When someone chooses to register a domain name they typically have the option to purchase it anywhere from 1–3 years. As the years expire, the owner of the domain name has the option of renewing it or just letting it expire. Most people typically renew their domain name because they have a web site located there. Many domain buyers purchase hundreds of domain names that they actually never use. They buy them because they think they might use them or because they might pay off in the future if someone else wishes to purchase it from them at a certain price. When you are searching for the right domain name and you may come across some are expired or soon to be expired. Logically, you may think that you just wait until the certain expiration date and pick it up for the low, low price of $8.95 or whatever the current registrar is charging. Unfortunately, there is more to it than that.
Instead of releasing the domain name to the public on the day that it expires, it goes into an “expired” status for 40 days. The domain name is shut off and is of no use to whoever originally registered it but the 40 days gives them time to re-register it without any further penalty. If the domain name is important to the owner, they won’t even let it get to this status. This is a good first sign that this domain won’t be renewed. If the domain name owner hasn’t renewed their domain name within 40 days, the domain name goes into a “redemption period”. The original domain name owner’s time is running out at this point. Their Whois information gets deleted and the site slowly becomes disassociated with the original owner. The original domain owner still has the option to renew their domain but now it will cost them around a $100 fee. At this point, the chances of someone renewing their domain are very slim. After the “redemption period” the domain name status changes to “locked” where all the information tied to the domain is basically deleted and the domain name is wiped clean. This phase only lasts 5 days and on the last day the domain name is completely removed from the ICANN database and is open for registration. The whole process takes about 75 days from the date of the actual expiration.
At this point, you may think that you can just log on to your favorite registrar and pick up the expired domain name. In some cases you may be able to, but if the domain name has a catchy name or is simple to remember, there may be many others just like you waiting for it to be released to the public. Some domain name buyers will continually check online to try to grab up the expired domain but this method usually proves ineffective. There are 3 major expired domain name firms that specialize in picking up expired domains for you. These services check the servers as often as they can without being banned trying to grab the expired domain name as soon as it is available. The three services are: Snapnames.com, Namejet.com and Pool.com.
Snapnames.com: Snapnames.com is one of the newest and they are popular amongst domain catcher services. They charge $69 for the domain name if they are able to snatch it up for you.
Namejet.com: Formerly known as Enom.com, they are competing for the top spot in expired domain buying firms. They too charge a $69 fee when buying a requested domain. Namejet.com will work great especially if the domain name you are targetting was originally registered with Network Solutions.
Pool.com: Pool.com is known as the most successful expired domain name buying company. Their services can also be a little tricky and confusing however. If Pool.com is able to pick up your long awaited domain, they charge you a $60 fee and enter you into Phase 1 of the purchasing process. Unfortunately, Phase 2 isn’t just putting in your credit card information. In Phase 1, you get three days to place another bid on the domain name to compete with other bidders. If your bid is one of the top two bids or within 30 percent of the top bid, you get a chance to bid against a small group of people for final control of the domain name. If you turn out to be the highest bidder, the domain is yours.
Buying an expired domain can be of great benefit to you. Many expired domains already have some ranking in the search engines and back links that will help you with search engine optimization. If there is an expiring domain out there that you can’t live without, try one or all of these 3 domain name buying firms. If you aren’t too sure about the domain or it is obscure enough that you don’t see a bidding war happening, try out one of the registrar’s backordering services which are typically cheaper and easier.