Finding unused domains #tip

Searching for unused domains can bring some good finds and rewards, sometimes the domains are actually quite nice and generic, sometimes they have lots of age and old links and sometimes they have traffic, in the past I have found a domain bought it and bought the previous content and put sites back together.

When looking for unused domains you can search for standard template and placeholder text in the search engines, so your searching for things like:

“Under Construction. The site you are trying to view does not currently have a default page.”
“Directory Listing Denied”
“The requested object does exist on this server”
“Why is this page displayed?”
“domain login”
“does not exist”
“cannot be found”

You can get inventive and creative when trying to narrow down domains that are not properly parked or in use, for example if a domain name owner has name servers down for sedo or some registrars but don’t park the domain properly you get their standard text which shows a possible forgetfulness or possibly that the domain is neglected or forgotten about.

You can also find old websites that have stopped working through neglect using searches for typical ASP and PHP errors which can turn up some real gems!

About Scott Jones

Scott hails from the north east of Scotland and started earning online at the end of 2000 building websites for local businesses during which time he won an award from Lord Alan Sugar for Excellence in Enterprise. After having quite a bit of success with domaining Scott mainly runs educational evergreen websites which generate over 3 million visitors per month but is always on the lookout for a fresh thinking out of the box way to turn a buck. Follow on Twitter.

Comments

  1. Scott – that’s a good tip, thanks.

    You do have to remember of course that the site has to have been spidered by google and be in the index for it to work.

    And for fans of the song “Baker Street” ..I’ve just found the unused gerryrafferty.com

    John C’s last blog post..German Domain Portfolio Goes For Over $700K

  2. A great tip, but it seems hard to find. You will get a lot of underlying websites with these errors too.

    Denni Pultz Gottfredsen’s last blog post..Adventure Yacht Charters

  3. Very nice tip but it also reminds me to go through my own domain list, you know the long list of domains that you register and never get round to developing sites for.
    Does anyone else do this?

  4. How would you go about contacting the owner of a site which doesn’t have a website at all online anymore and the WHOIS info doesn’t include an email to contact them?

    I think I approached them about selling the site in the past, but it’s now been offline for a few weeks so not sure what’s goin on, and the domain still has months and months until it expires.

    Adam Dempsey’s last blog post..What Have I Been Doing?

  5. Use archive.org to see if there was a contact email or address listed on their old contact page and try those to get a response,email may still work even if the site is taken down, failing that do detective work on the owners name through social sites like flickr etc.

  6. Also check through adsense keyword tool – start at the top of the tree and work through the suggestions….

  7. That is an interesting way to do it Scott. I’m sure that through hard work there will be some gems but as Adam also says, it might be a time stealer to find contact emails that actually work.

  8. nice tips. but we also need to make sure that the domain does not have “bad things” in the past 🙂

    WatchUOnline’s last blog post..4th of july

  9. I think the idea is really beneficial. Thanks for sharing with us.

  10. Doesnt under construction site is just building its website and not really unused?

  11. In reference to:

    “You can also find old websites that have stopped working through neglect using searches for typical ASP and PHP errors which can turn up some real gems!”

    What are some typical ASP and PHP errors? Any examples?

    Chris Guthrie’s last blog post..Negotiate with Web Hosts

  12. Great idea! I was just randomly typing in cool URLS’s and the amount of them that are actually dormant is frightening. It is a simple matter to get hold of the owners and negotiate a possible deal.

  13. their old contact page and try those to get a response,email may still work even if the site is taken down, failing that do detective work on the owners name through social sites like flickr etc.

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