How to win at Domain Auctions

Irakli Tchigladze
Irakli Tchigladze

Irakli’s innate curiosity and love of computers led him to grow his knowledge of all things tech. Now he uses his writing to help others better understand the interesting, but often-confusing world of technology.

Domain selection is critical to the success of your online project. In this guide, you'll learn about domain auctions, arguably the best place to find hidden gems and get them for an affordable price.

To begin, let's talk about domains and what kind of name you need to achieve your goals. Or you can jump right in and skip to strategies for winning in domain auctions.

What are domain auctions?

Domain auctions are marketplaces where you can bid on domains. Auctions usually last 1-2 weeks, so everyone with an account has a chance to bid and win valuable domains.

Popular domain registrars like GoDaddy, Namecheap, and Namejet all have their own auctions where you'll find thousands of expired and brandable domains.

Bidding on domain auctions is open to anyone with an account. We recommend registering with the most popular platforms to make sure you don't miss out on any opportunities.

On expireddomains.com, you can search all domains currently listed on auctions and use helpful built-in filters to narrow down your search and find hidden gems in a short amount of time.

Narrow down your search

At any given time, there are hundreds of thousands of domains listed on auctions. Analyzing all these domains would be like looking for a needle in a haystack. That is why you need some way to filter out low-quality domains.

Brandability

A short and memorable name makes it more likely that users will remember your website and come back.

Expireddomains.com database has several filters to help you target brandable domains. Most notable is the custom 'brandable names' filter that returns short, memorable domains. You can also filter by length and whether or not the domain should include hyphens or numbers.

Interest in the domain

Domains without bids are usually low quality, so removing them allows you to focus your attention on high-quality domains.

Selecting domains with bids means that you will face competition and should be prepared to pay at least hundreds of dollars for a single domain. Higher price is due to higher quality of the domain, but no need to worry, investing money into strong domains is always worth it.

TLDs

It's also a good idea to filter your search by top-level domain.

Popular TLDs like .com are always a good choice. '.com' domains have the best resale value and users are more likely to trust and remember the domain. Popular TLDs offer no real advantage in terms of SEO, but no disadvantage either.

Country-specific TLDs are fine if you're building a website for a domestic market. However, some countries require you to verify your residence in the country of the domain.

Unpopular TLDs (like '.shop') are less saturated, so you are more likely to find brandable and memorable domains. Less popular TLDs usually come with a discount, as opposed to '.com', which commands a premium.

SEO potential

You can save lots of time by starting a website on an expired domain. Your site will rank higher in search engines and receive valuable traffic from SEO.

Tools like Majestic, Semrush, and Moz have their own metrics you can use to measure overall authority and get a general idea of SEO potential of the domain.

Every domain on expireddomains.com shows the DA (Domain Authority) metric from Moz. You can set a minimum of 20, 30, or 40 DA to narrow down your search so you're only left with strong domains. Keep in mind that DA is only a general metric, and you need to do further research before spending hundreds or thousands of dollars on a domain.

Our blog post on choosing expired domains goes into great detail on how to do SEO analysis of a domain.

Price

Auctions can be unpredictable. A domain may be worth more to others than it is to you. Our EAP metric is a good starting point to determine how much a domain worth.

Most domain auctions allow you to submit a proxy bid. In other words, you can specify the maximum you're willing to pay for a domain. Your bid will automatically increase to outbid any competition until you reach the upper limit of the proxy bid.

If you're good at valuing domains, you can use the proxy bid feature to win auctions without spending too much time. It also saves you from getting personally invested in a specific domain, which might lead you to pay more than it's worth.

How domain auctions work

Once expired, domains are usually deleted from the database and become available for registration.

Valuable domains are an exception. Once expired, they are placed on an auction where anyone can get them.

Domain auctions usually start at $10-$30 and interested parties have 7 to 14 days (or more) to make a bid. There are several provisions to make sure the auction is fair.

One of the most important rules is against last-minute bidding. If a last-minute bid happens, the auction time is extended by 5 or 10 minutes to give everyone time to respond.

Users can add domains to a watchlist (or 'favorites') to monitor multiple auctions at once. They will receive email notifications on important updates, for example, when the auction is coming to an end.

Some domain auction platforms even have a smartphone app so you can keep track of your favorite domains from your phone.

Auction strategy

To win in domain auctions, you need:

  • The ability to estimate the value of a domain
  • Discipline to not get caught up in competition and avoid overpaying.
  • Large enough budget to afford the domain.

Domain's value depends on what you intend to do with it. Let's say you need a domain for PBN. In that case, you only need a strong backlink profile. Domain length, brandability, and TLD are practically irrelevant.

A single domain can cost hundreds or thousands of dollars, so it's a good idea to start with at least a few thousand dollars. Domain prices are rather low at the beginning but skyrocket by the end of the auction.

