How to Find, Buy and Make Money from Expiring Domain Names
Some Basic Facts About the Domain Aftermarket
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September 16, 2008
for hosting, and after much deliberation, you've come up with the perfect
domain name for your business, but then someone mentions expired domain names,
and tells you that there's a name similar to yours, and maybe you should grab
it. But how does one register expired
A Brief Introduction to Domain
domain name expires, it is not immediately released. Instead, there is an
initial 40-day grace period during which the owner can renew. Domain names
renewed during this period do not cost the original owner any more than the
original registration, but the services for the domain are discontinued.
Visiting websites attached to expired domain names generally forces a redirect
to the existing registrar's homepage, but some registration services redirect
traffic to a "for sale" page instead.
existing owner does not pay their renewal fee, the domain name is put into a
"redemption period" status, which wipes the WhoIs information, but
does not actually release the domain for resale. At this point, the existing
owner must pay an extra fee to re-register their domain name. This fee varies from provider to provider,
but is generally around $150.
third stage before a new registrant can buy, expired domain names are put into
a "locked" status for about five days. This is the last period at
which a domain can be easily restored to the original owner.
the morning of day six (or day 76, if you are counting from the original
expiration) , generally around 6:30 AM, expired domain names are released in
large batches. At this point, they are available to anyone who wants to buy
them, just as if they were never in use.
Getting the Drop on the "Domain
people have been successful in contacting existing owners and asking to buy
expired domain names, so many registrars are masking customer information, and
so many registrants are lax about maintaining accurate information in their
WhoIs profitles, that the best solution is to backorder a domain from a
commercial registration service, or go to a "domain snatching company.
surface, it seems simple: place backorder requests with registrars, wait
seventy-five or so days, and then register expired domain names. The problem is, there's a period of about
three hours between the time that the domain names are deleted from VeriSign's (the company that oversees these things)
database and the time they're actually made available to those who want to buy
expired domain names, and while it's possible that your backorder is the first one placed, it is
equally possible that someone else's backorder was submitted first.
To help you
have a better chance to buy expired domain names, there are three major
"domain snatching" companies, all of which work aggressively during
the three-hour drop period.
an auction-type interface with both private (higher minimums) and public auctions.
It also has an expired domain search option and has exclusive partnership with
Network Solutions. Though it does require credit card information even to
search a name, but charges nothing unless your bid wins.
pre-release bidding, but requires login. Minimum bid for premium names is $30,
and bids increase by $5 until they exceed $100. The site also offers “reverse
auctions" which start at a specific dollar amount, which is reduced over
the course of three days.
keyword alerts as well as expired domain search options and is highly rated in Europe. The site lists about-to-expire names on their
front page and markets aggressively to domain name resellers and registrars, as
well the general public
interfaces are a little different, all three of these companies offer auctions
which require the client to have credit card information on file, as well as
the less active backorder option that most registrars offer. With backorders,
you agree to pay a flat fee, generally $19.95 or so, to wait for a name to
expire. You do not pay anything, however, unless your backorder is the first in
line when the domain is released.
auctions, there is also no fee unless you "win" the expired
domain, but you are actively bidding
against others, some of whom are professional resellers, for the right to
buy and register expired domain names.
While it is
true that resellers make a tidy profit buying and selling expired domain names,
the reality is that a single transaction can cost more than $350 (which
admittedly, is nothing, compared to the $150,000 that "business.com"
sold for in 2005, but still hefty for an individual) if the domain name is
auctioned, and you may not get to choose the company with which to register
expired domain names after purchase, as the terms of service for all of the big
domain name snatching companies are affiliated with one ( or more ) registrar.
These affiliations, in fact, are how they access lists of domain names about to
average business owner, then, buying expired domain names is not necessarily
the wisest choice.