How to Snatch an Expiring Domain

I recently found myself in the position of wanting to register a domain which was owned by someone else. The domain was set to expire in a week, and I figured there was a decent chance that the person who owned it wouldn’t be renewing it. Upon consulting the WhoIs registry on the current owner, I discovered the guy was a bit of a domain shark and didn’t seem to be around anymore.

So I placed a backorder through GoDaddy for $18.95 thinking that was all I needed to do. During the week that followed, I learned a lot about the domain expiration process. Two and a half months and $369 later, I am the proud owner of a shiny new domain. A really really good one.

This article will explain the domain expiration process and what you need to do in order to use it to your advantage.

How a domain expires

Contrary to popular belief, domains do not expire when they say they do. If the owner of a domain does not renew by the expiration date of the domain, the domain goes into “expired” status. For 40 days, the domain is in a grace period where all services are shut off, but the domain owner may still renew the domain for a standard renewal fee. If a domain enters this period, it is a good first indicator that it may not be renewed, but since the owner can re-register without penalty, it can also just be a sign of laziness or procrastination.

After 40 days are up, the domain’s status changes to “redemption period”. During this phase, all WhoIs information begins disappearing, and more importantly, it now costs the owner an additional fee to re-activate and re-register the domain. The fee is currently around $100, depending on your registrar. When a domain enters its redemption period, it’s a good bet the owner has decided not to renew.

Finally, after the redemption period, the domain’s status will change to “locked” as it enters the deletion phase. The deletion phase is 5 days long, and on the last day between 11am and 2pm Pacific time, the name will officially drop from the ICANN database and will be available for registration by anybody.

The entire process ends exactly 75 days after the listed expiration date. For an even more detailed explanation, read the article Inside a Drop Catcher’s War Room.

Landing your domain

So if domains are available to the general public 75 days after they expire, how do you know your GoDaddy backorder isn’t one of many other backorders from other people using other services? The answer is, you don’t.

And thus begins the cloak-and-dagger game of “getting in on The Drop”.

“The Drop” is the unpredictable three hour period of time in which the domain is deleted from VeriSign’s database and released back into the ecosystem.

I briefly thought about trying to beat GoDaddy to the punch by manually registering my domain during the drop process, but I quickly found out that there are no fewer than three major services which specialize in pounding away on VeriSign’s servers during the drop period. With their considerable resources and my measly Powerbook, there was no way I could compete on their level.

So I decided to enlist the services of all three major domain snatching firms in hopes that a) one would grab my domain for me, and b) no one else would be competing against me.

The three services —,, and — all operate in a similar manner. They use a network of registrars to hit the Verisign servers at frequent intervals (but not too frequent to get banned) and snatch as many requested names as possible. If you don’t get your name, you don’t pay. But that’s where the three services begin to differ. (the exclusive partner of Network Solutions) charges you $60 for your domain unless there are multiple suitors, at which point there is an open bid auction between suitors. Seems fair enough. Snapnames is a bit of a newcomer to the game, but with their Network Solutions affiliation, they are said to be improving their success rates.

Not wanting to chance it with only one company, I also enlisted Enom to snatch my domain for me. Enom had reportedly been improving their “Club Drop” service for a year or two and it was now considered one of the top three. Their fee was only $30 and they are based in my ‘hood (Seattle), so I was hoping they would be the company to successfully “work The Drop” for me.

Here’s where it starts to get sketchy though.

Enom claims that the higher your bid is (beyond the $30), the more “resources” they will dedicate to grabbing the domain. What the hell? How am I supposed to judge that? Does that mean you’re using one server now and will use 30 servers if I bid $40? Or does it mean that you’re using 30 now and will use 35 if I bid $1000?

Not knowing exactly what to do, I attempted to bid a couple of hundred dollars during the last day, but Enom required me to send them a fax to become a “verified bidder”. Since I was at home that day and only dinosaurs still have fax machines, I was unable to increase my bid. Oh well, I thought, if someone else on Enom bids higher, at least I’ll be able to participate in the auction. is the Scott Boras of domain name grabbing — the brilliant, yet conniving agent that players (domains) love and team owners (prospective domain buyers) hate. Pool plays off the power of the unknown in such a fiendishly clever way that you don’t know whether to hug them or kill them. Here’s how it works:

Pool is the #1 company around as far as number of servers and success rates go. You place your original bid for $60 and if grabs your name for you, they send you an e-mail telling you they’ve been successful and that you’ve now entered “Phase 1″ of the two-phase auction system. This is the case whether or not you are the only bidder! doesn’t even reveal how many bidders there are.

Then, in a Boras-like move of diabolical genius, informs you that you have three days to place a new sealed bid. If the bid is either one of the top two bids or within 30% of the top bid, you move on to a one-day open bid auction (the “challenger” auction) for final control of the domain.


So if I bid $100 and two people bid $140, I don’t even get to move on to the final auction! It’s all designed to get me to up my sealed bid… whether or not there are even any other bidders.

Note: One other thing I forgot to mention is that before the name dropped, I grabbed all .net, .org, and .info variants (all were available) in order to have more leverage over other buyers.

The chase is on

Right on time, 75 days after the domain expired, I got an e-mail from telling me they’d secured my domain for me. Great. Of the four sources I used, was the one I least wanted to deal with. But true to their claims, they ended up being the best agent of The Drop and had just gotten me one step closer to my domain. They had A-Rod and I was the Texas Rangers.

Unlike the Texas Rangers, however, I realized I could be bidding against myself and entered a sealed bid of $302. I chose that number because it seemed sufficiently high but not so high that I’d feel foolish if I was the only bidder. I added the extra two dollars on the end just to edge out any other people potentially deciding on $300 as their number.

The next three days were particularly stressful. I had no idea where I stood, and throughout this entire process, I’d always had the sneaking suspicion that the people at these companies are on the lookout themselves for valuable domains. In other words, if someone all of a sudden bids $1000 on a domain, will a domain company decide to snatch it up themselves or “shill bid” against you on it?

Finally the e-mail from Pool arrived and informed me that I had moved onto the Challenger Auction. There was one other bidder and they had upped their bid to $312 in order to beat me. Not too bad, but I had no idea how high that person was willing to go. I had to decide on a top bid (a la eBay’s proxy bidding) and a strategy for when to place it.

True to form,’s auction system squeezes even more money out of you by making sure the auction doesn’t end if there’s a bid in the last five minutes. In that case, the auction time keeps extending by five minutes until there are no more bids.

I could try one of two things: Bid high and bid early in an attempt to scare off the other guy, or lull the other guy to sleep by doing nothing until the last 6 minutes. I chose the second method since the ending time was 8am on a Saturday… a time when many people are not in front of computers. I set four alarms for 7:45am Saturday morning, woke up on time, and placed my bid for $500 when the countdown clock hit 6 minutes.

The system immediately auto-upped the current bid to $369 and I was the leader. Six nervous minutes, fifty browser refreshes, and a thousand heartbeats later, my opponent was nowhere to be found and the domain was mine… ready for immediate transfer to Dreamhost, my hosting company of choice.

I’m still not quite sure whether the person on the other end was real (although I assume they were), but the bottom line is that by playing every possible angle, I now have an extremely valuable domain in my possession for the reasonable sum of $369. Not valuable because I want to sell it or anything; just valuable because I want it.

Thank you I love/hate you.

Lessons from The Drop

Hopefully this article helps you in your own quest for a domain that may be expiring. My best advice is that if your interest in a domain name is only lukewarm, go ahead and use a basic service like GoDaddy, but if you really don’t want to let one get away, you must enlist the services of the big three: Snapnames, Enom, and Pool. It’s anybody’s guess what the final price will be, but by getting all the best agents out there working for you, you ensure at least being in the game.

