My Latest Experiment – Buying Expired Domains with Traffic

I’ve been talking about expired domains on my blog a lot lately and thought I would share an experiment I’m currently testing-out over at Go Daddy Auctions. I usually write about case studies after I’ve done something but this time around I thought I’d share the entire experiment with all of you. Since what I’m talking about here is indeed an experiment it could turn-out to be a terrible investment so I’ll preface what is to follow with the harsh reality that sometimes these things just don’t work-out. However that’s why I’m doing the experiment – to collect data and see what works!

Lately I’ve been looking more and more and Go Daddy’s traffic estimation on their expired domains. From my knowledge these traffic estimates come from Go Daddy’s parking service which should give you a good indication of the amount of type-in traffic the domain receives. For my experiment I’d like to see if the traffic numbers that Go Daddy cites accurately reflect the level of type-in traffic you will see on the given domain.

My budget for the experiment is $1,000 and I’m planning on purchasing 2-5 domains depending on what traffic stats they have. Generally I’m going to focus on names with traffic above 5,000 visitors/month. Once I acquire the domain I’ll be parking it at TrafficZ and Why Park which both provide good basic analytics statistics. To avoid anyone influencing my results I will not release the domain names that I purchase on my blog – I want clean data! I will however release the information about the name, i.e. how much traffic it has, when it was registered, and of course how much I paid.

To test the traffic estimates I’ll be letting these names sit parked for 3-months and then pull the average monthly traffic and see how this compares to Go Daddy’s estimates. Once the experiment has been completely I’m more than happy to share the domain names along with my findings. Given all the great opportunities with expired domains I think this could be an exciting avenue to explore.

As usual I’ll update all of you along the way and provide detailed analysis at the end. If anyone has experience buying high-traffic domains from Go Daddy please feel free to share below or shoot me an email. It’s always great to learn from each other and I hope this experiment helps me and all of you find some good expired domains with existing traffic.

{ 37 comments… add one }

  • Leonard Britt March 15, 2011, 10:11 am

    My recommendation – lower your budget for this test (unless you are RSchwartz).

    Reply
  • dcmike77 March 15, 2011, 10:30 am

    good luck with that. i tried that years ago when PPC was hot and still got burned many times. The traffic never holds for long.

    good luck though.

    Reply
  • Jamie March 15, 2011, 10:31 am

    I would look at more data than “just” what GoDaddy is providing as the estimated traffic. Pretty risky otherwise Morgan.

    In reality, I have purchased a few domains that have shown x,xxx and they get xx a month. I have purchased domains that show traffic estimates at 0, yet get xxx-x,xxx a month.

    Things to keep in mind:
    Bot traffic increases to a domain name when it nears or reaches expired dates. Since traffic estimates are likely from 30 days prior to the auction… this is something to keep in mind.

    P.S. There are a lot of “traffic” domains listed on GoDaddy that show no traffic estimate.. and they are on GoDaddy servers. I just picked one up a couple days ago if you need an example.

    Reply
  • a March 15, 2011, 10:37 am

    I wish you luck Morgan. From my experience buying a few dozen ‘drops with traffic’ I’ve found the traffic estimates from Compete to be wildly overblown (I also used to cross reference with Alexa rank).

    I have a handful of drops that had monthly compete estimates of well over 1000 and they’re getting fewer than 10 visits a month.

    I’d be very interested to hear how Godaddy’s estimates stack up. It’s a bold move. Some names getting ridiculously high traffic (40K hits/day) are actually just getting hammered by bots and spiders.

    If G.D’s traffic estimate is just a hit counter or request counter then the numbers will not represent actual human eyeballs.

    One of my domains gets over 200 hits a day, because once in the days before I bought it, someone hotlinked to an image on the site “mydomain.com/images/theimage.jpg”

    So that’s hundreds of hits of no value – just a broken image on someone else’s site.

    Another one getting what you looks like “mega traffic” gets hammered by the Baidu spider hundreds of times a day. I’m so indexed in China it’s ridiculous! 🙂 I wish I could monetize that traffic.

    I honestly *do* believe that it’s worth running the experiment, but I hope I get to you in time to deliver the advice to make sure you pick a high-traffic name that you’d *ALSO* be able to develop or flip if parking isn’t successful.

    Reply
  • Morgan March 15, 2011, 11:36 am

    Thanks for all the great feedback!

