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The Key To Buying Pre-Owned Domain Names

Written by Monika Mundell  · April 15, 2008


Buying pre-owned domain names can be a real pain in the behind. Why? Because it is VERY time consuming if you do the research right. The whole concept behind acquiring domains that are pre-owned is to:

  • Not have an issue with Google’s sandbox
  • Hopefully get some indexed pages
  • If lucky get page rank

These factors alone make it all worthwhile to spend a few hours trolling the TDNAM website. TDNAM is GoDaddy’s very own domain name after market. Many bloggers and website owners don’t even know that buying a domain name here can save you potentially months of hard work in trying to get listed in Google’s search engines for a targeted keyword.

In recent months I have gotten more and more familiar with pre-owned domains and I wanted to show you what I do, when my fingers itch.

Hopefully this will help some of you do the same and snatch up some cool domains for a bargain.

How to start:

First of all, I don’t spend more than $50 on any domain ever. I think it is just crazy for a small business owner to do this. Most of the time I buy these domains for $5 plus the yearly registration fee of $9.95 minus the voucher I always find.

The reason I buy these domains is because of my niche sites. Sometimes I go with a brand new one and risk falling into the sandbox after a while and at other times I buy a pre-owned or previously expired domain. This really depends on the actual keyword and how much it pays.

When I search for my domains I always insert the keyword into the search box in TDNAM. There are four ways in which you can choose your search term:

  1. Exact Match
  2. Begins With
  3. Contains
  4. Ends With

From those options I normally start off with Begins With. The reason being is that I like my URL to begin with my keyword as this gives me a little more Google juice.

Do you need to have your keyword in your URL?

No you don’t. Contrary to popular belief, you can use any URL to rank just about for anything given you have enough incoming links and age. Yes, you can rank a keyword with a brand new blog, but the listing won’t hold. It might stay there for a day if you are lucky and then disappear again.

But personally I always prefer to have my keyword in the URL because it certainly helps me to outrank others in a very competitive field if put one on one.

What to look for:

If you are new to this, I suggest you check out closeouts and ending soon listings first. Those will give you a good idea on what the going rate is for certain domains and what to look out for.

In the end, it is up to you on which domain you choose if you do at all. But here come the helpful tips that will hopefully stop you from buying crappy domains forever.

Tips you need to know:

  1. Go to Google and check each promising domain on whether it has any indexed or cached pages. You can insert this into the search box on Google If it does, GREAT. Make a note of the particular URL of that page and keep this for reference once you own the domain. You will want to recreate that same URL again to help you with search engines.
  2. Check whether the site has any page rank. If it does, good. But this isn’t necessary for the success of the site right now.
  3. Now visit WhoIs and check for two things: one, you want to know how old the domain is (preferably 2 years minimum) to be out of the sandbox for sure and two check whether the domain has been blacklisted. If it has, keep your fingers off!

Once you have checked all these factors and all looks great, buy the domain. Congrats, you just scored yourself a great platform on which to build a niche site.

A note: To be eligible to bid for domains on TDNAM you’ll have to pay a small yearly membership fee. From memory it is below $5. Also, if you do bid on a domain and paid for it and all, you’ll only take ownership of the domain once the listing runs out.

The owner will also reserve the right to renew the domain again if they wish which means that you won’t be able to use it. In that case you obviously will get a refund.

Anyway, buying domains on TDNAM is great fun, although very time consuming so don’t get too addicted.

About The Author
My name is Monika Mundell, and I’m the author of Freelance Writing. Learn more from me there.

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8 Responses to “The Key To Buying Pre-Owned Domain Names”

  1. Trent Brownrigg on April 15th, 2008 1:28 pm

    Very good tips Monika. I have also recently started using TDNAM to get pre-owned domains and that is pretty much how I do it. Looks like I am doing it right. I’ve gotten a few really good domains this way. Some that might be worth a ton of money if I am smart about reselling them.

  2. Monika Mundell on April 15th, 2008 7:53 pm

    Thanks Trent, yes it seems you are doing it right. I myself learned from the masters too and they taught me this so we are both cool.

  3. Make Money Online by Homebizseo on April 22nd, 2008 3:12 pm

    The first thing on the to-do list should be to email google and make sure the website is not on a banned list.

  4. Pink Depression Glass on June 21st, 2008 12:36 pm

    Monika This article was exactly what I was looking for. I’ve been hearing a lot about buying pre-owned domains but have just started looking into it for myself. Thanks for the info , the last thing I want to do is buy a pre owned domain and not be able to use it.

  5. Monika Mundell on June 22nd, 2008 7:26 pm

    @ Pink Depression Glass: I’m happy it was useful for you. Pre-owned domains are a great way to avoid the sandbox too, especially if they are older than two years.

  6. betty on January 21st, 2009 1:08 am

    I was foxed into buying a decade old domain for $100 which was never dropped but I realized that rather than age of the domain what most matters is the sites which link to you. I have few new domains which i brought for less than $1 which are performing better than the 10 year old domain I brought. It has been a learning experience for me

  7. Choose Domain on March 7th, 2009 4:44 am

    Hey George,
    Those are some great tips for niche-related domain buying. I’ll be reading more articles on your blog now!

    – Abdulrehman

  8. Des on February 8th, 2011 9:14 pm

    That’s a very good tip. I did exactly that a few months after you published your article. I was lucky enough to get a good domain – recently expired – with some PR and a bunch of links with pretty good keywords. Did a bit more research and proceeded to buying it for less than $10 on TDNAM. Fantastic!

    Anyway, the store ranked fast, did pretty well and I sold it mid last year for a nice sum.