UPDATE: Both Mason Cole of Snapnames and Chris Ambler of Enom have written in to clarify a few points which I’d like to post here —
  • Snapnames has an exclusive partnership with Network Solutions which allows them first shot at any and all expiring domains that are currently held by Network Solutions. The domain I got was not held by Network Solutions but a great many are. If yours is, Snapnames is your best bet. You’ll still have to bid against any others who may be after the same domain, but the auction process at Snapnames is pretty fair and straightforward. If you are the only bidder, it will cost you a flat fee of $60. Not bad.
  • Snapnames is actually not technically a newcomer to the game, but their exclusive deal with Network Solutions is fairly new and it is that which has made them a powerhouse.
  • According to Chris at Enom, some less than savory registrars have been known to actually cut the initial 40 day grace period down manually with the intent of repossessing the domain for resale. While this is technically against ICANN guidelines, ICANN has a hard time enforcing its rules on registrars, so just beware when watching for a domain that it may enter the redemption period quicker than you expect. It’s rare, but it can happen, especially with a non-established registrar. This could shrink the 75-day window down to potentially 35 days, and it could also screw you out of your own domain should it expire on you.
  • Chris also confirmed my suspicion that manually trying to snag a domain during the drop is all but impossible if any professional drop catchers are going after it. Enom, Pool, and others have many orders of magnitude times the amount of resources that private citizens have so it’s not even worth trying unless you’re going after an uncontested domain.
  • There is a very sticky issue going on right now with regards to how names drop. Verisign proposed a Waiting List Service a little while ago that basically let you sign up on a waiting list for all expiring domains. It was a flat-rate, first-come-first-serve service where the fees were reasonable but Verisign controlled the whole thing. This would basically eliminate The Drop entirely. Companies filed lawsuits and the thing never happened. So basically, registrars got proactive and amended their agreements so that when your domain expires, they can repossess it themselves or sell it as their own. This is what allows Network Solutions, GoDaddy, Tucows, and others to repossess their own domains and use their own services (like Snapnames) to auction them off. An argument can be made that by eliminating the ICANN-mandated redemption grace period, these companies are in violation of their ICANN agreements, but thus far ICANN has been reluctant to take action. It appears ICANN is generally very slow at taking action with anything, so it looks like this sort of practice may become a de-facto standard. The moral of the story is that you should always look to see what registrar the domain you’re after is under and see if they offer exclusive backorder rights to it. Network Solutions does, GoDaddy does, Tucows is starting to, and others may follow suit.
UPDATE #2: The story can now be told. The domain is
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970 Responses:

  1. Aaron says:

    Interesting story…

    And I guess I’ll ask the question everyone will want to know at this point – what’s the domain name (although I’m assuming if you wanted to share you would have)?

    (Editor’s Note: Unfortunately yes. It must remain a mystery for now :)…)

  2. amydot says:

    Thanks for that article, Mike! Ironically, I was just wondering this weekend what it would take to snatch up a domain that expires, as I am impatiently waiting through the next two months to see if one that I’ve had my eye on for several years will be renewed…

  3. Don says:

    Fascinating. My next move would be to consult my friend who is a class action attorney. If in fact there was any shill bidding, you might have a decent case. If they did it to you, they did it to others, and they would deserve a bit of a poke for it. They probably have a subsidiary that bids on all open names. The ethics of this would be a fun study.

    (Editor’s Note: Yeah, I’d say it was more of just a general feeling of being taken than any foul play, but who knows. On the one hand, I have a crazy amount of respect for a bidding scheme which produces such results, but on the other hand, you just kind of feel a bit powerless and in the dark the whole time.)

  4. Great story! I’ve been wondering a lot about this proccess for some time now. Great to hear from someone thats done it!

  5. Vladimir says:

    Fascinating story. I’ve never actually looked into the process before. Whenever I try to get a domain, I don’t even bother with trying to grab a domain currently in use, so I end up finding an alternative. I lack the patience and monetary support to go after high value domains, unfortunately.

    And what a secret your new domain is. The anticipation is killing me!

  6. I too wanted to boost an expired dinosaur domain and asked the manager of my server to see if he could get it for me. His response was: “What typically happens these days is the registrars have relationships with auction houses and transfer the domains to them… It’s pretty rare when they just get dropped for anyone to register them now.”

    True to what he said, at the last minute the domain was re-registered.

  7. Tomas says:

    Great story, and I’m really looking forward to learning what domain name is worth $369. ;-)

  8. Scott says:

    I’m curious as well. I hope that when you’re ready you’ll post an entry with a link to the site, and back to this entry so we can remember how you got there. Congratulations.

  9. Mike P. says:

    Heh – been thru this myself, great fun, especially after setting up the site and finding out that Google had the domain penalized from the previous owner…

    One year (and many reinclusion requests) later and it’s getting traffic. Yay.

    There are some tricks to avoiding this whole process too, but they don’t get around the google trap…

  10. Matthom says:

    The domain name that Mike secured is irrevelant.

    This article is well-written and very informative. I also like the baseball analogies – Scott Boras, Alex Rodriguez, and the Texas Rangers. PERFECT visuals. It really helps picture your story better.

  11. Don says:

    I missed it the first time around:

    “This article is well-written and very informative. I also like the baseball analogies – Scott Boras, Alex Rodriguez, and the Texas Rangers. PERFECT visuals. It really helps picture your story better.” said Mike P.

    He’s right, Mike Industries made a mistake, he forgot to use steroids to get an advantage. Remember Mike, you are just an entertainer.

    for example.

  12. “This article is well-written and very informative. I also like the baseball analogies – Scott Boras, Alex Rodriguez, and the Texas Rangers. PERFECT visuals. It really helps picture your story better.” said Mike P.

    Actually, Matthom said that, and I have to agree with him, it’s a great read.

  13. Cap'n Ken says:

    Excellent piece of first-hand how-to. But man, this whole process seems shady as hades.

    And, yes, my curiosity is up wanting to know what this domain is! I demand a sequel!

  14. Both educational and a thrilling read. Thanks!

  15. mix says:

    i must say i do hate those “cliff-hanger” endings.

    but definitely a good read.

  16. Jeff says:

    Great article! I linked it in our forum at

  17. Frolic says:

    Interesting article. Now I understand how those bastards at stole my domain after my hosting service when under. What I don’t understand is what is at the new domain. It looks like a page of spam. Check it out at I guess it’s better than my old blog being replaced with porn, although that might happen yet.

  18. Alan says:

    Enom’s involvement here doesn’t surprise me, they’re know for housing all kinds of shady operators.

    Great article. Thanks for shining a flashlight into the dark musty corners of the internet.

  19. Ulrich says:

    Another great service if you intent to acquire a domain name which is already registered and not going to be expire in the near future is a domain name brokerage service from a company called
    After paying 49$ for a quite profound domain valuation that gives you the idea of the domain’s fair market value, they try to acquire the domain from the current owner on your behalf.

    Works great, I already had success with it…

  20. jake says:

    I’m glad you got your domain Mike. I’ve had two less successful experiences with domain registering.

    One was where I was using a simple word and couldn’t get that as the domain. Initially it was owned by some random company in England, and instead of dealing with them I just got something else and forgot about it. A couple years later I checked it out again, then it was owned by a smallish ISP/hosting company. Fast forward again and that company was bought out by a much larger company. And now they just use it to redirect to their main site. Even though they have 0 affiliation with the domain name anymore. I tried contacting them, but their IT dept. said they had 0 interest in selling it.

    The other one was where I ended up with a .net instead of .com. The .com is owned by a spammer as far as I can tell. Just directs you to some shifty search page. I saw it wasn’t getting renewed but naturally it got snapped up just before it was put into the first “expired” status.

    I pretty much despise the current system where automated bots can register domains for spammers and stuff. Maybe we should all start to ignore .com for a while. ;)

  21. Mark Kerr says:

    Excellent story, I just wonder if the domain was genuinely one that these firms would have been watching for, or were they only alerted to it by your registering to grab it – in other words, if you had been brave/reckless enough, could you have waited the extra few hours and gone through a ‘normal’ domain registration service? Or if you had ONLY used GoDaddy, might the others not have bid?

    Like you say, it has value because you wanted it, so as long as you’re happy that is all that matters, but if you were determined to just pay the minimum might you have got away with it? Of course if it was a single term high value name, they’d maybe have snatched it away anyway… and no way to find out.

    Interesting case study for brand and risk management as it applies to domains!

  22. Sandra says:

    I had a good experience acquiring a domain name through a Snapnames auction. It’s very similar to eBay, where you see the bidders “names” and have a sense of how/when they are bidding. I located the domain I bought by browsing through Snapnames’ l o n g list of soon-to-expire domains and putting a few on backorder. The whole process took less than a month.

  23. Ro says:

    I’ve been enjoying the comments you leave on other sites for some time now. Through natural course of action, I found myself perusing your site, and eventually checking back from time to time.

    I’m glad I did.

    Your writing is great. It is this type of quality posting that raises the bar for everyone else. Consider me a fan!

  24. Steve says:

    Good story, but it does really make me want to know what the URL is that you bid for.