    @Jamie – very interesting, thanks for sharing your own experiences – makes sense that bot traffic would increase as the expiration date approaches as well.

    Reply
  • nidal kadri March 15, 2011, 12:02 pm

    We have these domains with huge traffic:

    CZK.com (13,000 unique visitors per month and with $8 per day in PPC return).
    0ww.com (High alexa ranked)
    ModernSchools.com
    Quannhala.com (16,000 unique visitors per month).
    Abada.com (35,000 unique visitors per month).
    3dSound.com (6,000 unique visitors per month).

    Reply
  • Martin March 15, 2011, 3:53 pm

    You are already checking the link profiles on these domains which is great. Strong links, GD says it gets traffic then it usually does. I have purchased an expired domain for over $1,000 from GD with high traffic stats. I put up a minisite right away and rank #1 for many terms and have already made my money back from Adsense.

    Reply
  • Mark March 15, 2011, 8:05 pm

    Hi Morgan:

    It might be interesting to also compare the traffic you receive against G–gle traffic estimates. For years, I have been trying to determine a ratio of approximate keyword searches to direct nav type-ins.

    You thoughts.

    Reply
  • Avraham Saltoun March 15, 2011, 11:27 pm

    I am having great success on that, specially on domains of business that closed. btw, where can I find your email? here is the post: http://domainstrips.com/2011/03/10/my-amazon-sites-finally-converting/

    Reply
  • Tom Garrett March 16, 2011, 12:31 pm

    I’ll keep my eyes out for the post of the experiment results. Just one comment though. You wrote: “From my knowledge these traffic estimates come from Go Daddy’s parking service which should give you a good indication of the amount of type-in traffic the domain receives.”

    You’re right that the traffic stats come from GoDaddy’s Parking platform. From my experience the traffic to these expired domains are rarely type-in though. Almost in every case the traffic is generated from links to the expired domain that still exist on other sites. Adding Google Analytics to any newly acquired domain will tell the story soon enough though, an in either case traffic is always better than no traffic.

    On a more positive note, I’ve had some of the GoDaddy traffic estimates surpassed by the actual traffic after I bought the expired domain. As the expired domain is under GoDaddy’s control they park it. Every domain in every GoDaddy expired domain auction is put on their own parking platform during the auction process. Sometimes those domains have only been on the GoDaddy parking platform for a short time making the “previous 30 days traffic” really only a reflection of the time it has been parked with GoDaddy and not a full month.

    Reply
  • Steve Jones March 16, 2011, 7:38 pm

    In the past when we’ve gotten traffic domains from there, the figures were pretty close to accurate. The issue is most of the names have flimsy traffic that’s on its way out once links and/or advertising/traffic purchases go away. In one case, we had gotten a domain that was getting traffic because a really popular clickbank product hadn’t changed the URL they were linking to…was great while we had it, but the uncertainty of it was difficult since most if not all of the traffic going to the domain could evaporate in a heartbeat. Thankfully we had a buyer well aware of the risks and were able to sell it for a profit anyways.

    Reply
  • Jason March 16, 2011, 8:26 pm

    Hi Morgan,

    Also…watch out for domains that previously might have been forums, I had an old domain I had set up as a forum and had forgotten about. It ended up being spammed ridiculously by BOTS and had something like 50,000 posts. I took down the forum and pushed it to WhyPark, I get at least 1000 views and day and I think made 5 cents on the domain last month. Just another thing to look out for in your experiment.

    Reply
  • Cass June 26, 2011, 10:03 am

    So how did this experiment turn out? Where is the follow-up post.

    Reply
    • Morgan June 26, 2011, 11:15 am

      @Cass – thanks for following-up. Actually never ended-up following through with the experiment. So much time and energy focused on Xelot right now that I didn’t want to divert attention to this. I’ll let you know if I decide to give this a shot in the future!

      Thanks for checking-in!

      Reply
  • Nationwide PAT Testing March 21, 2012, 6:59 pm

    Hi Morgan, I have heard that once the whois data changes search engines such as google disallow any previous backlinks so that it is like the domain started from scratch again , is that true to your knowledge ?

    Reply
  • The Last Blog on the Internet June 11, 2012, 11:29 pm

    I’m thinking about buying a domain to see if the traffic is accurate. I’m highly skeptical, but if I can find one for $50 or so it will be worth it just to test it out.

