The buzz phrase for at least a year now in the world of SEO has been “aged domain”, with many savvy site builders embracing the power they come with. If done right they:
- Accelerate or even completely bypass the Google sandbox
- Give you access to backlinks website owners dream of
- Let you start off with a strong DR rating immediately
As this part of the SEO landscape grows with popularity so does the amount of aged domain marketplaces that have emerged in recent years. One of them – Juice Market – is led by an industry veteran of 12 years: Sean Markey.
In this review, we take an in-depth look at Juice Market and – along the way – we chat to Sean about his business, his background and why buying an aged domain in 2022 just makes a lot of business sense.
What Is Juice Market?
In Sean’s own words:
Juice Market is a marketplace for non-monetized content sites with juice and SERP traction, whose value is in not only starting off with a name that has previous SEO authority, but on a site that is built out, indexed, ranking for keywords, and has some trust with Google’s algorithmSean Markey
Who Owns Juice Market?
Juice Market is owned by Sean and An Ly.
To quote Sean he’s “spent the last 12 years learning SEO the hard way” and has flipped $1M+ dollars worth of websites in the last three years alone.
An Ly has extensive experience in coding with an impressive LinkedIn that mentions an MBA in Marketing management. At the start there was a third member of their team – Travis Jamison – who has since parted ways with the company.
Pros and Cons of Juice Market
1. Domain Rating
Let’s look at this with a hypothetical situation: if you were to take a selection of aged domains built in 2012 and then were to do the same with new websites built in February 2022 – you would find that, on average, the DR of the 2012 websites will win every time.
There are numerous case studies now online using aged domains from different vendors. Some of them have worked out that – after paying for the aged domain and dividing it by the number of backlinks it comes with – the cost per backlink can be much lower than acquiring them through guests posts or niche edits.
Given that some SEO marketplaces sell similar backlinks for $250 each – this is a phenomenal return on investment.
3. Skipping the Google sandbox
Getting traction with a website can take upto 18 months in the eyes of Google – this is sometimes referred to as The Google Sandbox. Even a seasoned SEO and website builder won’t get traction with a fresh domain in less than 6-8 months – and this is with backlink building included.
With an aged domain (as long as due diligence has been done) you can skip all of that and get straight into Google’s good books.
1. Likely Higher Pricing
A premium aged domain doesn’t come cheap – anything that has good to great SEO juice is likely to start at the $1,000 mark and beyond.
Most of the current YouTube public case studies with aged domains are using ones that cost at least $2,500. Indeed, there’s one domain for sale on Juice Market as of March 2022 with a price tag of over $60,000 (although, in this case, this site is currently earning $1,500 a month).
2. Limited Inventory
But limited only in the sense that – if you were to hunt expired/aged domains yourself – you would find a lot more of them with tools like SpamZilla. The thing is, using tools like this to find aged domain gems takes a lot of time and is definitely not a method useful to a beginner or even an intermediate in the industry.
Hunting down valuable aged domains is something that takes a great deal of experience, time and patience. And that’s before you get involved in potential bidding wars to secure the domain.
Finding Expired Domains vs Juice Market
In Sean’s own words:
“We’re working to create a place where sellers can post their domains that have a content site built on it, and consistently sell to a hungry audience. We don’t just sell expired domains. You can go and start reaching out to a bunch of abandoned sites to try and acquire them, or you can come to the marketplace where they are for sale.”Sean Markey
Juice Market vs SerpNames vs Odys
Previously, Juice Market was similar to both, but different, in that Juice Market was a marketplace model versus the other two. SerpNames and ODYS, at least in the past, acquired their own inventory and sold it at a markup (Sean: “there’s nothing wrong with that model. They are leveraging their knowledge and their funds to create an easy-to-use marketplace”).
Now, Juice Market specifically focuses not on domains, but domains with a site attached. Neither SerpNames nor ODYS currently offer this service.
Sean explains this further: “I’m not talking about a starter site with some rescued archive.org content, I’m talking like ‘this used to be a site but now it’s just for sale’ or ‘someone bought this as an expired domain, built a site on it, then gave up on the project and now it’s for sale”
How To Buy a Domain on Juice Market
Signing up is nice and straightforward on Juice Market. Immediately I liked the outlay and UX on this site.
You then get access to a nice and slick dashboard. What I liked about this was how intuitive it was to use – it was easy to toggle between different metrics. For each domain it shows: Ahrefs DR, Moz Da, Moz RD and Price – with a search function above all metrics.
The CBD industry is a highly lucrative niche when you get it right. See here for Juice Market’s Sean Markey and Mushfiq’s high level analysis of 130 Cannabis domains.
With that in mind I popped “CBD” into the search function and it came back with one result.
I was thinking “Why is the DR so high and the price (by comparison for a CBD site) so low?”. I found my answer with Sean’s refreshingly honest description when I clicked through for more information.
So a fair and honest “buyer beware” description there and a domain that’s definitely not for newbies.
Clicking through on a listing also lets you send the domain to any premium analytics tools you might have, including Ahrefs, Moz, and Majestic. There are also options to check the domain in Archive.org to see the website in previous incarnations and a tab to click through to the URL itself.
