Build-in-Public – Episode 16 – Expired Domain Auctions

As we move past the halfway point in our 30-day challenge, I’ve been keeping up with creating a video each day. Today, I’ll take you through the steps of buying an expired domain name at auction and evaluating whether it’s a good one. Yesterday, I won a bid on an expired domain, making it a perfect topic to discuss.

I typically use GoDaddy auctions for finding expired domain names. Although it’s not my favorite registrar, it provides a wide selection of auctioned domains. Another useful tool is Spam Zilla, which helps in locating expired domains across various platforms. These tools allow you to not only find domains but also evaluate their worth based on traffic, age, and other factors. Understanding these aspects can help you determine whether to purchase a domain for resale or personal use.

Key Takeaways

  • Discusses progress in a 30-day challenge and using GoDaddy and Spam Zilla for domain auctions.
  • Explains criteria for selecting expired domains including traffic and past usage.
  • Evaluating expired domains involves checking traffic, age, and content history.

30-Day Challenge Progress

We have passed the halfway mark of the 30-day challenge. As we approach the final days, the focus shifts to maintaining consistency and exploring new topics. One useful topic covered is the process of buying expired domain names at auction.

Tools Mentioned:

  • GoDaddy Auctions: A popular platform for finding expired domain names.
  • Spam Zilla: A paid tool for locating expired domains across various sites, often at low prices.
  • Otis and Squadhelp: Provide high-quality, brandable domains, though prices can vary significantly.

Key Steps in Purchasing Expired Domains:

  1. Search for Expired Domains: Platforms like GoDaddy Auctions and Spam Zilla are great for this. Look for aged domains with some traffic.
  2. Evaluate Traffic and Age: Consider whether the domain has traffic or if it’s simply aged.
  3. Check Domain History: Tools like Ahrefs and SEMrush help evaluate the domain’s history and backlink profile.
  4. View Past Use: Use to see how the domain was previously used and ensure it wasn’t involved in spammy activities.

Example Domains:



  • Traffic: Look for domains showing traffic, as they are likely still indexed by Google.
  • Backlink Profile: Check for spam links using tools like Ahrefs or SEMrush.
  • Past Use: Confirm the domain hasn’t hosted inappropriate content using

By these steps, the domain purchasing process can become more strategic and effective. Each platform and method has unique benefits, making it easier to find a domain that fits specific needs.

Buying an Expired Domain Name at Auction

One way to find expired domain names is through GoDaddy auctions. Despite not being my favorite registrar, GoDaddy offers a substantial inventory for auctions. Another useful tool is Spam Zilla, which is paid but effective in locating expired domains across various sites.

When using GoDaddy auctions or similar services, it’s important to distinguish between domains that already have traffic and those that don’t. Domains that attract traffic indicate they were once active and possibly still indexed by Google, which can be advantageous. Another approach is to find aged domains without traffic, allowing you to build a new site from scratch.

Platforms for Finding Domains

I use several platforms to find good domain names:

  • GoDaddy Auctions: A wide inventory of expired domains.
  • Spam Zilla: Paid tool that shows dropped domains available for registration at a typical fee.
  • Otis: Offers premium, evaluated domains, albeit at higher prices.
  • Squadhelp: Another platform for quality, brandable domains.

Here’s a quick comparison:

PlatformFeaturePrice Range
GoDaddyLarge inventory, auction modelVaries by bid
Spam ZillaExpired, dropped domains$12 and up
OtisPremium, evaluated domainsThousands of dollars
SquadhelpBrandable, niche-targetedHundreds to thousands

Evaluating Domain Names

When evaluating a potential domain, consider the following:

  1. Domain Age: Older domains generally rank better.
  2. Traffic: Look for domains with existing traffic.
  3. Backlink Profile: Use tools like SEMrush or Ahrefs to analyze backlinks.
  4. Past Use: Check to see the domain’s history.

Check each domain for spammy content or questionable backlinks. Tools such as Ahrefs can help identify spam. Additionally, is invaluable for seeing what a domain was previously used for.

Example Steps

For a hands-on example, I would:

  1. Set up a Search: Look for .com domains with any level of traffic.
  2. Apply Filters: Exclude domains with “make an offer” options.
  3. Sort by Traffic: Evaluate domains showing some level of traffic.

Take the following concrete steps:

  1. Search for target domain names on GoDaddy.
  2. Filter by traffic and age.
  3. Check domain metrics with Ahrefs and SEMrush.
  4. Review historical use via

Next, you need to ensure the domain hasn’t been penalized by Google for spammy practices. This can involve checking past content and backlinks using tools like SEMrush.