    The whole bidding process seems really shady. Who knows if just took you for a ride. Ohwell.

  25. After you get your new site up, be sure to send an email to with the subject “reinclusion request”

    Otherwise, if the domain has inbound links from its previous incarnation, you are going to find that it will not get indexed by Google – part of their fight against SEOs who used expired domains with pre-existing pagerank and links to fill the results thousands of affiliate sites.

  26. hanren says:

    Great Story!!

    I don’t know how good a domain worth $369 is.
    but on one guess … you could be off with godaddy
    if you hadnot used the services of big3 …
    many domain names expire everyday they wouldn’t know
    which to snap up

    ….. but then..we wouldn’t know who’s the best among them then……thanks great story

  27. Andy says:

    I realize that a great domain name can be a helpful marketing tool. Just as catchy phone numbers can help out John Q. Customer, such as 1-888-Best-Buy, domain names have the same power. Yet, I also believe that in coming years having a domain name that matches the company or site name will be a luxury. I tend to place less emphasis on the perfect domain name; as long as the name is easy to remember and it relates to the site itself, I say you have a winner.

  28. Scott M. says:

    Nice info – thanks. I’ve been waiting for years to register a domain that I barely missed registering (my name). It was snatched up by someone in Korea and then fell off the map. It’s never been active (at least as a Web site) and only one WHOIS server even reports that it’s registered ( That whois reports that it’s parked at and the status has been REGISTRAR-HOLD for years. I continue to call every 6 months (I have many domains registered with them) but they continually give me the run around. The funny thing is that the domain doesn’t even show up when I run the WHOIS at’s site.

    Can a registrar keep a domain on HOLD indefinitely?

  29. This was really insightfull Mike. Thanks.

  30. four says:

    This may have been mentioned, but I think this is important. I work for a
    domain registrar and know that ordering a backorder that is already registered through the same registrar that you purchase the backorder from GUARANTEES that the domain is yours (assuming of course, that the domain is not renewed or redeemed by the current owner.

  31. Mike D. says:

    four: I’m pretty sure that is not the case… at least with some registrars. The domain I got was previously registered by and I backordered through No dice. Enom failed at retrieving their own domain. got it.

  32. four says:

    OK. I read through the legal agreements and could not find support for my argument. I work for godaddy (online tech support). I have been with them for about 6 months and know that we will guarantee that the backorder will be successful if the domain is already registered with us. This may not be the case with other registrars.

    Also, I guess this is a (fairly) new policy (maybe since DEC04) based on a change in ICANN policy. I dont know what other registrars do, but have heard (from godaddy) that they are following suit as well.

  33. Marty says:

    I wish I made a point to remember the exact details.

    A freind got lazy with his website, for the business he was starting. Pretty sure he said “it ran out this week”.

    The reason we spoke of it was an e-mail he got from a stranger in Asia … selling him his own web site name for $500.00.

    Guess he got burned.

    For the Canadians, what’s an A-Rod? Is that better than a team of Chuck Norris guys? The way ‘Texas Rangers’ are described it seems so, but I never watched that show.

  34. Frolic says:

    Four, I’ll have to take issue with what you said. My bloghosting service ( registered and owned my old domain through GoDaddy. When they went under, I placed a backorder with GoDaddy. It failed to capture the name and GoDaddy said that there were no refunds.

    I’m also certain that this happened after DecO4.

    Not that I have a complaint with GoDaddy. I registered my new domain with them and have been very happy with the service.

  35. Don says:

    Hi Four,

    Careful we don’t mention you in the same breath as Mark Jen and the Stewardess :-) Perhaps Bob Parsons could clear things up about GoDaddy’s stance over on his blog, you might suggest it to him.

    I have a pending backorder with Godaddy as we speak. The domain was renewed. If I understood correctly, if after waiting a while this domain does not come available, I can switch and register a different domain name for $18.95 fee I paid, meaning that the cost to backorder is really only $10.

    What Godaddy didn’t do was tell me if others were in line in front of me. It seems to me you could have 20 people backorder the same name. I don’t know if I am number one or number 20. And if in fact this backorder thing with the same register works, may in fact backorder it as soon as they decide it has value, knowing that for the $10 investment they can extract several hundred from a guy like Mike, and perhaps several thousand for other names.

  36. Mike D. says:

    Don: If you successfully entered your backorder through GoDaddy it means you are the only person to backorder through GoDaddy. They don’t accept multiple backorders on names. Search for the name on GoDaddy and you’ll see that the “Backorder Now!” option is no longer available. This is good, but as I spelled out in the article, don’t let it lead you to believe that GoDaddy will definitely be successful at grabbing it. If someone else has gone through Pool, Enom, or Snapnames, chances are you won’t get it.

    Four: It would definitely seem like good policy for companies to do as you say (offer their expiring domains with 100% certainty through their own backordering services) but from what I understand there are certain ICANN rules which must be followed. Some of the rules, as I understand it, say that a registrar is not the “backup owner” of a domain. Meaning, if a person lets a domain expire, their registrar does not then get to decide if they want to keep it and re-auction or repossess it. They must go through protocol and release it the standard way. I do, however, think that registrars probably break this rule quite often. I think one commenter above pointed to a situation where someone had put a “registrar lock” on a domain for quite some time… this would probably be against the rules. And finally, I think you’re probably right in that if a domain is registered by GoDaddy and you try to backorder through GoDaddy, you may have a slightly greater chance than you otherwise would, but unless they have documentation stating otherwise, I don’t think it’s a slam dunk. If you can provide wording to the contrary, please post it… would love to know.

  37. I was wondering where all the hits were coming from! I figured someone had republished the link to that article about me :-)

    I point out that there are a number of issues that you’re not quite 100% correct on – and some questions you ask that I could answer.

    If you’re interested, of course.

  38. skomes says:

    Nice post, interesting. Now…to wait for yahoo to slip up…

  39. four says:

    OK. Im fairly new to this and checked with some people at work. This is how I understand it.

    First of all, Mike is right about Godaddy allowing only one backorder per domain.

    Apparently if you place a backorder on a domain PRIOR to its entering the REDEMPTION period and the domain is not renewed, you will get the domain. Once the backorder is placed, a “mock-redemption” period ois created and the domain is not released to the registry (becasue it doesnt need to be as the domain will either be redeemed by the current registrant or captured by the backorder). Therefore, there really is no way (barring some kind of fluke or mistake) that the domain could be snatched up by another individual or registrar.

    disclaimer and correction to cover myself:

    1. Godaddy does not officially guarantee any backorders
    2. I am not an official spokesperson for Godaddy and was just trying to shed some light on this often misinterpretted and confusing subject.

  40. Greetings Mike:

    Mason Cole here with SnapNames.

    Very good article. You’ve captured a lot of what consumers think about the “drop-catching” industry. Back when Al Gore invented the Internet, he had a chance to make this a non-issue, but everyone was too busy thinking about just getting online and didn’t spend time creating a smooth, orderly domain name “redistribution” process. That is what gave rise to services like ours.

    First, a couple of minor corrections: We’re not owned by Network Solutions. They ARE one of our partners — in fact, we have an exclusive relationship that allows only SnapNames customers first access to expiring NetSol domains. So if there’s a good Network Solutions name you want, check our site first. Same with BulkRegister names and a couple of other registrars that will be signing on with us shortly.

    SnapNames actually was the first in the market. We launched our system in 2000.

    You’re right about how hard it is for customers to understand and use this “system.” It’s not much of a system — you either have to know how to chase a name yourself, which is pretty unlikely, or use our service or a combination of us and others. We’ve been trying to work with ICANN and others on a predictable, orderly and centralized system that everyone can understand and use on an equal footing, but dealing with ICANN and its participants is not always productive.

    Until we can get ultimate resolution, we’re at least trying to add some predictability with these partnerships. If you put in a “backorder” with us, and it’s for a Network Solutions or BulkRegister name, you’re guaranteed to have a shot at it if the current registrant doesn’t renew. There’s no cost to put in a backorder, and if you’re the only one interested in the name, it’s yours for $60 upon fulfillment. If others want it too, we auction it among interested parties.

    In our auction process, we avoid the kind of frustrations or suspicions you experienced. We want you to have as much transparency into the auction process as you can, and shill bidding is never allowed. There are rumors from time to time that shill bidding exists in our industry, but I hope that’s not the case — for our part, we won’t tolerate it.

    I hope that’s useful information on how the process works, at least on our side. If you or anyone else have questions, I’m glad to answer them.

