Use Expired Domains For Affiliate Sites

Back in April 2009, I was watching an expired domain that was won by someone in the Godaddy Expiring Domain Auctions, and recently I decided to check on the progress that the new owner had made since their purchase. Doing this is good practice if you want to get ideas of how to monetise expired domains. The domain in question is mistertab.com and the statistics that the domain claimed in the auction were:

  • Traffic – 4037 unique visitors per month
  • PR – 4

Using An Expired Domain For Your Own Purposes

The site used to hold a huge library of guitar tablature and one of my concerns when I was thinking about bidding on the domain myself was how on earth I would maintain all that tablature. It seemed too much like hard work to me. What the new owner has done, though, is slap a sales page on the domain’s homepage that hard sells a Clickbank guitar learning course. No maintenance necessary here. The site receives an impressive 4,000 unique visitors per month who are all interested in playing the guitar. The traffic is not as targeted as “buy guitar course” PPC traffic, but the traffic is free and in the guitar playing niche.

Checking Inbound Links

The site now consists of only one page, but what about all the old pages that used to be on the site that may still have links to them? In Yahoo Site Explorer, I found a staggering 57,581 links to the entire site and 57,398 to the domain only. That means that there are only 183 links to internal pages of the site other than the homepage – i.e. pages that don’t exist anymore. When buying an expired domain, it’s a good idea to look after all the existing links and make sure they don’t lead to any “page not found” errors. This is done by redirecting them to another page on the site. An expired domain’s inbound links are like gold dust and must be taken care of. However, in this case the vast majority of the links are to the domain anyway so even if the new owner is lazy and doesn’t bother with their redirects, most of the link juice will remain intact. I’m making the (potentially dangerous) assumption that those extra 183 links aren’t exceedingly valuable (for example, from places like dmoz, wikipedia, .edu sites etc)! In that case, you wouldn’t want to lose them. The only way for me to tell what the owner has done with those 183 links is to find each URL they point to, visit it and see whether it redirects to the homepage. But, of course, we don’t know how to identify those links and it is only a distraction from the main focus of this page – how to monetise an expired domain. I suspect that the value of those links is negligible, though. The next public toolbar PR update will tell us whether they passed any significant amounts of PR.

The Dangers Of Using Copy And Paste Sale Pages

I worry about that sales page. There are multiple versions of it spattered around the internet and duplicate content is bad news for search engine rankings. Although some duplicate content does escape the Google detector vans, using duplicate content is at risk of being filtered out of the SERPs or of being removed from the search engine’s index completely. It’s best avoided. It could be that the new owner knows the risks and the 4,000 UVs/month arrive via the humungous number of links anyway, so search engine rankings are of no concern.

Expired Domain Development

If you had bought this domain, one option you would have is to do a little development on the site yourself. This would involve doing some keyword research on guitar related phrases to determine what people are searching for in this niche and then writing a page about each phrase. See my article on using keyword research to drive content creation for more information on how this can be done. Although the domain receives more than 4,000 uniques / month anyway, I feel confident that the strength of the PR4 domain would help internal pages to rank well with minimal effort. In other words, it wouldn’t take long to boost the traffic numbers to much more than 4,000, simply by writing more highly targeted content. And just maybe, the search phrases that bring those visitors would match some other affiliate products that could be pushed. More mazoola you’ll have a hard time spending.

A Quick Way To Monetise Expired Domains

The lesson here? If you find an expired domain that has the following properties, you can quickly put it to work by using it to drive traffic to an affilate sale:

  • Decent traffic. This is important, as you don’t want to work too hard to build traffic from scratch yourself. Don’t buy an expired domain on the strength of its domain name, links or PR. If you read my 5 Minute Guide To Buying Expired Domains, you can find out how to quickly sift through the thousands of expired domains up for auction at Godaddy – and find a gem.
  • The domain is in a niche that is served by an affiliate product.

Only the owner of mistertab will know how successful their endeavour is, but there is nothing stopping you experimenting with similar expired domains. And if it works, rinse and repeat.