Again, this is another feature of an excellent user experience on Juice Market.
Finally, on this page, you can see the top follow links the domain has. Here’s some of them for this CBD domain.
How To Sell a Domain on Juice Market
Applying to sell a domain on Juice Market is also easy. I liked that – immediately – I could see how much commission they’d want for selling a domain I own. With some marketplaces, you sometimes need to dig through a few pages to find this information.
Here’s the easy application process in 4 steps:
It begins with giving you the option of selling a website and the domain or a domain on its own. You would choose the first option if you’re selling a content website making some money and the second one if you’re selling a domain only. .
I chose the “domain only” option.
You then choose what category your domain best fits into. Additionally, if you know them, you can add the Ahrefs DR, RD, number of keywords, and traffic of the domain. This will give your listing a better chance of attracting a potential buyer.
The next step is optional and involves any other details you think will add value to selling your domain. This could include information like:
- What was the site previously?
- Strong backlinks you want emphasized in your listing
- There’s boxes to tick specifically if your domain has .Gov and .Edu links. Both tend to be viewed very favorably by Google, so they’re worth spotlighting on your listing if you have them.
The final step is to confirm:
- That your domain not garbage
After this, Sean will get back to you to see if it’s a domain Juice Market would be interested in. If they are, it gets listed on their marketplace.
How Often Is The Inventory Updated on Juice Market?
Occasionally. When they have new inventory submitted that passes their internal standards it gets published to their marketplace.
What Payment Methods Are Accepted?
All transactions are processed via Dan.com escrow. Dan accepts: Visa, Mastercard, Paypal and Bitcoin
What Is The Domain Transfer Process with Juice Market?
It’s completely handled by Dan.com, a commonly used escrow service in the industry.
Sean is a big fan of the company: “Dan is one of the best user experiences in the industry, if not the best. They hold your hand the whole way through. It’s very easy to use and very safe“
Our In-Depth Interview with Juice Market founder, Sean Markey
I reached out to Sean with some questions about his company, his SEO history, and more. He got back to me with some great answers and industry insights.
How did you get interested in domain investing?
I got interested in domains when I started working for a local SEO agency that was investing heavily in PBNs. This was right around 2013 when a truly shitty PBN could really take you places. My boss would buy expiring domains by the hundreds and we’d build horrible WP sites on them with spun content.
Ever since then, I’ve been interested in expiring domains that have value–first just with lingering SEO authority, but increasingly I became fascinated by good brand names. I love to imagine what a domain could potentially be. They are like little blank canvas with some inspiring idea attached–based on what the word or phrase of the domain is.
Juice Market initially started because I had been writing about picking up expired domains in my email newsletter since April 2019, and I could see the prices of expiring domains with SEO value going for increasingly more money. My friend Travis and I decided to start a site where people that had domains with Juice could sell them to other people interested in acquiring them–skipping the grueling, shitty auction process that just served to get you emotionally involved and separate you from your money when you got into a bidding war with someone else.
So with our developer friend An Ly, we built a marketplace to try and provide a place to easily buy and sell domains with juice. It has, however, more recently transitioned to a market place that sells content sites: live sites with some blog posts, ranking for some keywords, (and with SEO value), but not really making any money. As we’ve operated, this has come to be a much more popular item than just the domains–and it’s something I feel strongly about. I love being able to acquire a site with some real momentum, but WITHOUT having to pay some increasingly high multiple like 50x just because they slapped some AMZ links on a blog post ranking for half-decent keywords. 🙂
What precisely are aged domains, and why are they so valuable?
Basically, if a domain was attached to a live site, and the site had a good life where someone took care of it, wrote good content, built and earned good links, and then expired, it’s potentially valuable to grab that domain and immediately put some WELL WRITTEN content back up, start building links and optimizing the site, the things it ranks for can come back quite quickly.
Contrast this with starting from scratch and waiting 18+ months for Google to trust your site and allow it to rank on page for relevant keywords. It’s like buying time, and trust.
What is it about strong domain names that makes them such a valuable digital asset?
There are several things, but as they relate to SEO especially, if you search for something like “which blender should I buy?”
You’re presented with a bunch of search results and you’re going to click on one of them… there’s a lot of things to consider… meta data, if it’s a known brand, etc.
But all else being equal, as a consumer, which brand sounds more trustworthy:
People will naturally gravitate to short, high-quality brands. It’s why they buy Baskin Robbins ice cream and not Milk Flavored Iced Dessert Product.
So when it comes to investing in domains–even if you buy something with NO SEO value, but it is a strong one-word domain, you can build a very trustworthy brand upon it that you wouldn’t be able to achieve with a longer, weaker brand.
What are the platforms you use for purchasing and selling domain names?
- GoDaddy has the biggest inventory of expiring domains with juice (and also just good brands).
- DropCatch is a distant, but clear second.
- Afternic has a lot of good names for sale at decent prices (for the name–you will not find a lot of cheap inventory there).
- Dan.com is the Shopify to GoDaddy’s Amazon, having a lot of individual sellers providing a lot of diverse inventory.
- Dan.com is also the new kid on the block, with a more modern UX, constantly innovating on the experience of buying and selling domain names.