    Best of luck.

    (Editor’s Note: Thanks for posting, Mason. Great information. I’ve amended the statement about your affiliation with Network Solutions in the article, and I appreciate the insightful post. I agree that SnapNames seemed like a very straightforward and transparent process… I just wish they were able to grab the name.)

  41. Milo says:

    Scott, Comment #28,

    REGISTRAR-HOLD usually mean the domain is in dispute, and will not be released until resolved.

    I’ve been working in the Registrar industry now for about 5 years, and there are different rules for each gTLD and ccTLD.

    Mail me your questioned domain, i’ll look into it…


  42. Siddique says:

    Must say that it was very well spelt out.

    In my case I had to wait until the dam ‘Cyber-Squatters’ moved on.. For me to get the last two url’s extensions, have a nice site that list’s first on most major search engines.

    Just got to finish my studies then take the project live, into the commerical world.

  43. Pran says:

    Very good information.

  44. phill says:

    As Mason pointed out, snapnames was the first on the scene. Pool has a lot of relationships with many foreign registrars to catch drops, and that is how they do so well.

    This whole process represents a weakness, not a strength to the domain name registration system. ICANN is a largely ineffectual organization that needs to be done away with.

    I actually have respect for the guys at snapnames. I however do not respect pool one bit for their entirely “closed” process that allows them to shill whenever they feel the need.

    In fact, I have witnessed personally one high value name that they caught that _never_ went to auction. Seeing them breaking their own rules (if they have any) is enough to beware of”dirty pool” to me. They have lost me as a customer with the “two phase” nonsense that was implemented.

    I know that they have already heard these complaints before, and it is indeed ripe for an attorney make them feel some pain.

    I only found this blog because I was searching for “pool” and “shill” to see what the latest with them was.

  45. Another Concerned Citizen says:

    Hey Mason from SnapNames: thanks for the information… but it’s a shame you had to taint it with that old lie about Al Gore and the internet.

  46. mrkiasu says:

    Very useful to me, read the excerpt. Will come back to read the whole post later.

  47. Brade says:

    Interesting, but you do realize that your reluctance to divulge the URL makes it seem as though you’ve registered something like

  48. The drop game is an ever evolving beast, and the top catcher today may not be the best tomorrow. Snapnames about 2 years ago grabbed almost every valuable expiring domain. At that time it was a $60 first come first served business model. But many things have changed during this time, and it is crucial for anyone interested in aquiring a specific domain to cover all bases and use all of the above mentioned services (Pool, Snapnames, Enom, Godaddy or a godaddy reseller) and also a few more (, depending on the extension of the domain.

    The title of best drop catcher changes frequently because of the hundreds of registrars involved. And almost daily, a few registrars change their alliances, and work for a different service. The more registrars working for a drop service, the better the chances of them aquiring the domain you want. There are many tricks, techniques, and formulas for estimating what you should bid, but these are secrets seldom revealed.

    People that are trying to aquire expiring domains often do much research into the past uses of the domain, weather it has linkpop (links from other websites), how popular the sites are that link to it, how many people searched for the domain or words that compile the domain in the previous month, weather a domain is listed in yahoo or dmoz, and what Page Rank the domain may have. I have even created an automated site that compiles all of this data and more, Because there are still thousands of people chasing domains that do not understand the value of the domain they are after, or the traffic it may have.

    Just like there are numerous companies that chase domains, there are also numerous companies that provide domain owners with a way to monetize these domains until they are developed. Most expired domains, have very targetted inherent visitors, looking for specific items, and these services (Domains Sponsor, Fabulous, Sedo, Afternic, Domain Hop, Trafficz) all provide a way to get paid by advertisers that are looking for their products. The domain owner is paid for each click that a visitor makes to see one of these sites. (see for more info)

    With the increasing dollar amounts willing to be paid by these advertisers (through the Pay Per Click Search Engines), this is what is driving the value of expiring domains up. So if you are interested in a specific domain, use all of the above mentioned services, but be prepared to spend some serious cash if the domain (or traffic accompanying it) looks valuable.

    (Editor’s Note: Wow, that is the most comment-spam-looking piece of non-comment-spam I’ve ever seen. :) Nice info… thanks for posting.)

  49. Zeek says:

    Excellent BLOG. When I’m ready to start this process, I’ll be back here refreshing myself on the inside scoop of this shady process.

    Actually I was just looking for a list of unregistered 4 letter domains and ended up here. Still haven’t found that yet, though I saw one link to a guy who sells a list for $4. Seems like there would be a place to go to find that information quickly.

    Thanks Mike and Mason, for making this read a productive and useful one.

  50. Great article Mike! Kept me glued to the screen like a good movie, I usually just print and read articles later. When are you going to reveal the name?

  51. PS. This is a great blogg, no user name, no password, no registration and no email confimation and loggin! I love it! How did you get this done? Any articles or instructions you can reffer me to?

  52. Chinaman says:

    Nice blog, very useful information. I once tried to get an expiring domain myself. Spent several hours on the Godaddy website using a crappy connection. After about 100 refreshes I was thrilled, I got it, the system said. It was a shortlived joy. I received an email that it was not mine after all. Why, I still don’t know. The original owner kept it.
    The post of “Expired domains” is definitely comment-spam in a very smart way. I checked out the website and not being “prepared to spend some serious cash” I noticed I won’t even see any info on whatever domains:)

  53. johnny says:

    Nice information.

    I did try to grab some expired domains myself using the deletedomain list but it seems that it is impossible to get those that were previously registered with Enom and GoDaddy. That is why I only keep track of domain names that were not registered with them.

    Didn’t know that there are varying drop time too, as I normally try to register the domain name during the 6am gold rush period which is 6.45 pm our time.

    Strangely, the .org .biz names are easier to get even though it may have alot of links. Anyone knows the reason?

    Also even though country level domain names may be more expensive, it would be more worthwhile because it preserve its pagerank when expired unlike the .com and .net names.

  54. Johnny,
    The releasing registrar has little to do with your chances of aquiring an expiring domain during the normal drop process. That being said, as I mentioned previously the “Drop Game” is an ever evolving beast, and changes each day. Since Netsol and Bulk Register, starting working with Snapnames, Dotster with Namewinner, and Godaddy and it’s resellers, to have exclusive drops circumventing the normal drop process, the initial registrar has a lot to do with where you can win the domain. On exclusive drops domains can only be won, or bid on at the drop partner site of that registrar. There are still hundreds of registrars that follow the normal drop process, making it necessary to place an order at all dropcatchers, but I foresee this all changing within the next 3-4 months. Soon all registrars IMHO will be participating in exclusive drops, either for themselves or partnered with snapnames, or another drop partner.

    And Mike thanks (I think), I love to educate people on domains because it is such a fun business, but at the same time am always looking to benefit from sharing when possible.

  55. Great article!
    I really hope some conformity comes to this industry. Having to back-order through several companies is a pain. It’s like the wild west out there in this expired domains game.

  56. Milo says:

    Strangely, the .org .biz names are easier to get even though it may have alot of links. Anyone knows the reason?

    .org .biz (and .info, .us) are known as “thick” registries. When a domain is puchased, or whois info modified the database they provide (whois) is directly updated in real time. Thefore lapse information is more accurate and purchasing more secure. Nothing is more problematic for a registrar when they take an order for a domain they think is avaliable, and fail to secure it.

    I really hope some conformity comes to this industry. Having to back-order through several companies is a pain. It’s like the wild west out there in this expired domains game.

    The industry has got 100% better since the dark days of 90s, where a .com would cost £75 ($130) and avaliable via fax only. When new registries are launched, there are tight rules regarding trademark, patents, sunrise and landrush. Basically, if you really really want and domain in a new registry, then you need the trademark. That is the surefire 100% guarentee you will get your domain.

    I recall one company, accually store all domain searches, and pro-ordered the domain before the customer…

  57. Hi Mike

    As many others have already stated excellent article. Although I must admit to not being that interested in snapping up that all important domain name – until of course I lose my current domain name – better make sure that doesn’t happen!

    Can I propose that we actually have a bid to be the first person that you tell the domain name to. What I propose is that we all email you sealed bids and you take the best two bids and then we have to bid until we don’t want to go higher. That way the best bid gets to win!

    Alternatively it could be like waiting for the last episode of 24!


    (Editor’s Note: Ha! Good idea. It will come out sooner or later though… be patient.)

