How to Register an Expiring Domain

Understanding the process and options involved with registering an expiring domain can be a confusing task. How, Where, When?

This article will explain the basic steps to researching an expiring domain name, and the many different options (or should I say necessary steps to insure success).

    The normal domain expiration process for .com .net
(domain deletion cycle):

Phase 1. Active Domain

A domain is registered for a time period of 1-10 years. During this time the domain owner has unrestricted use of the domain.

Phase 2. On-Hold

At the end of this time period, the registrant is required to pay a renewal fee to the registrar to continue to use the domain. If the domain is renewed go back to phase 1, if not the domain is placed in an onhold (on-hold) status for 1-45 days (each registrar has determines how long this period lasts). During this time, the registrant (owner of the domain) can still pay the renewal fee and continue to use his/her domain name. During this onhold period the domain resolves to the registrars website or does not resolve at all.

Phase 3. Redemption

After the 1-45 day onhold period, the domain then enters redemption status (RGP - Redemption grace period), which lasts for 30 days. During this time the registrant of the domain name has the option to pay a redemption penalty fee (redemption fees generally cost between $100-200 depending on the registrar) and renew the domain. If the domain owner renews the domain go back to phase 1. During this redemption period the domain resolves to the registrars website or does not resolve at all.

Phase 4. Pending Delete

After the domain completes the 30 day redemption period without being renewed, it then enters a 5 day pending delete period. During this the time the registrant no longer has the ability to renew the domain name. The domain will be released to the general public and be available for registration on the sixth day at 2pm eastern.

(This drop process does not hold true for exclusive backorders)

Domains are an ever changing industry. Over the last 2 years, many things have changed including many variations of the domain deletion process. The above mentioned process is the norm, but every day more and more registrars are starting to have exclusive drops.

An example of an exclusive drop: A domain is registered with Network Solutions. The registrant fails to renew the domain within 60 days of the expiration date. The domain is then auctioned off at snapnames.com (a domain auction site).

Each registrar has their own time frame for exclusive drops. Current registrars that are participating in exclusive drops are: network solutions, godaddy, wild west domains, blue razor, bulk register, dotster, and enom. Domains registered at network solutions or bulk register must be backordered at snapnames. Domains registered at godaddy, wild west domains, or blue razor must be backordered at godaddy or a wild west reseller such as domainut.com. Domains registered at dotster must be backordered at namewinner Domains registered at enom must be backordered at club drop (if at least on backorder is placed at the above services the domain will stay with the original registrar, if no backorder is placed, the domain will follow the normal drop process) A backorder is the process of signing up at a drop catching service and making a request to be the next owner of a domain. The prices at each drop catch service vary. Pool.com - Backorders start at $60. Pool uses a pay for performance business model. If pool does not catch the domain when it expires then you are not charged. If you are the only person that backordered a domain and pool catches it, you are awarded the domain for $60. If the expired domain was backordered by more than one person, the domain is then up for private auction. People that backordered the domain prior to Pool catching it are only allowed to bid in the auction. The auction lasts for 3 days. SnapNames.com - Backorders start at $60. Snapnames uses a pay for performance business model. If Snapnames does not catch the domain when it expires then you are not charged. If you are the only person that backordered a domain and snapnames catches it, you are awarded the domain for $60. If the expired domain was backordered by more than one person, the domain is then up for private auction. People that backordered the domain prior to snapnames catching it are only allowed to bid in the auction. The auction lasts for 3 days. Enom Club Drop - Backorder start price is optional$10 or $30. Enom uses a pay for performance business model. If enom does not catch the domain when it expires then you are not charged. If you are the only person that backordered a domain for $10 the domain then goes to public auction, but if you backordered it for $30 or more and enom catches it, you are awarded the domain. If the expired domain was backordered for $30 or more by more than one person, the domain is then up for private auction. The auction lasts for 3 days. Namewinner.com - Backorders start at $30. Namewinner uses a pay for performance business model. If namewinner does not catch the domain when it expires then you are not charged. If you are the only person that backordered a domain and namewinner catches it, you are awarded the domain for $30. If the expired domain was backordered by more than one person, the domain is then up for private auction. People that backordered the domain prior to namewinner catching it are only allowed to bid in the auction. The auction lasts for 3 days. Godaddy.com or any Wild West Domains Reseller - $18.95 first come first served (only one person can place a backorder on any one expiring domain, if or when the domain expires and godaddy catches it, the backorder holder is awarded the domain.) It is always best to fully research an expiring domain name. There is no sure fire way of knowing if a domain will receive traffic, or how much a domain is worth. But by checking to see how many sites link to a domain (linkpop), how many people searched for the domain in the previous month (overture with extension), how many people searched for the terms that make up the domain in the previous month (overture without the extension), what the google pr is (google page rank), and what the domain was use for in the past (wayback archive), you can get a rough idea of how much traffic you should expect.

Once you have completely researched a domain, you should then decide if the domain is worth backordering at pool or snapname for $60, at enom or namewinner for $30, at godaddy or a wild west reseller for $18.95, or enom for $10. Remember to cover all your bases if an expiring domain is worth at least $60 to you, then backorder at all of the above services. If it is only worth $30, then backorder at any service that is $30 or cheaper (but remember someone else may backorder it at the $60 service, and then you have no chance at getting the expired domain, if you don't have a backorder placed at that service.)

For more tutorials and information by Sidney Parfait, owner of the best domain resources on the web (StartName.com ParkingIncome.com and DropWatch.com)

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