Quick Tip to Buy Domains in Private

This morning, I was looking through some drops on Snapnames for the next couple of days. I was researching one of the names I thought was worth bidding on, and I saw that it was an expired domain name rather than a private seller’s auction. After some further research (including a Whois History search), I saw that it was owned by a company whose name I’ve seen on a number of previous Whois searches, and the company owns thousands of domain names.

When companies begin dropping domain names from their portfolio, it usually means one of a couple of things. The first (and usually most likely) is that they didn’t think the name was valuable. For some reason, they decided that this particular domain name isn’t worth $8/year to renew. There are plenty of names I have dropped because I didn’t sell them and I didn’t want to throw good money after bad.

The second potential cause is that the company is facing financial troubles, and they need to lower their overhead. Not renewing domain names is a way to reduce overhead, although it’s probably not the smartest way to do so, as this would bring no revenue to the company. However, if a company is dropping thousands of domain names, it might not be worth searching through huge lists to find one or two worth keeping.

Since the name has at least 2 bidders now, I don’t think the first scenario is likely. With that said, I am going to reach out to the company in private and see if I can buy some of their domain names. If they are facing a cash crunch, perhaps we can work out a deal for other names I’ve looked at in the past. They could get the much needed liquidity, and I could get some strong names at good prices.

Elliot Silver
Elliot Silver
About The Author: Elliot Silver is an Internet entrepreneur and publisher of DomainInvesting.com. Elliot is also the founder and President of Top Notch Domains, LLC, a company that has closed eight figures in deals. Please read the DomainInvesting.com Terms of Use page for additional information about the publisher, website comment policy, disclosures, and conflicts of interest. Reach out to Elliot: Twitter | Facebook | LinkedIn


  1. When you try and buy the company’s domains, do they often ask what your interest is? What about dropping domains that are renewable, have you ever contact those folks before they hit expired auction? thanks for sharing

  2. My experience is that even when I am dropping what I consider to be trash domains that even some of those, about 40% will go for $100 to $200 sometimes. These are domains that don’t make reg fee back, have a very low RPC, very little traffic, and are not very sellable.

    There are just some folks that will bid high on trash domains . I figure these to be new domainers/investors, or those that have been in the game a spell, but won’t if they keep amassing the types I am dropping.

    It seems they are also forgetting that domain prices are going up again here soon.

    If your method works Elliot let us know for sure, but I’d be surprised if it was terribly effective. You never know until you try though. πŸ™‚

  3. You need to be careful if one of the domains that’s expiring is very important to you. When I reached out to someone once, they asked for several thousand dollars for the domain. When I explained that it had expired, they just renewed it. They knew someone was interested now.

  4. @ Andrew

    I didn’t mention the domain name that expired – nor anything about an expiring domain name. I just figured they may need the liquidity, so I made an offer for other names they own that I like.

  5. That is what I mean Andrew, how to come off as the guy that isn’t trying to capitalize on their investment? Just say you’re a fan of the industry? lol I guess you’re really hoping for a random executive to answer the phone, and not the tech savvy marketing guru.

  6. Smart people try to improve their portfolio so it’s normal that they drop some bad domains.

    How come you never improve your portfolio because I only see junk and more junk?

    If you are so smart how come you don’t own better domain names?

  7. Hey EJS: I would wait until you secure the name via auction before contacting the owner. Like others stated once you make them aware they ‘could’ take the name out of redemption and re-evaluate their domain portfolio. Tread carefully as the auction prices may yield a greater savings for you….

    • @ webuythe.com

      I think there is some confusion with what I am doing. Say Company A owns ABC.com, 123.com, XYZ.com, TTT.com and 10,000 other domain names. I saw that ABC.com was dropping and placed a backorder on it.

      I then emailed Company A and made an offer for 123.com, XYZ.com, and TTT.com. I didn’t mention anything about ABC.com or about anything related to the drop auction. It was just a standard offer email I send when I buy domain names.

  8. But I don’t think you could bid in those domain autions (expired domains). I believe only people who backorder before the deadline are invited for the auction.

    As you mentioned, it is good idea to contact the company per se to see whether you could get domains at bargain prices.

  9. “If you are so smart how come you don’t own better domain names?”

    @ Joe

    Normally I wouldn’t reply to an anonymous commenter like you, but what the heck? You don’t think Torah.com and Burbank.com are decent?