In summary, purchasing a good expired domain involves diligent search and analysis. By utilizing platforms like GoDaddy and Spam Zilla, applying strategic filters, and evaluating domain history, you’ll be well-equipped to make a smart buy at auction.

Evaluating Good Domain Names

When looking for expired domains, I often use GoDaddy auctions. Although GoDaddy isn’t my go-to registrar, they offer a wide selection at their auctions. Spam Zilla is another tool I find useful; it’s a paid service but can yield some solid domains.

There are other platforms like Otis and Squadhelp that offer high-quality, brandable domain names. These sites often feature domains that can cost a few hundred to several thousand dollars. While browsing, you can find diverse options depending on your business needs.

When I search for domain names at GoDaddy, I focus on a few key factors. First, I look for aged domains. An older domain often helps in ranking. If a domain has no traffic, it means Google has no history on it, allowing you to shape it as you want.

Next, I sift through domains that show some traffic, indicating they might still be indexed by Google. Using tools like Ahrefs to check the Domain Rating (DR) and SEMrush to examine the backlink profile ensures there are no harmful links associated with the domain.

For example, if you consider buying a domain like “,” you need to investigate its past use. Check its DR with Ahrefs and review the backlink profile with SEMrush. Make sure there are no spammy backlinks.

Another handy tool is Wayback Machine at This site allows you to see past versions of any domain, helping you understand its history. By clicking through different snapshots, you can identify what the domain was used for in previous years. This step is crucial to ensure you’re not inheriting a tainted past.

Buying Expired Domain Names Through GoDaddy Auctions

GoDaddy Auctions is a go-to platform for finding expired domain names. Although not my top choice for a registrar, GoDaddy offers a rich selection when it comes to auctions. This is valuable if you’re looking to acquire a solid domain.

Tools to Consider:

  • Spam Zilla: A paid tool that helps identify expired domains across various sites. It offers a way to purchase domains that no one else has registered, sometimes for as low as the standard $12 registration fee.
  • Other Platforms: Sites like Otis and Squadhelp specialize in premium, brandable domain names. Prices here can range from a few hundred to thousands of dollars.

Evaluating Domains:

  1. Traffic and Age:
    • I usually look for aged domains with some traffic. Domains with traffic are often still indexed by Google, which can make them more valuable.
    • Alternatively, you can buy aged domains that haven’t been used much. These domains benefit from their age without any negative history from previous use.
  2. Search Criteria on GoDaddy:
    • Focus primarily on .com domains.
    • Set filters to find domains with a minimum traffic count.
    • Exclude options like “make offer” to streamline the search.

Checking Domain Quality:

  1. Authority and Traffic:
    • Use tools like Ahrefs to check the Domain Rating (DR). A DR of 30 is generally considered solid for aged domains.
    • Another key metric is the backlink profile. Tools like SEMrush provide a comprehensive view of a domain’s backlinks.
  2. Backlink Analysis:
    • Check for spammy backlinks. Free tools like Ahrefs’ backlink checker can help, although they may offer limited insights.
  3. Domain History:
    • Use to examine what the domain was used for in the past. This can help identify any previous spammy or undesirable content.

By following these steps, you can effectively identify and purchase high-quality expired domains, whether you aim to resell them or build your own site.

Utilizing Spam Zilla

Spam Zilla is a great tool for finding expired domain names. It’s a paid service, but it offers valuable features that make it easier to spot good domains. With Spam Zilla, you can access expired domains across different auction sites and even pick up domains that no one else has registered yet. This can save you money since you only have to pay the regular domain registration fee, around $12 for a .com.

Benefits of Spam Zilla

  • Broad Search: You can scan multiple auction sites in one place.
  • Cost-Effective: Find domains that haven’t been picked up, avoiding expensive auctions.
  • Ease of Use: Simple tools and filters help you narrow down your choices quickly.

How to Use Spam Zilla

  1. Search and Filter: Enter keywords related to the type of domain you want. Use filters to narrow down results by age, traffic, and other factors.
  2. Evaluate: Check the domain’s history and backlinks to ensure it hasn’t been used for spam. Tools like Ahrefs and SEMrush can help with this.
  3. Purchase: Once you’ve identified a good domain, you can purchase it directly through Spam Zilla or the original auction site.