Finally, regardless of whether you're trying to win multiple domains or just one, you shouldn't get overly attached to any specific domain. Bid rationally, and bow out if the price is too high.

Now, let's discuss other factors that might influence your strategy for winning in domain auctions.

What you're going to do with the domain

Brandable and relevant domains are more valuable for starting a new online venture. Factors like SEO potential, while important, are secondary.

On the other hand, a backlink profile and SEO potential are the most important if you're looking for domains to start a PBN.

To get the best value for your money, choose a domain whose strengths coincide with your intended use for the domain. For example, a brandable and relevant domain would be the best choice for starting a new project, even if it has little SEO potential.

Bidding Early vs Bidding Late

Bidding at the right time can increase your chances of winning a domain. There are advantages to bidding early as well as bidding late. So when is a perfect time to bid on a domain?

Sometimes you can win domains by bidding once at the beginning of the auction. Domain auctions usually allow you to place a proxy bid, a feature that allows you to specify how much, at most, you are willing to pay for a domain. Once set, your account will automatically outbid any competitors until the price reaches your upper limit for that domain.

A strong proxy bid also makes a statement that you're interested in a domain, which might discourage the competition. It also allows you to win domains with minimal effort. The key is to submit a proper bid that reflects the value of the domain.

Bidding late is also a viable strategy. It gives you more control and opportunity to actively respond to competitive bids and secure the domain. Most importantly, you don't waste time because you enter the auction when it's coming to an end.

As a rule of thumb, it's best to not draw attention to a domain you're interested in. Domain auctions usually promote their 'active' domains, so it's best to lay low and start bidding only when the auction is coming to an end. This might reduce competition and give you plenty of time to do the research to gain the competitive edge.

As we already mentioned, the value of a domain depends on its use-case. A domain can be more valuable to others than it is to you. You should have the discipline to give up when the price gets too high.

Bidding at the last second does not work. If it happens, auctions will automatically extend time by 5 or 10 minutes, so your competitors will have time to respond.

Cost of Domain Auctions

Auctions are a goldmine of premium domains. Still, they are not the only source. You can also get domains by drop-catching, using brokers, or by waiting for them to become available for registration.

Winning a domain on an auction usually costs less than it would cost to buy a similar domain from its owner. Thousands of domains are listed on an auction every day, so you can usually find a relevant domain for a good price. If you want a specific domain that's not listed on an auction, it may be a good idea to buy it directly from its owner.

Domain auctions are the best place to buy expired domains. Backorders are cheaper, but domains only become available for backorder if they do not receive bids in the auction. So the auction is where you get the first pick of recently expired domains.

Summary

That's everything you need to know about domain auctions and how to win them. Hopefully, you are now able to get valuable domains for your project or resell them for a profit.

Start bidding!
Name Link Price BID EAP WBY MDA END
newscafe.com
GoDaddy 2 000 58 36 680 1996 50 2024-05-21
somethingnavy.com
GoDaddy 9 600 69 10 219 2010 48 2024-05-21
nzone.com
Backorder 7 354 1996 56 2024-05-22
voltra.com
Backorder 6 802 1997 3 2024-05-22
bedbug.com
GoDaddy 9 999 128 6 714 1998 27 2024-05-21
buddyloans.com
GoDaddy 6 605 43 5 943 2005 48 2024-05-21
bridgersteel.com
GoDaddy 3 931 146 4 040 2003 44 2024-05-21
assurances.com
Backorder 3 498 2000 17 2024-05-22
expono.com
Backorder 2 453 2004 38 2024-05-21
naturalcure.com
GoDaddy 3 350 68 2 319 2001 5 2024-05-21
  • newscafe.com
    GoDaddy
    2 000
    58
    36 680
    1996
    50
    2024-05-21
  • somethingnavy.com
    GoDaddy
    9 600
    69
    10 219
    2010
    48
    2024-05-21
    Screenshot
  • nzone.com
    Backorder
    7 354
    1996
    56
    2024-05-22
    Screenshot
  • voltra.com
    Backorder
    6 802
    1997
    3
    2024-05-22
  • bedbug.com
    GoDaddy
    9 999
    128
    6 714
    1998
    27
    2024-05-21
  • buddyloans.com
    GoDaddy
    6 605
    43
    5 943
    2005
    48
    2024-05-21
    Screenshot
  • bridgersteel.com
    GoDaddy
    3 931
    146
    4 040
    2003
    44
    2024-05-21
    Screenshot
  • assurances.com
    Backorder
    3 498
    2000
    17
    2024-05-22
  • expono.com
    Backorder
    2 453
    2004
    38
    2024-05-21
  • naturalcure.com
    GoDaddy
    3 350
    68
    2 319
    2001
    5
    2024-05-21
    Screenshot