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When the validity period of a domain expires, the domain host will render it inactive, and it becomes a “dropped” or “expired” domain.

Generally speaking, the average domain is valid for one year from the date the domain is purchased. Many people abandon or forget about their domains after they buy them and don’t renew them after a year, which renders them dropped. This article is going to answer the question. “what is a dropped domain” and review the pros and cons of using one.

Related: Search and Register a New Domain Today

What Are the Types of Dropped Domains

Here are details on a few common types of dropped domains:

1. Less Than 30 Days After the Expiration Date

This is the first category of dropped domain names. You generally have a grace period of 1-30 days during which you can recover a domain that expired for nonrenewal. As a penalty for not renewing your domain name on time, you may be expected to pay more than the initially advertised renewal amount.

2. More Than 30 Days After the Expiration Date

If more than 30 days elapsed since your domain’s expiration date, you will be stripped of the rights to your domain name because you did not want to or were unable to renew it within your host’s 30-day grace period. Your domain is then available for anyone to purchase on the open market.

3. A Domain That Failed to Sell at Auction

Some domain names are sold in an auction – including dropped domains. However, not all of them actually sell by the end of the auction. Those that aren’t are shuffled back into the domain name registrar (a record of domain names), where anyone can pick them up on the open market and go through the domain registration process.

4. Deleted Domains

Dropped domains that fall under this category are domains that are literally erased from the domain name registrar. Once they are deleted, there will no longer be a record of that domain’s existence. You can then register the same domain yourself by going to any registrar or web hosting company to pay for and register it with them.

Now that you understand the various categories of dropped domains, let’s look at the pros and cons of buying dropped domains:

What Are The Pros of Buying Dropped Domains?

Why would anyone want to buy a dropped domain? Here are a few advantages to doing so.

1. They Tend to Rank Faster

Buying a dropped domain is like a cheat that many domain buyers use to help their new site rank quickly on search engine results pages. The SEO trick here is to buy one that raked in a decent amount of traffic and has a nice backlink profile before it dropped. When you purchase it, you can link or redirect that traffic to your site, and just like that, you’ve tapped into its existing traffic flow. Instead of buying a new name and doing all the SEO work to place your new site higher in search engine rankings, you can purchase a successful dropped domain and redirect its traffic to yourself so search engines will rank you faster.

Buying a new domain that someone else registered and listed for resale—often to make a profit by ‘squatting’ on that name—can be expensive. Buying a dropped domain and going through the registration process can prove to be a much more cost-effective way of obtaining a name that is easy to remember than buying one that someone is trying to sell for a profit.

There are, however, a few challenges you may face if you purchase a dropped domain after the redemption period.

What Are The Cons of Buying Dropped Domains?

1. Bad Traffic

Unfortunately, at times, domain hosts or owners pump their traffic stats to make a domain name seem appealing. Owners usually do this when they are trying to sell their domain via an auction or during their grace period without having any real intention of renewing their domain name registration for themselves. Doing so can lead to the domain getting blacklisted and stripped of various public-market privileges from the likes of Google AdSense or Google Search. If you purchase a blacklisted domain and try to redirect its traffic to you, you may cause more harm to yourself than good.

To avoid this pitfall, do your own research into the dropped domain instead of relying on the statistics that the seller provides to you.

2. Bad Name

Domain names expire, and sometimes the owners let it happen because it’s not a strong name. Previously registered domains aren’t guaranteed to have a strong backlink profile or SEO value. It is no surprise that the longevity of a domain plays a role in determining how highly it ranks in search results. Domains that have been up and running for a long time are likely to have better reputation scores than newer ones. Buying a domain that had a good reputation can be the right move to make; however, if the opposite is the case, you can lose out by buying a dropped domain that was marred by reputation and reliability-related issues.

These facts highlight the need to be thorough to not associate a domain with a bad reputation to your website. It can be difficult to determine a dropped domain’s rep by running a simple online search. But you should definitely check if a dropped domain is being auctioned at a ridiculously low price compared to similar names or sites with equal levels of traffic. If that is the case, be wary that something may be wrong with the domain, and it would be best to steer clear of buying it.

In Summary

Buying a dropped domain is a gamble. You can hit the jackpot if you are cautious and scrutinize dropped domains using freely available SEO and website analysis tools to identify a promising domain. However, if you are not sure about a given domain, either have a professional conduct the required research for you or buy a new one altogether.

  • Tiffani Anderson

    Tiffani is a Content and SEO Manager for the Bluehost brand. With over 10 years experience across all facets of content and brand marketing, she strives to combine concepts from brand marketing with engaging content through the lens of SEO.

    University of North Texas
    Previous Experience
    Content Marketing, SEO, Social Media
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