Using Spam Zilla can streamline the process and potentially save you time and money. By evaluating the domain’s history and backlinks, you can make an informed decision and avoid buying a domain that has been flagged for spam.

Comparing Domain Auction Platforms

Otis and Squadhelp Overview

Otis and Squadhelp are popular platforms for purchasing quality domain names. Otis positions itself as a premium marketplace, often evaluating and curating the domains they list, aiming for high-quality options that can cater to various niches. Squadhelp, on the other hand, focuses more on brandable domains. They provide a wide variety of catchy and unique names that businesses can use to establish a strong identity online. Both platforms allow users to search for domains based on specific keywords, making it easier to find names that align with their business goals.

Otis Premium Domains

Otis often lists domains that have undergone evaluation to ensure they are top-quality. Prices on this platform can range significantly, from a few hundred dollars to much higher amounts. This platform targets users looking for premium and potentially more established domains. They occasionally feature high-value domains, sometimes even reaching six figures. Otis provides domains that are ready to be utilized for specific niches, making it a good option for those who need a strong domain with some pre-existing value.

Squadhelp for Memorable Names

Squadhelp focuses on offering domains that are easy to remember and brandable. They cater to businesses looking for unique names that can help stand out in the market. The prices here also vary, offering affordable options for startups and small businesses, as well as more expensive choices for larger entities. This platform is especially useful for those needing a domain that is catchy and reflects the business identity effectively. The variety and creativity available make Squadhelp a go-to for brand-focused domain buyers.

Finding Domains on GoDaddy Auctions

When looking for expired domain names, GoDaddy Auctions is a reliable place to start. The inventory on GoDaddy Auctions is extensive, often providing a variety of options to bid on. It’s important to understand that you’ll be competing with others, which might result in paying a premium.

Another useful tool is Spam Zilla, a paid service that helps in finding expired domains across different auction sites. With Spam Zilla, you can find domains that have been dropped and are available for a standard registration fee.

In addition to these, platforms like Otis and Squadhelp offer higher quality, brandable domain names. These sites often resell domains after purchasing them for lower prices at places like GoDaddy Auctions. This practice can turn a small investment into a significant profit, depending on the domain’s desirability and market demand.

When using GoDaddy, one approach is to search for aged domains with traffic. There are two main strategies:

  1. Aged Domains with No Traffic: These domains have been registered for a while but not actively used. They might have no traffic, and Google may not recognize them. This can be an opportunity to build a fresh site using the advantage of the domain’s age.
  2. Domains with Traffic: These domains are still indexed by Google and were previously used, meaning they bring traffic. This is a good indicator that the domain is still recognized by search engines, which can be beneficial.

To start, focus on .com domains. Filter your search to include only domains with a minimum traffic of one. Exclude listings requiring an offer and sort by traffic. Evaluate potential domains by considering what you could build or sell.

It’s essential to check the past usage of a domain. Many may have been penalized by Google for spammy content. Using tools like Ahrefs or Semrush, you can check the domain’s Domain Rating (DR) and backlink profile. High DR and a clean backlink profile suggest a good domain. is another invaluable resource. It allows you to view past snapshots of the domain to see how it was previously used. This helps ensure the domain hasn’t been associated with unwanted or spammy content in the past.

By following these steps, you can find valuable expired domains on GoDaddy Auctions that suit your needs, whether for developing new sites or reselling for profit.

Domain Research Strategy

Analyzing Domain History and Site Visitors

When researching expired domain names, consider the age of the domain and its existing traffic. Older domains can have advantages in search rankings. Use GoDaddy auctions to find aged domains. Setting filters to show domains with at least some traffic can help you identify those that are still indexed by search engines.

| Domain Age        | Minimum Traffic Criteria    | Filter Applied    |
| Any age available | At least 1 visitor          | Exclude Offers    |

Verifying Domain Function and Previous Usage

It’s crucial to check the domain’s previous use to ensure it hasn’t been penalized or used for spam. Tools like Ahrefs and SEMrush can provide insights into the domain’s history and backlink profile. Use archive websites to view snapshots of what the domain hosted in the past. This helps in making sure the domain was used legitimately before purchasing.

  • Check Domain Rating (DR)
  • Analyze Backlink Profile for Spam
  • Review Historical Use on

By following these steps, you can make a well-informed decision when bidding on expired domain names.

Published by

John Ward

With nearly two decades of experience in building, growing, and monetizing websites, I share insights from my journey—highlighting what works and what doesn’t. Whether you're new or experienced, there's something here for everyone.