  58. I too must confess that I am a 24 addict.

  59. Jordan says:

    No offense, but that’s a colossal waste of money. I’m still mildly upset that I spent 10$ too much on my domain name – I went through GoDaddy, got one of the $2 .info names back during that deal, and spent $10 on some privacy thing that takes over your WHOIS – it worked, too, until it turned out I needed to get rid of the privacy thing so the DNS would work. I wasn’t refunded for it, which really sucked. Oh well… live and learn, I suppose.

    (Editor’s Note: Interesting that you can proclaim something you know nothing about to be a “colossal waste of money”. If you are buying .info domains for two dollars and then complaining about paying an extra ten for privacy, I think we are in very different boats here.)

  60. Jordan says:

    I know the situations are different, but still – over 350 dollars for a domain? It must be extremely important to be worth that kinda money.

    (Editor’s Note: Yes, that’s a lot more rational explanation, isn’t it?)

  61. Traffic, Keywords, and Brandability, are money, now that the net is finally starting to break out of it’s infancy stages. When it finally matures, $350 will seem cheap for a prime domain. It actually seems cheap to me already (even without knowing the domain).

    For current prices on the top sales of the year visit

  62. Ged Lightfoot says:

    Hi Mike,

    INSPIRING STORY! After reading your guide to the ins and outs of the expiring domain game (of which I am becoming increasing addicted too) I went on where they have a list of expiring domains for that day. My eyes were immediately drown to a domain name, I had a look on the who is database a found that all the other extensions for that domain were available so I snatched them all up.
    I took your advice and went to and put down a backorder for the crucial .com detention and after an anxious few hours I was shocked to realise that I had got the domain name for the minimum $60 dollar fee!!!
    Thanks for reading my story Ged Lightfoot.

  63. Ged Lightfoot says:

    Oh bye the way isnt it obvious that your secret domain name is in fact:
    it seems so simple when you think about it! everybody is wondering what it could possibly be when in fact it was this very site all along!
    I cant believe no body else has suggested it.

    Am I right Mike? email me. Ged.

  64. On the topic of grabbing expiring domains I have discovered a little trick to increasing your chances ten-fold to get that prize domain. When a domain first expires it goes into what is called “REGISTRAR-HOLD.” While in that period the registrant can easily renew the domain for a small fee. After 1 to 45 days, if the registrant has not renewed his domain, the registrar can request a refund from Verisign, then the domain moves on to REDEMPTIONPERIOD. The trick is to backorder the domain before it moves to REDEMPTIONPERIOD. While in REGISTRAR-HOLD check the whois information to find the registrar. Then find out who backorders for that registrar. If you backorder with that registrar’s affiliate backorder service then you should have an outstanding chance of grabbing that domain. That is as long as the registrant does not renew it first. Many backorder services do keep the domains available for backorder and will automatically give it to you if the registrant does not renew it, but if you wait too long the registrar will request a refund and then you’ll have to battle it out at the end. I know that GoDaddy does it this way. I have snatched up many valuable domains using this technique.

  65. The ShockWave Rider says:

    The post and the comments have been very informative. Thanks.

    It took me over ten years to collect the main set of my domain name. I first registered the .com in 1994 when registration was free but took six weeks for confirmation. I picked up the .net around 1997 and the .us a couple of years ago.

    The .org was owned by someone who contacted me a few months ago about buying it. I was leery that he was going to try to gouge, but it turns out he asked less than I thought he should so I paid him more than he expected.

    There are more TLDs, of course, but these are the main ones as far as I am concerned.

    Anyway, I have been waiting for four years for a domain name which has now expired. Call me crazy, but I am going to try to get it on my own. I am curious what kind of odds people would give me for snagging it.

  66. Mike D. says:

    Shockwave Rider: If anyone else really wants the domain you’re going after, I give you a zero percent chance of snagging it on your own. Seriously. The only way you’ll get it manually is if no services are also going after it. That said, if you don’t think anyone else is going after it, and you don’t mind losing it, you might as well try manually.

  67. If the domain has anyone else at all interested in it, and they backorder it at any of the dropcatchers, you do not stand a chance trying to hand register it yourself.

    Each of these drop catching service (,, enom club drop, have affiliations with multiple registrars.

    What does this mean?

    Let’s say you visit and try to register the domain at drop time (6 days after the date that the status was updated to pending delete at 2pm eastern for .com .net). Realistically you could copy the domain name, and press the submit button on a dsl or cable connection, maybe a total of 30 times a minute (I say this because you must wait for the page to refresh). Each of these dropcatchers has multiple registrar partners working for them. In other words the drop catcher rents the direct line to the central registry from each registrar. These drop catchers have been doing this for a long time, and can almost pinpoint the exact rotation that the daily expired domains will be released to the available domains pool. So they will know which domains will be released at which time (almost to the tenth of a second). Then using these multiple direct connections to the registry, they send thousands of register commands at that second from each of these registrars.

    In a nut shell, if any dropcatcher has a backorder for the domain you want, you should also backorder it at all of these services. (You have waited 4 years, if you take a chance that noone else is chasing this domain, you may blow it). There is no way to tell if a domain is being backordered at any of these services by someone else, so decide for yourself weather the domain is worth $30 at enom or namewinner, $60 at snapnames or pool.

  68. Kitta says:

    Fantastic post, very informative. I was planning on grabbing a .com I’ve had my eye on for years, but it was re-newed just today. Bugger.

  69. Pete says:

    Dear Mike,

    I don´t know how to thank you! With this fantastic article and a bit of luck, I got the domain I had my eye on for a long time. 60 Bucks and Snapname did it for me. You have to register at all big three and stick with it. Enom and Pool did not even bother to email and tell me they´d lost out. Snapnames was quick and very efficient. The tip on is good but it could mean you pay more, however they will do a good analysis of the name for you and really try their best to acquire the domain. I chanced it and waited and managed to get what I wanted. A bit of luck helped but I stayed focussed. You have to be passionate about it. Good luck to all for future acquisitions!

  70. Roger says:

    Not only a well-written piece, but obviously one that has gotten a lot of attention (and kudos). Here’s a squirrelly one for you. I registered a domain, paid for the name and hosting the site, but set the admin contact as the guy who was to become a customer. Built the bare bones of a web site, then waited on more material from the customer. After a couple of meetings, numerous emails and phone calls, and TWO years, I still never got any additional material, and never got paid. And because I’m not the Admin, I can’t do a thing about the domain name. A shame, because the guy really had (has) something worth sharing with the world.

    Unlike Mike’s valuable domain, this one is not particularly noteworthy. Even so, I want it should the dormant customer ever get his act together. It expires soon and I want some leverage for payment. But I’m going to take my chances. No bidding wars for me. It either becomes available or it doesn’t. With well over 75,000 domain names expiring each month, the odds are on my side.

  71. Milo says:

    Sorry to hear the typical “non-paying customer”. Way too many…

    The admin contact shouldn’t count for much, like the tech contact, the Bill contact is usually the registrar so they add their % from the NIC fee, however the Reg contact is the one to have.

    It might be a idea to try to transfer out to a registrar that does recognise the registrant as the auth name. (such as GoDaddy, but check it out first)

    Registrars have high, first line, staff turnover, so don’t trust everything they say…

  72. Mike S says:

    Great article. I’ve tinkered with designs privately and volunteered my time for some groups that already had domains, but I have yet to acquire my own. This article (and others that I’ve read) have solidified my feeling that there’s a lot more involved in domain registration than a first glance might indicate.

    I haven’t been reading your blog for very long, Mike, and I hope not to sound like too much of a newbie here, but do you have any good references regarding what to look for in a registrar and/or hosting provider? I still have many questions about the process, and I’m not sure who’s best at answering them. I also don’t want to post here at risk of annoying more experienced people, which I hope I’m not doing already. :)

  73. kwh says:

    I am in stealth mode seeking to register an obscure domain name currently in redemption. I have a US federal trademark on the name and actually use it in business unlike the current registrant.
    This stealth mode is so deep that I did not even inform the current lapsing registrant of my interest or my trademark.
    Today when I noticed the url did not work I limited myself to 2 searches of it using registrar pages to clarify its status. I plan to do no more searches until the 75th day when it would typically be expected to become available for registration.
    Assuing that tens of thousands of names drop everyday and based on my ebay and live auction / bargain hunting experience I believe that the simple fact that I am interested in this domain is a very valuable piece of information that I should not let out. Even if I just log onto any of the dropcatching services such as Pool, Snapnames, Enom, Godaddy and search for it I may be telegraphing my intention. I may be allerting these very adept name catchers that it may have a value or I may be creating the value or elevating the price. They may then be motivated to capture it and subject me to an auction in which case I will need to out bid the speculators, squatters as well as potential less diligent legitimate users. As a trademark owner if anyone else gets the domain the date of my trademark registration will precceed their date of aquisition of the domain and I believe that this will enable me to use the ICANN UDRP policy to challenge the registration. Of course this will be long and expensive and I might not prevail. I would be willing to pay 250 plus dollars to get the domain and avoid this inconvienence and get my domain.
    Extending the ebay analogy I think I might need a sniping tool like Auction Stealer that will disclose my intent and my valuation at the time when it will do the least damage to my interests.
    Your comments and suggestions are welcome.

