Buying parked domains is a bit of a black art. It’s often also a test of your detective skills. Plus you will need a dose of patience and some good negotiation skills. When you are buying a parked domain name, luck also plays its part.
So, how to buy parked domains?
Firstly you’ve got to find a parked domain before you can think of buying one. That’s fairly easy. Go to a service like NameBoy.com and type in a couple of your preferred keywords. This will bring up a list of all sorts of vaguely related domain names. NameBoy is good at thinking outside the box and will often come up with variants on a name that you’d never have considered before. I’ll leave it up to you as to whether this is a good or a bad thing but when I’m looking to buy a parked domain name, I find it a good place to start.
Then you need to start copying and pasting the domain names into your browser.
Some will come up as live domains, some will be clearly identified as parked domains and yet more will fall into a no-mans land. Kind of the scrap heap of the internet.
If the domain has a clear “for sale” sign on it then that’s good. Chances are there will be a link that allows you to contact the domain’s owner without falling foul of spam filters and you can open up negotiations. Start low and work upwards is a good technique. You may also find that it’s useful to ask what traffic the domain has had in the past and what sort of figure they would be looking at to sell.
A useful tool is archive.org. This allows you to go back in time and see what has (or more often, hasn’t) been done with the domain in the past.
Another useful site is domaintools.com which allows you to see the domain’s history. Things like previous owners, changes of name servers, etc.
All of these will give you clues that will help you to buy parked domains.
If the domain is clearly parked but doesn’t have a For Sale sign on it, you may need to do some detective work. A WhoIs service may tell you who the owner is. If it does, don’t be afraid to get on the phone and call the owner. Whilst phoning is old fashioned, you’ll know your enquiry got through and it may well be quicker and more reliable than email. If there isn’t a working phone number, try writing.
Why not just email the owner of the parked domain? Well, for starters, email is getting less reliable nowadays. Secondly, lots of newer domains have domain name guards to stop spammers so the WhoIs details may not have contactable details. Emails sent to info@ or webmaster@ may or may not get through. They’re worth a try, but don’t hold your breath.
At the end of the day, unless the parked domain is one that you absolutely must have, remember that there are often a number of choices that you can go through when you are looking to buy a parked domain. The domain name is only part of the equation. It’s what you do with the parked domain once you’ve bought it that really counts!