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Dropped Domains: How to Find and Capture Expired Domains

Paige Omandam
Jan 20, 2021

With so many of the best domains taken, the search for an original, unregistered domain name can result in disappointment. However, it's important to remember that domains have an ownership lifecycle. Valuable domains are reaching expiration without being renewed, and dropped domains (the common name for recently expired domains) are re-entering the market. Building an online presence from scratch is a lengthy process, but if a dropped domain has already built up a positive reputation, you’ll have a much easier time achieving your goals. Whether you are domain investing, starting a business, or registering a domain for personal use, you can discover the perfect dropped domain for you after researching it thoroughly.


Before you start the hunt for a promising dropped domain, it's essential to understand where they fit in the domain lifecycle.



Domain Lifecycle


Let's say someone registered a domain for one year at Dynadot. Around 60 days before the domain expires, we'll send them a reminder to renew the domain for another year. The customer ends up not renewing your domain, and it expires. There is a grace renewal period for the next 40 days where they can renew the domain for the regular renewal price; however, they cannot transfer it unless renewing first.


During the last 10 days of the renewal grace period, the domain can enter our Expired Auctions, where other users can bid on it. The owner can still renew the domain during this time, but with an additional $10 late fee. At the end of the renewal grace period, the registrar deletes the domain. This begins the 30-day redemption period, where the customer can still pay to restore the domain for a higher fee depending on the TLD.


Here's where dropped domains come into play: After the 30-day redemption period, the domain cannot be restored, and the only way to retrieve it is to wait until it is dropped from the registry. At this time, other users can search pending delete domains in our marketplace and place a backorder request to "catch" the dropping domain when it is re-released to the public for registration.



Benefits of Dropped Domains


Starting fresh with a newly registered domain name comes with pros and cons. On the one hand, you're able to build up your website from scratch. On the other, driving traffic to your site and establishing credibility can be a long and time-consuming process. One of the enormous benefits of dropped domains is that they may already have a positive reputation built up by their previous owner. There is also a chance of the opposite, and the domain may have violated rules in the past or hosted questionable content. Be sure to do thorough research of a dropped domain before committing to it, as there may be an underlying reason why the previous owner decided not to renew it.


When you’re considering acquiring a dropped domain from a domain aftermarket, be sure to investigate the following attributes of said domain:


Domain and Page Authority


What is the domain and page authority of the domain? Domain and page authority can help you gauge the quality of a dropped domain. Domain authority looks at the likelihood of the domain ranking in search engines, while page authority looks at the chances of individual pages ranking. This number is typically on a scale of 1 to 100; the higher the authority, the more likely it is a high-quality website. There are many SEO tools to assist you with evaluating a domain’s authority, such as SEMrush or ahrefs. If you are frequently monitoring dropped domains, it may be worth investing in to one of these tools.


Blacklist Status


Is the domain blacklisted or banned from any search engines? Search engines may penalize a domain that violates its guidelines by banning it from being discovered by search engines. For a domain owner looking to drive traffic to their site, this can pose a big issue. One way to check if the domain is banned is to type in "site:www.example.com" in the search engine. If a result is not found, it is likely that the domain is banned. While there is an unbanning process, unless you hold the domain in high regard, it may not be worth the trouble to buy a banned dropped domain.


Website History


A helpful indicator of whether a dropped domain is right for you is to see how it functioned in the past. You can use tools like the Wayback Machine to get a glimpse of how the previous owners utilized the website in past years. This is particularly valuable when trying to target a niche audience or subject to see if the domain has been associated with the topic before. It also helps to see if it hosted content before that you wouldn’t want to be associated with.


Search Volume and Existing Traffic


Does the dropped domain you're considering contain any keywords? If so, what does the search volume look like for those keywords? With a higher search volume, you can drive more traffic to your site. One downside of a domain with keywords is that the domain may not be brandable or memorable. If your purpose to registering the domain is to generate a high volume of traffic, this may not be an issue for you.


With domains that only recently expired, there may still be an existing consistent traffic flow to the domain. When evaluating a domain to acquire, make sure to use online tools to get an approximate of the monthly traffic the domain was receiving.


Domain Quality


What kind of domain is it, and does it align with the plans you have for it? Depending on your intentions with the domain, there are many aspects to look at here. Is the domain brandable, descriptive, numeric, or target any geographic location? Does it contain few characters, or is it a long keyword search term? What TLD does it use, and is it registered under any other TLDs? As each domain can hold different value to different people, consider if the domain is the right one to achieve your goals with.


Finding Dropped Domains


You can discover dropped domains in Dynadot’s Expired Domain Auctions and Backorders . With helpful search tools and filters, Dynadot’s domain aftermarket is one of the best places to buy expired domains and just dropped domains. Competition for high quality dropping domains is cutthroat, so be sure to monitor these pages to make sure you don’t miss your opportunity to capture an excellent domain name. Luckily, Dynadot’s aftermarket offers everything you need to catch the domain that will launch your online presence.


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