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  Updated Tue, Dec 16, 2008 Version 1.0.4  
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Using expired domain names as an alternative to pay per click advertising

When a domain name expires, that doesn't necessarily mean its traffic disappears. We've all clicked on links or typed in a website address that didn't work, thus contributing to the traffic of an expired domain name. Now imagine instead of seeing this "dead" website, we're redirected to a functioning website containing the same information we're seeking. Would we care we're being redirected? Probably not.

As an alternative to pay per click ("PPC") ads, consider buying an expired domain name with traffic, and then redirecting that traffic to your website. This can often result in a similar quantity/quality of targeted traffic, often at a fraction of the cost.

To illustrate how this would work, imagine a scenario where abcwidgets.com and thewidgetfactory.com are two separate companies selling widgets through their websites. One day, abcwidgets.com goes out of business and their domain name is not renewed. The owner of thewidgetfactory.com then captures abcwidgets.com and redirects it to thewidgetfactory.com. As a result, thewidgetfactory.com gains all the traffic that abcwidgets.com would have been receiving. In other words, they bought a steady stream of visitors who are interested in buying widgets.

This is a win-win situation. The website owner wins because they capture the domain name and gain targeted traffic, and the web visitor wins because instead of finding a dead website, they find a website providing the information they're looking for. See our article how to increase website traffic with expired domain names for more detailed info.

The advantages of expired domain name traffic over PPC traffic

There are three primary benefits to using expired domain name traffic over PPC traffic:

  1. Lower Cost. With expired domain names, your investment is limited to the initial domain name capture cost, followed by standard domain name registrations fees, and possibly domain name redirection fees (depending on your hosting setup). So your investment for a single captured domain name can range from $20-$100 (or more), in the first year, and then $10 per year afterwards (excluding hosting costs). With diligent research, you can locate expired domain names providing targeted traffic, often at a significant savings over PPC ads. To learn more about the costs, see our article titled how to buy an expiring domain name.
  2. Elimates Clickfraud. Because of the nature of expired domain name traffic, your cost to acquire visitors is limited to when you initially capture the expired domain name. This capture fee is paid to domain name capture services, whose fee is not linked directly to clicks. Since you're not paying anyone for clicks, there is no possibility of clickfraud.
  3. A steady stream of targeted traffic. With PPC advertising, the amount of traffic you receive is linked to your advertising budget. If there are any fluctuations in your spending, traffic is affected proportionately. With expired domain names, targeted traffic is not linked to a fluctuating budget, and will continue to generate visitors for however long you own the domain name.

How to find targeted domain names with traffic

Ultimately, your success with expired domain name traffic will be dependent on the quality of the domain names you capture. With 40,000 domain names expiring each day, it may seem a daunting task to go through them all one-by-one and find the few hidden gems you're interested in. Thankfully there are tools available that automate this process. These tools are referred to as "droplist websites" or "expired domain name research" websites (Dropscout.com is one of these websites, providing free expired domain name research). By sorting the domain names based on commonly used evaluation criteria, such as Google PageRank, Inlinks, and Alexa Traffic Rank, these websites provide reports which can be used to quickly locate ideal expired domain names. See our article on how to find a valuable expiring domain name for more detailed info.

How to buy targeted expired domain name traffic

Registering an expiring domain name is a bit different than registering a regular domain name (see our article on the domain name expiration process for more detailed info). If the domain name has any value, there is a chance there will be others interested in capturing it as well, so it will be race to see who can register it first. Fortunately, there are services available that automate the capture attempt by attempting to register the domain name the moment it becomes available by using a network of powerful servers. This service is called "backordering." See our article on how to buy an expiring domain name for more detailed info.

Dropscout.com provides free expired domain name research. Read more expired domain name articles, or send us your comments and questions.


Last Updated: April 4, 2007

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