    In any event, I am buying plenty of good domain names and turning around and selling them in private. My business is based on quick domain sales, and these last 2 months have been better than any month in the last 15 or so πŸ™‚

    I may not exactly be “building” my portfolio right now, but I am improving the financial strength of my company.

  10. Elliot,

    I have increase my domain portfolio to nearly 300 domains. Many of them are high quality. Any ideas as to how I could sell any of them? GreatDomains are asking for $1k, .10 cox and 1000+ searches. I have more than 20 with those stats.

    The only problem is that they will only offer a certain percentage based on value. One of my domain will be reduced 70%, still bringing in a huge profit. Let me know what is the best place to make a quick sale. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks.


    • @ Jason

      Not that I don’t believe that “many are high quality,” but most people with high quality names wouldn’t be posting on my blog asking where to sell them πŸ™‚ If they truly are great domain names, I am sure people have contacted you over the years to buy them, and that would be the place to start selling them.

      If you’d like, you can list 2-3 (maximum) of your best domain names here, and perhaps some of the pros who read my blog (or me) would be interested. Please limit it to no more than 3 domain names.

  11. El,

    I don’t allow many of my domains to drop, maybe about 50 a month, but most of those are based on “predicting future trends” and were bought OOTB. Many times these domains are okay, but I have better domains that cover the same niche, and I’m just weeding out my portf to hold my focus niches.

    Right now, I’m selling off domains that are good domains, that most likely will pay for themselves in PPC, but do not fall into my future trend portfolio, which is actually growing.

    So as many names I let drop, the same amount I buy to replace them and hover around 3500 domains. The domains I’m selling now have been “filtered” (meaning they’ve been reviewed and renewed several times because of their resale or PPC value).

    I look at domains as a “profit” aggregate, which says “i’ve renewed this domain for five years, I paid $100 for it, now I can sell it for $350 — about a $200 profit”). By holding on to my killer premiums, and letting nice domains go for much cheaper than their branding generic value, they sell quick, and keep money flowing. I think you and I have the same business model concept of domain investing.

    I agree with most everything you said here EXCEPT that sometimes I will let a domain drop because I have others that are similar, but I’m no longer interested in the niche.

  12. Elliot,

    Thanks for your feedback. I have many domains that have high keyword searches and great potential for current, and as well as future growth. I’m looking to sell a few domains a month.

    When you compare my domain collection to yours, then I wouldn’t call them high quality (i.e. Burbank.com – massive investment). I do have some good ones that are popular and will attract some attention. It is virtually impossible to find one word .com and 3 letter ones too. They will always do well in auctions.

    Right at this moment, it is hard for me to enter any auctions because many companies are selective on what they accept. I understand that if you don’t spend money to market your domains, then it is hard to make a sell.

    Since I can only add 3 domains on your blog, I have Pursescoach.com, libertyofstatue.com and knightdark.com. I will share others domains at a later time or when I’m permitted to add more.

    I have many more domains, but the ones above will be a good start. I’m interested on any feedback. I retract what I mentioned before about having high quality domains.

    High quality domains are reserved for domains that have massive traffic and can sell without any problems. Domains such as blue.com, jobs.com, loans.com, creditcards.com are high quality.

    I feel that my domain collection has great potential. I would appreciate any advice on how I can further improve my chances to start selling some of my domains. I sold one last month, but it was through domain buy (members liked the name).

    Maybe as time permits, I can add more of my domains on this list. You have an excellent blog. Thanks.


  13. Jason,

    My opinion on selling those domains you listed for Elliot.

    It would be tough one as the reverse spelling part is not to appealing to most investors or end users it would be a tough sell. Not that they won’t sell just tough, may want to pay $20 a year to Afternic.com or? and list all 300 and see what happens.

    Good Luck,

    The Kid

  14. The Kid,

    Thanks for the advice. I also have many other domains in chronological order, as well. I pocked up some reverse order ones because of they had high searches. I recently stopped picking them up. I’ll check out Afternic. You know of any site where I can drop off NYC domains that target different areas? Thanks again for your help.


  15. Excuse my grammar errors in my last post. I was using an iPhone to prepare the post. Would anyone know whether job domains could sell? I notice there is a stronger market for loans, credit cards and travel. Thanks.


  16. interesting, but usually, I found that, owners will ask 10x more if you approach them, in a case of a company, it maybe different.

    The other thing is, if they find out that there is an interest for a domain, can’t they go and renew it even if it’s pending delete?


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