Also, obviously, I’m looking at JuiceMarket.com to possibly find deals on names with a site attached–which is EVEN BETTER than just winning a domain name, because the site is built, the content is up already. Expired domains with juice is a head start on a hand reg, and a site like JuiceMarket.com is a head start on that.
What exactly is a “domain drop” and how important is it in your industry?
It’s when a domain name drops from the registry and all the big drop catching services to and catch it so they can auction it off. Sites like Namecheap and GoDaddy have their partner registries just push expiring inventory to their auction platform BEFORE it drops, which is genius and $$$.
Do you ever deal with platforms like Sedo, Afternic, and Dan.com?
Yes. Sedo has decent inventory but is generally very expensive. Afternic has the biggest inventory but using it feels like punching yourself in the face because it’s so dated and such a shit UX. Dan.com is a pleasure to use.
How has domain investment evolved over time?
I don’t buy a ton of domains for resell. I’m a builder, and I buy things I want to build on, or have a vision I’d like to build someday.
As for JuiceMarket.com, we’re purely a marketplace to allow others to buy/sell (though I have sold SEVERAL content sites there for a great price). We don’t hold any inventory–just sites that I had build in the past that I’m no longer using anymore is what I have sold on Juice.
Like I said, it has evolved as we saw the dominant thing being sold move from just names with juice to sites with content and rankings, but not valuable enough to sell on other marketplaces that cater to sites earning money. Originally we tried to appeal to domain investors that may have had some nice names in their portfolio with juice, but mostly this resulted in us just getting slammed with utterly shit domains that were for sale elsewhere as everyone just dumped their portfolio on us. With our recent pivot, things will be more curated.
Why is it so important to have a strong backlink profile in an aged domain?
I guess that’s kind of an obvious question. Strong backlink profile leads to quick results when building content. It’s a form of currency in the SERPs that equates to trust and rankings.
How does your company make sure an aged domain has a robust backlink profile?
We originally just allowed any name to be posted as long as it had a moderate authority score. Now, we are cleaning up the listings and making them more curated. The thing I’m looking for isn’t just a good backlink profile, but is the site indexed, is it ranking for keywords. Those are much harder to “fake” than just backlinks.
What are the dangers of purchasing a domain that has a bad backlink profile?
You can end up paying a lot of money for a site that will not perform well in the SERPs.
What has changed about your average customer over time?
Addressed above (people buying content sites vs. just strictly domains)
What variables influence how you price your aged domains?
Traffic and rankings are the most important thing I look for. If a site has a DR of 7 but it’s ranking for 1,000 keywords, I’ll take that all day over a DR 51 ranking for 0 keywords…
I don’t really have a strong metric to pin to price. Content sites with a decent backlink profile (full of relevant links, not just trash), indexed, ranking for some keywords is (depending on niche) worth at least low-four-figures, IMO.
Do you employ 301 redirects to maximize the power of a domain?
Sometimes. You gotta be smart about it. These days I only try and 301 established domains with solid rankings. Otherwise, you’re just spitting into the ocean–it doesn’t make a huge difference (not like it used to).
What does the future hold for domain investment?
Domain investing–for high quality one or two-word domains will only get more expensive, the names more desirable. That’s my opinion on that.
What would you say the top 3 benefits of Juice Market are?
- Save yourself time by buying a domain with traction and momentum
- Save yourself heartache by buying a site you know can rank, because it is
- Save yourself money by buying a live site with lots of content without paying some high multiple of some affiliate income
What is one thing the company can improve on?
We can improve: spending more time and attention marketing this business and getting more buyers. It has not been my main focus or business, still is a side hustle for now.
Costs Involved When Buying & Selling Domains
I wanted clarification on the 20% commission fee, so I reached out to Sean again. He got back to me – literally – within 2 minutes with a reply. This further cemented my thoughts that he’s someone who’s very passionate about the domain industry and his company.
If selling, the cost is 20% of the listing fee?
Sean: “Yes. 5% goes to Dan for their Escrow services, 15% goes to Juice for the marketplace services”.
If buying – what fees are involved for the buyer? Is it just Dan.com fees?
Sean: “None. Seller pays all fees (obviously there is the fee to transfer the domain to your registrar, but that’s not a fee that we charge”.
Is Juice Market Worth Trying Out?
I mean, what have you got to lose when the listing is free and you have a ready-made audience of buyers and sellers?
- The UX on the site is excellent
- The response time from Sean on any email queries is fast
- There’s a broad range of prices to suit all budgets. I found one as low as $120 and as high as $65,000
- You’re saving yourself a lot of time and effort with tools like SpamZilla
- There’s a refreshing “tell it like it is” description on each listing. If some of the backlinks look spammy, it’ll say so
- Unlike ODYS and other domain marketplaces, Juice Market sells domains with recurring revenue. In this sense, they’re blurring the lines between a premium domain marketplace and a website broker – something that’s quite unique in the industry.
Aged domains are very undervalued right now from an SEO point of view. They’re definitely not for newcomers to the industry, but once you’ve got your feet wet building a site or two from scratch you should seriously consider buying one.