  74. A little too paranoid, but better safe than sorry right?

  75. Marketing says:

    Excellent post Mike!

    I was actually looking for a script that can be used to register a wanted domain automatically.

    So far I have not found anything like that, but enjoyed your article.


  76. In the good ole days (about 2 years ago) many people used desktop and server side scripts to catch expiring domains. But since then the professionals drop catch services have added to many direct connections to the central registry for one of these scripts to even have a small chance at beating them to the punch. Some of the services have even created their own registrars just to use the connection to grab expiring domains. There are still a few scripts being sold , but it’s a waste of money IMO.

    any way, here they are if you feel like proving me wrong :P

  77. timK says:

    I have never read such a thorough and concise article.It was not only informative , but entertaining as well.It answered all the questions I could have ever had about the domain process..with one exception.What is the name he registered??Thank you for taking the time to share your experience with all of us.

  78. Steve says:

    Thanks for an interesting and eye-opening post.

    I don’t want to sound like I’m insulting any of you or condemning your activities, but I now have some serious misgivings about the domain name process. Mostly because it now seems so related to capitalism in general. To borrow a phrase from Scott Adams, “I’m always amazed that a billion weasels trying to hose each other, i.e. capitalism, works so well.” The commercialization of the ‘Net has already brought spammers and huge, intrusive ads and now it seems like it’s spreading to domain names. I hope I’m not doomed into a bidding war once my domain is getting close to expiring. What can I do to help ensure I can get it back without having to worry about this too much?

    (- Steve -)

    (Editor’s Note: Ummm, just renew your domain and you don’t have to worry about any of this! :) )

  79. Mike,

    First off, thanks for the helpful article. It will serve as an excellent reference should this situation present itself in the future.

    Second (and pardon the aside), I’ve always envied (and desired to directly copy, even if I haven’t done so…yet) the way you treat comments. The background numbers on each comment are saliva-inducing. In a good way.

    Keep up the stellar work (on both counts).

  80. Godaddy paranoid security measures.

    To Steve (# March 28, 2005 03:11 PM):

    Just make sure you don’t let the domain expire and you’ll be fine. As long as I know nobody can steal it from you if you are dealing with a reputable registrar.

    To everyone:

    Be careful about when it comes to domain name renewal ( and everything else about them for that matter!!!) . They sent me a message saying that they couldn’t successfully charge my credit card and that they would automatically keep trying. They did keep trying and failed every time because one of the contact phone number was wrong.

    They didn’t bother to warn me that repeated failed attempts would eventually result in my loosing the domain name.

    They should have contacted me directly to ask me to verify my credit card info instead of sending me these repeated automated messages “authorization failed, will try again on X date”.

    Fortunately, I paid the $80 and got the name back. Unfortunately it takes over 72 hours…can anybody tell me if Google will completely drop me on a crawl if my site is down or if I should be ok for a few days being offline?

    PS.There is nothing wrong with my credit card by the way and I spend at least $2000 a month online with it with no problems including some lump sum payments to Google of up to $1000, a wrong cell phone number on my file doesn’t bother %99 of online merchants, I guess that is “special”. A $9.20 domain renewal fee for a 4 years repeat customer and reseller is a substantial credit risk is after all, requires pentagon security measures for sure…

    If anybody wants to share horror stories let me know at :)


  81. The industry will soon envelope an all enclusive mantra that will most likely cut out the drop catcher and or backorder service provider all together. It’ll soon mean more of a reliance on keeping close tabs on Whois registrar info as opposed to the current drop market manifestation.
    Nice read and refreshing take on the industry though…great overview Mike.

  82. Grant says:


    Sorry to hear about your godaddy experience. I just wanted to say that I have been happy with their backordering service. I am currently 1 for 2, got on a backorder but missed out on another one (the owner renewed).

    I agree with Mike, that if it is a domain you really want use all the big boys. I like GoDaddy for the price $18.95, and if you don’t get that specific domain you can change hte backorder to another domain for free. Plus these domains were nice to have but I didn’t need them.

    Great article, very helpful.


  83. In reference to Deleted Domains writes:
    The industry will soon envelope an all enclusive mantra that will most likely cut out the drop catcher and or backorder service provider all together.

    I agree, and recently wrote an article about this on my own blog.

    As I had stated previously, expired domains game changes so much and IMO each registrar will start to either conduct their own auctions or partner with a domain auction service for exclusive drops.

  84. Hopeful catcher says:

    Excellent article, well done.

    I think I need a little help from the community here. Mentioned in the feedback was that if the domain you seek it registered with Tucows (amongst others), you need to use their backordering service, as it will come up on that first.

    The domain I seek is with Tocows, but I cannot find any mention of backordering on their site.

    Anyone know where it is? Or if their partner with a specific catcher?

  85. Really intresting …… now to get my name domain ;)

  86. Really well writen article….. explains the intricacies well

  87. Oops sorry for dual post

    - Vikram

  88. LS says:

    As an ex-manager and customer support staff for 2 registrars (same main company, 2 registrars) for over 2 years, your insight is right on. And your comment responders are damn smart as well. The deletion/drop game is hard to wrap your head around, and many of our clients just didn’t get it right. Then, ICANN had to go and add the whole redemption period extra, which is another racket by the registrars (registry cost for this was around $50 just a year ago).

    I’d still be on top of all the details if it wasn’t for WLS. Our registrar biz was small, and the bulk of the operating capital came from reselling our Pool 3 (as the dropped names service is called to the registry) connection to one of these businesses. The owner was scared WLS was about to take over the monthly fees, and he dropped me like a bad habit, reducing staff to a vacant owner and a cheap Indian programmer. Needless to say, I’ve enjoyed watching their descent from afar.

  89. Wally says:

    Excellent article, thanks for the information.

    I have now gone and given $60 to snapnames for a domain I tried to buy over a year ago.. the owner has let it lapse.

    Story: I paid $1500 for a domain name a couple of years ago, it has paid for itself every three months since.

  90. Deleted Domains (et. al):
    Any idea of when we’ll see the end to the current drop system? I have a domain that I’m waiting on expiration – hoping that I’ll finally get it someday.

  91. Deleted Domains (et. al):
    Any idea of when we’ll see the end to the current drop system? I have a domain that I’m waiting on expiration – hoping that I’ll finally get it someday.

  92. The current drop system will not end any time soon.

  93. Hi Chris, I think he was referring to when a domain will drop. At first glance, I thought the same thing, that he was asking when the current domain system would change.

    Dave, have a look at this article

    it should shed some light on the drop process, and when u should see the domain your waiting for to be released.

  94. Very good article! Thanks for writing it… I found it extreamly useful and informative while prefectly humorous at the same time….

    I also provided a link back here from my site which I hope many people will benefit from the read…. Great work!

  95. Eugenio says:

    Excellent article, but how can I use your instructions if my interest is link popularity and not just the name of the domain?

  96. Deleted Domains (et. al):
    Any idea of when we’ll see the end to the current drop system? I have a domain that I’m waiting on expiration – hoping that I’ll finally get it someday.

    Check the WHOIS on the domain in question Dave. Knowing that, you’ll be ahead of the game by a country mile because in many cases it’ll point to who you should be backordering with in the first place, as exclusive memberships between catchers and registrars continue to flourish. eg (Registrar) Dotster – ( DropCatcher) Namewinner, (Registrar) BulkRegister – SnapNames.

    Good luck!

  97. Eugenio writes:
    how can I use your instructions if my interest is link popularity and not just the name of the domain?

    There are numerous services that provide list of expiring domains. But there are only a few that provide stats for these lists of domains. My service ( provides detailed stats, including linkpop, overture, google pagerank, alexa rank, wayback archive and more.