    I see this post was made in March, 2011… so I’m gonna have to scour your blog to see if you have posted the results. 😉

    Reply
    • Morgan June 12, 2012, 10:38 am

      The end result was this didn’t work very well, I’d stay away from this approach.

      Reply
  • Duane August 4, 2012, 9:24 am

    Saw your post and wanted to share my own results. I purchased an expired domain from GD with reported 39,000 traffic and pr2 ranking for $60. I put a site up with Google Analytics and my traffic was zero hits. It had Alexa 19 back links and n/a rankings, so now I pay more attention to Alexa, number and quality of backlinks and checking way back machine and I use seo tools for more accurate stats.

    Reply
  • Scott M78 October 15, 2012, 1:35 am

    I’ve just purchased a domain from godaddy 10k hits a month supposedly – we will see. I checked back links with ahrefs and the site used to host a product on clickbank, this product is still active but has a new domain name.

    I’m going to create a mini site around the product and compare to others. Will be interesting to see what google does with the site as I’ll optimise the site for the product name which still has around 500 historical backlinks, old old back links. Let me know if you did have any success with the $1000 experiment you mention above.

    Reply
  • Nigeria Forum December 9, 2012, 10:32 am

    We ll be waiting

    Reply
  • Young_Frustrated December 23, 2012, 9:09 am

    i’m so frustrated. I cannot find any quality expired domain names with traffic for a low price. The only people who really profit are the registrars who keep auctions for them and gain from the high auction purchases. There are lots of domain names available with high traffic from india. When i first saw one i was thinking i was in luck.. but then when i researched about traffic from india i found out that it was not really easy to monetize.. so i guess thats why they are available for cheap because nobody really wants it. lol, maybe in the furture it will be valuable, but not right now.

    Reply
    • Morgan December 24, 2012, 9:38 am

      @Young_Frustrated don’t expect to find quality expired domains with traffic for a low price. Any quality domain, period, is unlikely to sell for a low price.

      Reply
  • Ammar February 12, 2013, 10:16 am

    Did you ever end up following this up? I tried searching for a results post but with no luck

    Reply
    • Morgan February 12, 2013, 12:21 pm

      @Ammar – this is one of those that got away from me. Thanks for the reminder, I will try to put something together about this topic again this year!

      Reply
  • Arty April 6, 2013, 5:15 am

    I’m interested in purchase expired traffic domains to drive the traffic to my site,so Is it the good way to do?

    Reply
  • Brandon June 20, 2013, 7:44 pm

    @Arty. Yes you can help drive traffic to your site utilizing expired domains. It has to be done the right way but it can achieve great results.

    Reply
  • Nimeshka July 12, 2013, 2:12 am

    Hi, I would love to hear the results…what happened?

    Reply
  • Eben October 8, 2013, 1:32 am

    I think Go Daddy expired domain traffic estimation is generally correct. I recently bought an expired domain with 34,000 estimated traffic. What it was getting after parking was closer to that but it wasn’t taking any click. I optimized it. It’s still getting high traffic but no click

    Reply
  • PYVV January 30, 2014, 6:28 am

    Hello, any update on yuor experiment? I’m trying to buy a well balanced domain with good traffic and some pagerank and domain authority. Isn’t simple at all!

    Reply
    • Morgan January 30, 2014, 10:34 am

      Hi @PYVV – yes, I found that the traffic numbers reported by Go Daddy tend to be far from reality. It is without a doubt getting much harder to buy domains with traffic.

      Reply
  • Wapinter.net February 19, 2015, 2:36 pm

    So in short buying an expired domain from gd is not a good idea. Right?

    Reply
    • Morgan February 19, 2015, 6:42 pm

      Actually I still buy most of my expired domains from Go Daddy, I just don’t trust the traffic numbers.

      Reply
  • Magic April 28, 2015, 4:45 am

    Good to see this still works in 2015.

    Reply
  • pappu December 28, 2015, 3:16 am

    I want to buy a deleted domain with good back links and page rank. how can i find that?

    Reply
  • Sohbet January 1, 2016, 9:38 am

    the traffic is really important.It will benefit your keywords. PageRank is nice for google

    Reply
  • سعید January 2, 2016, 3:55 am

    Thank You !

    Reply
  • Matt January 7, 2016, 4:41 am

    I have just heard about this technique recently and was wondering how it stacks up with the referrer spam that seems to be so prevalent now days, semalt dot com and the like. Can you comment on that?

    Reply

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