, what are some of the other things you have avoided buying junk domains? Or feel free to share some of the junk domains you bought, we’ve all bought them, don’t be afraid to share them!

{ 11 comments… add one }

  • Uzoma December 3, 2012, 9:16 pm


    Those are very profound, sound advice, especially #3.
    Thanks again.

  • BW Miller December 3, 2012, 9:36 pm

    it makes sense to me, that if you can predict a keywords rise in popularity, and rise in viability (advertising spending), that you can reap huge long-term returns in trends. I do see your point, knowing the subject matter is of great importance, not getting carried away and buying the entire domain space surrounding the keyword is the best advice.

  • Rich December 3, 2012, 10:56 pm

    My first year into domaining i spent $8,000 on garbage because i was not educated in buying nsmes.

    Back in 09 i did not know about
    So i bought all major generic one word bames and i put an”e–” yes two hypens.Hey …at least i bought all .com.
    Then within a week i bought all major nsmes and i put a “ctf” “ctof” and “c2f” in front of all names. Ctf would mean ” ClickToFind” diamonds, doctors, cars etc….
    Here i’m 4 yrs later still learning.
    So that’s my bad experience with not knowing my stuff.
    I did not renew after the first year thouse names.
    Through Estibot I find out about and that’s when I started to learn about this industry.
    There u go ! Morgan

  • AbdulBasit Makrani December 3, 2012, 11:01 pm

    I bought very few junk domains from the start. was the first domain I backordered because I saw it was Google PR7 and never checked it was real or fake. Dropped it next year. There were several more crappy names I registered/backordered but definitely less than 80 domains to date.

  • Rich December 3, 2012, 11:01 pm

    Sorry for all the misspelled words.
    Im doing this from an iphone

  • Arseny December 3, 2012, 11:41 pm

    Thanks again for sharing those tips with us Morgan!

    I love the tips #1. But what metrics you use to see if a name is valuable?

    Here’re my steps:
    1. see if .org or .net are taken
    2. if those are taken by end users – so I can approach them later and offer a .com – is it valuable to an end user or it can be built into leadgen or affiliate site?
    3. google the term – see if the term (or keyword) has adwords ads – it’s wiser to check if these ads are shown on the US or Canada google terms search results pages
    4. see or appraisal – I know that the appraisals are worthless, but then I’m able to see CPC (cost-per-click) and google search trends for the term.
    5. I know I must sound too newbish, but always try to follow my guts feeling…

    So how do you valuate the names?

    • Morgan December 4, 2012, 7:48 am

      @Arseny – thanks for sharing your list, this is a good one too!

  • Ross December 4, 2012, 3:17 am

    Use the Wayback machine to see if the domain has been previously used in a manner that could have caused a search ban.

    • Morgan December 4, 2012, 7:48 am

      @Ross – great tip and a good one to add to the list!

  • Arseny December 6, 2012, 1:22 am

    Ross, I’m just curious. If the domain has been previously parked – does that mean it’s been used in “a good manner”?

    The reason I ask is that I guess from SEO point of view parking domain may hurt it possible further SEO development.

  • kevin August 2, 2013, 12:08 am

    Frankly speaking ,don’t know why I bought these .


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