    This is a great way to find domains that are available, onhold, in redemption, or pending delete, that are targetted towards your industry or certain products that you are selling. Which helps to improve your sales conversion ratio with highly targetted traffic.

    Many website owners fail to see this light and don’t truly understand.


    Many advertisers are happy to pay $1.00 for a highly targetted visitor to google or overture. They do not realize that google and overture are getting a majority of these highly targetted visitors from expired domains that were caught at the drops.

    Once the advertisers start to understand this two things will start to happen. Advertisers will start purchasing these domains from the owners and start catching domains themselves at the auctions.

    It only makes sense to cut google, overture, and the other middle men out of the equation. It’s a simple way to start paying less for the highly targetted traffic, and make the domain owners more. (since the middleman is cut out of the equation)

  98. rYno says:

    Well, I’ve started my own journey into this back-order fiasco. I’m up and running with SnapNames, GoDaddy, and Pool. I’m hoping I get this domain, but we’ll see what happens.

    Thanks for the tips Mike!

  99. If you’re not also using eNom, there’s a good chance you won’t get the name.

    Just sayin’ :-)

  100. I agree with Chris. Enom and also should be added to your list. All of the abontioned catchers are pay for perfomance, so backordering at multiple services only makes sense to cover all bases.

  101. steven says:

    Awesome post! I recommend that you use all of the drop catchers to ensure you get that domain name that you really want.

    If you have any domain names that might be potentially good ones, meaning hey get traffic or have a poential to be resold i recommend that you use sedo and follow this link to get paid on your traffic

    I had a name that i would have sold for $10 dollars and currently receive $40 per month from it. Pretty good for an $8 investment

  102. Sedo does pay well on some names, but depending on the keywords that the audience or keywords that the domain is targetted to, you would do best by checking to see which service (pay per click search engine) is paying the best for your specific type of domain.

  103. Fred says:

    Very interesting article. I have been curious about snagging expiring domains. I too am curious as to the domain name. But like a previous visitor mentioned, it is irrelevent.

    BTW, I found this website after searching for free ipod information.
    So even if I don’t get a free ipod, I did get to read this article. What a great find!

    I will be back.

  104. Milo says:

    Hey Fred, that iPod site, seems to work alot better if you remove the get request, the “?r=16811620″ bit.

    And err…. yeah….errr… this article is really interesting…errr…. what ever…

  105. steven says:

    I checked out and it is not accurate or updated. I recommend using Sedo because they get paid the most on U.S. Traffic because their focus is on selling the name, not the PPC Income

    Check them out here, just copy and paste the URL….

  106. Nathan says:

    Just a comment on the partnership agreement between SnapNames and Network Solutions.

    I registered with Snap well before the drop of a name I’d been watching for a long time, I’d even instigated the drop by making a complaint to Internic about the contact details for the name.

    After waiting patiently through the dropping process I receive a mail form SnapNames stating that the ‘registration attempt was unsuccessful’ – how can this occur when they have a fulfillment agreement?

    Looking up the new owners of the name I find that Pool had picked it up and it was now going into their auction list, I was told Network Solutions was looking into the matter but this only ment they were stalling until the name was sold and irretrievable.

    At no point was there any forthcoming information as to what was actually being investigated or done about the issue and at the end of the matter all there was was a ‘sorry’.

    Not acceptable.

  107. RCDean says:

    Great piece, Mike. Thanks also Expired, Deleted and others.

    Special kudos to KWH for the post about being in “Stealth Mode.”

    KWH’s suspicions correctly reflects my own bitter experience. I am a US trademark owner and user of a registered Tradename for 25 years. A giant .com nailed my site name in ’95. I waited patiently for it to expire because they weren’t using it. When it did, I was completely locked out of the process of even trying to be able to bid on it because “somebody” had moved in and “reserved” it within minutes. That somebody was one of my competitors. They didn’t even use the site for a year or so, then had a sister firm “use” it as a front door page.

    I complained to ICANN, and tried to initiate an appeal process, even tried to prepay the fee that was required, but received a curt reply suggesting my complaint had no merit.

    This was a couple of years ago. I’m sure things have become only more shady and corrupt in the interim.

    One other point. KWH suggests NOT seaching for the name you want because SURELY these smart insiders know how to track who is searching for what and how to grab a name anybody else may be interested in.

    “Expired Domains” replied that KWH was “a little too paranoid.”

    But then I looked at “Expired Domains” own website and found this exchange:
    Domainut: yep, it’s a cutthroat game, but espionage is needed to succeed in this biz, sharing too much info can cut ur chances of surviving
    clemzonguy: well i’ve been fed wrong information before…

    With all due respect, Expired Domains, are we really supposed to believe your comment that KWH is “a little too paranoid?” Or should we instead coclude this is a bit of MisInformation, in the light of your own words that “it’s a cutthroat game, but espionage is needed to succeed in this biz, sharing too much info can cut ur chances of surviving.”

    Just wondering.

    Nevertheless, this entire threat has been a fabulous and enlightening read. Many thanks to all.

  108. Sharing information is my end of the business. I capitalize on this area of the drop game. Why? Because first and foremost, I am a developer that earns a large majority of my income from developing tools to allow my members of to see the true values of each domain, then secondly I am a speculator. Why do I believe in sharing this info? Because as also stated in the same blog.

    So, as to your question, Yes my comment was my actual opinion. First he would need to understand that there are hundreds of people and a few dozen services that have access to the zone files. Which provide much information, if decyphered correctly, to let you know which domains are expiring. If the name is valuable, he probably won’t be the only one that knows about it, or has plans on persuing it.

  109. RCDean says:

    Not sure how your reply is a response. I wrote about domain name speculators sharing DISinformation. You replied about sharing information.

    I also raised a question about the wisdom of repeated testing for the availability of a domain name.

    WhoIs inquiries surely keep records, and I don’t doubt those records are “made available” to the right people for the right price, because when they come up empty, they indicate which domain names somebody out there may be planning to register.

    Further, when we enter an URL in our browser for a site that doesn’t exist, we are redirected to any number of advertising sites set up specifically to catch such situations. I don’t doubt these sites cull such failed attempts, looking for where the user is obviously seeking the same top level page in each of the TLDs for the same root name. And I wouldn’t doubt that people in your business can subscribe to reports of such attempts.

    Given the near insignificant cost of speculative registrations, wiley experts in your business can move to reserve such names.

    I realize you work hard to score big. But it still adds up to the fact that it’s hardly paranoia to suspect that attempts to repeatedly test for the existence of a site name will likely lead to a speculator reserving it.

    Not that there’s anything wrong with that. Fishing is a fine sport. Unless you’re a fish.


  110. bob says:

    I checked out and it is not accurate or updated. I recommend using Sedo because they get paid the most on U.S. Traffic because their focus is on selling the name, not the PPC Income

  111. is up to date and as accurate as possible to be while still complying with terms of google and overture by the programs that we report on. The data is updated daily. There are currently 30 privately invited members reporting their stats from over 100,000 domains. These domains have been tested at different services, and more domains as you can imagine are added to their portfolios, and are added.

    The concept behind is to show which program will perform the best for each keyword. The reason that I launched this site, was to show a collective average payout for each service on each keyword. As for your statement about PI not being updated, I run the site and disagree, as for accuracy, it may not be 100% accurate, may differ from your results, but all in all it uses the closest formula possible to provide the most accurate results.


    It is proven that no one service will perform the best 100% of the time on each keyword, so ParkingIncome shows which programs should perform the best for each domain in your portfolio.

  112. Creford says:

    Thanks for this great story, Mike! Good theme!
    At one time I tried to register one of our company’s expiring domains. I’m not sure how soon I could re-register for the expiring domain, but I had tried it and I thought it was 2 months later, I could re-register for the domain.
    That means anybody can snatch an expiring domain 2 months later if it has not been re-registered.

  113. mark says:

    buddy, i read your page and i sincerely wish to thank you for having it online.

    i search for this exact info and your was perfect.

    by using your info as a guide i managed to pick up a domain name of very significant value in an industry worth 17 billion dollars.

    had been waiting patiently for 8 years to secure this name by doing it manually every time it came close to being available without success and after doing as you said i picked it up without an issue.

    bloody brilliant !!!

    all the best wishes,

    mark b.

  114. Dan says:

    Wow, really great article, really instructive. It’s that there are some people who want to share practical knowledge.

