Treasure Hunting: Deleted Domains
Treasure...just the word conjures up ideas of opening a chest buried under the sea for 200 years and having gold medallions and sparkling precious stones fall out. But while the analogy may be accurate in that hidden "treasure" domains may be just as hard to find as real life treasures, in reality these kinds of finds are more akin to the kind of treasures that archaeologists find.
Maybe first you find an interesting clay pot that could be valuable in the future, and later you discover an ancient piece of jewelry that could bring a small profit if you can find a buyer. But you keep searching for gold, even hoping to find King Tut. And you'll probably keep finding clay pots.
The dig itself is also very time consuming and requires tools, patience, and research. There are many websites with searches & lists of deleted domains - here are just a few:
Most of these websites require you to pay a subscription fee in order to access the full array of deleted domains and tools that they offer. Items such as an updated list of recently deleted "dictionary" words, searches of deleted domains by length as well as keyword, downloadable lists of 3 letter domains, etc.
But even access to all of this information won't tell you the potential value of different domain names, especially ones that aren't obvious at first glance. It is up to you to have an idea either of what kind of words you are going to search for (computer, adult, travel, etc) - or wait and see what catches your eye, and then do some research to see if the word or acronym might be worth acquiring. Especially important can be a knowledge of foreign languages - what sounds like jibberish in English could be a great phrase in another language. Recently I saw that Geld.com sold for around $20,000 - and I thought "what the heck - must be the name of some big company." In fact the word means MONEY in German. Ha - no wonder it sold for 20Gs.
You can find acronyms for businesses & global entities, ones that could command nice money, particularly in a .com ending. But unless you are already familiar with these terms, you'll have to look up potential buys 1 by 1. I usually Google terms that look catchy. For example, I saw B40.org on the deleted list - and thought "huh B40 sounds like something." Sure enough, it's everything from a motor to a typewriter ribbon to a communications receiver. And better yet, there are quite a few people paying for Google Adwords using this term. So I snapped it up. And I've noticed that this domain gets type-in traffic (people tying "B40.org" directly into their browser's internet address bar) every day. I don't know if I'll get a lot of money for this domain, but it definitely has some value. I passed on i-wagers.com, because I'm not all that fond of dashes. Might have been a mistake, as somebody else has already registered it.
You can also do a daily search for words in your given field. Some of mine are Spanish, language, & travel - so I'm always on the lookout for any expirations of good URLS that contain these themes. I try to be semi picky, because just like an archaelogist sifting through a ton of earth, I don't want to get stuck with just a bunch of rocks. But despite the long and arduous work required to sift through deleted domains, I'm sure that among my rocks will be at least a few sparklers.