  115. Absolutely a very interesting article including all the comments. I am still fairly new to the whole domain name game but this helps a lot. Once I have more experience I might post some follow ups

  116. says:

    Way back in 1999, I lost a valuable .com business name to some japanese company; at the time there didn’t seem to be no reason to hurry to secure a domain name.

    When I was ready to get it, I was late by one month (!) and had to check regularly and wait 6 long years for expiration.

    Thanks to your very informative article, I’ve back-ordered it via Snapnames and finally won the auction for $525 ! Not too bad, I tell you.
    How stressful the whole process was !

    There’s no way I could have find all those information by myself; I would certainly missed that precious domain name again if I didn’t follow your advice. I used the same kind of strategy for bidding.

    Thanks again !

  117. Bas says:

    I am trying to backorder a new with It seems they have system running who bids up with me. When I place a higher bid, the system place a 5 dollar bid 2 seconds after. So it looks like I am bidding against the computer. I don´t know if I am going to continue or go to give up.

  118. Hi Bas,

    It could be that they have a resever price…so you’ll never know until you keep on bidding!

  119. Does anybody make money of Sedo parking? I’ve noticed that their pages are not optimized at all…might be better off hostin my sites myself?

  120. malik says:

    someone is killing me in the search rankings for my industry by getting dmoz and yahoo listed domain names that are ‘technically’ expired to rank well for dozens of keywords.

    i say ‘technically’ because he’s somehow getting them from a registrar without before they officially expiring …. when you check it in the whois, it doesn’t show that it expired at all. so it’s beating google so damn easy too.

    most of his sites seem to be registered through netsol but i have no clue if this is who gave him the domains before they expired.

  121. Netsol is currently partnered with snapnames, and the domains are not really deleted from the registry and do not follow the normal delete process. These domains are renewed by netsol if they have at least one backorder at snapnames, then transferred to the winning bidder after the auction. All of the new exclusive drops are doing this and the search engines have no way to tell if the domains were deleted, so they will continue to hold their PR and ranking until the linkpop gets taken down, the next rawl by the serps and find different content to grade the site by, or find a non existant site.

    Many of my members chase expired domains in specific categories, simply to aquire their page rank, search rankings, or search engine listings, and that is why we offer the lists of domains that are expiring, in redemption and on hold domains along with detailed stats from overture, linkpop, google pr, yahoo and dmoz listed etc…

    Expired domains can create so much traffic for so many different reasons and can be used to develop a new site, or better yet drive targetted traffic to your already developed site.

  122. malik says:

    what’s a Godash???

    thanks ‘expired domain’s .. off to netsol’s expired list i go :)

  123. Pam says:

    Is there anyway to find out who owned a domain prior to it being shut down or sold to someone else.

  124. Try I believe that they have a service that shows cached past whois info.

  125. Pras says:

    Wow! What an incredible article and thread. it took me an hour to completely read and attempt to digest all the information.

    I would like to ask a couple of questions which may have been asked but the answer was not clear to me.
    – I am interested in purchasing a domain name currently owned by another. There is no website associated with this link. The owner seems to have purchased several domains with similar types of names and I guess he is waiting for someone to pay him to transfer.
    – The domain I am interested in is about to expire.

    1. Can my search for the url be tracked even when a site does not exist?
    2. Are my searches using WhoIs and other domain registrars tracked? If they are tracked, does the current owner receive information that his/her site is being investigated?
    3. If I register with a company like SnapNames for a back order, will the current owner know that there has been a back order placed?

    I look forward to your reply. Thanks.

  126. Cornelius says:

    Lets just be sure here, EXACTLY 75 days after the expiration date on the Whois information?

    I’ma going hunting solo see

    Absolutely wonderful insightful article, top listing on google too!

    I’m amazed this level of inept corrupt bureacracy exists when dealing with digital inclusion – There has to be changes and soon too!

    Thanks for the article Mike, I’ll be coming back here to read more and will be using your dreamhost link for my hosting too and telling others of it

    Thanks again


    BTW 75 days exactly?

  127. julie says:

    I’ve been through similar domain adventures. However, since you bring up a sense of distrust with the system (which I share), allow me to share an event that was eye opening. I was trying to register an expired domain on my registrar one day, and for some reason when I would get to a certain point, my browser would freeze up…(found later to be virus in explorer), since I though it was my registrar having problems (it was actually my computer), I went to godaddy to use friends account which was already in place, and godaddy says the “domain isn’t available at this time however you can backorder the domain”!!!!!!!!!!!
    Wow! (obviously for more money)… So I went back to my registrar, and verified the whois, then to a different registrar,
    set up a brand new account, and within 2 minutes I had the domain, that godaddy wanted to charge me a backorder fee for!

    I definetly don’t trust godaddy after that experience.

  128. Ilovepositano says:

    Can I ask you guys- I’m in a similar situation in that the domain I want is due to expire in a day, and I am considering doing all three-,, and My question is– if I’m the only one backordering the domain, then aren’t I bidding against myself being able to get it for $60. In other words, whereas I might have been able to get the domain for $60 by back ordering with just one service; wouldn’t I definitely have to bid in an auction if I did it with all three backordering services? Thanks!

  129. Each different service conducts their own auction if they catch the domain.

    Let’s say you backorder a domain with pool, enom, and snapnames. If snapnames catches the domain on the day that it drops, that means that only snap names can award the domain to one of the people that backordered at snapnames.

    (If someone else backordered the domain at enom and pool, bu not at snapnames, then that person no longer has a shot at aquiring the domain)

    If you are the only person that backordered the domain at snapnames and they catch it, then you win the domain for $60. If more than one person backordered it at snapnames, then an auction begins (but includes only people that backordered the domain at snapnames).

    This holds true for all three of the above mentioned services. The service that catches the domain will auction it off and your bids at the other services are then null and void.

  130. Ilovepositano says:

    Thanks so much for your answer! That makes so much more sense to me now.

    Can I ask you guys– this domain I want was registered I believe through via ….who can I back order with that the domain would be released to? Hostway does not even provide a back order service, and neither does AAAQ.

    Thanks a bunch!

  131. If the registrar that the domain is currently registered with (which looks like the case) does not have an exclusive drop partner, the domain will follow the normal domain expiration drop process, and will be available for any person or drop catching service to register.

  132. A very enjoyable article and very informative.

  133. Dean says:

    Julie, don’t let your experience with GoDaddy give you a bad impression of them. The reason the name wasn’t available when you returned to the site is that it was already in your cart. They hold it for you in your shopping cart until you checkout – this is actually a good thing because once you select a name no one else at godaddy can select it just after you and beat you to checkout. What you needed to do was go to the bottom of the page and follow the link for ‘Cart’, and it would have taken you to the checkout page with the name in your basket.

  134. Dean says:

    I’m interested in a name that was registered through Registerfly. They have a backorder service called DropFly. By backordering the name through them, is it one of those exclusive situations where I’m pretty much guaranteed the name?

    Also, I backordered the name a couple of days after it went into redemption period. In order to qualify for the exclusive status, does it have to be backordered before it goes into redemption? From one of the earlier posts it sounds like it does but I wasn’t sure.

    Third, since RegisterFly is an Enom reseller, how does that effect all of this? Should I do the backorder at Enom too or am I fine just doing it at RegisterFly?

  135. Dean says:

    I have my eye on a certain .NET domain that’s currently in redemption. I’ve already backordered it with the registrar where it was previously registered as well as GoDaddy; and I’m debating whether it’s worth the extra $40+ to take the Enom/Snapnames/Pool route as well. I understand this is like playing a hand of poker, but I wish there were a way to know whether others will be as interested in this domain as I am. I wish I knew more than I do about the domain speculative market. Is it possible to valuate a domain without tipping off to others that I’m interested in it?

    I’ll stop posting now.

  136. Very interesting article! As many others said, I am very curious to know what was the domain name. Now that you own it, let us know about it!!!

  137. Syd says:

    If I backorder my domain through Club Drop and I manage to land it, at which registrar will it be registered. I’ve heard horror stories (confirmed in the comments to this post) about bidders getting their desired domains only to find out that they have been registered at a registrar in a foreign country and all their correspondence is in a foreign language.

    On the flip side, when a registrar rents it’s ICANN connection to a company like Club Drop, does that registrar get all successful registrations that result from that connection or is Club Drop the registrar on record for those domains.

  138. Alright Mike, you’re the man. I read this when you originally posted it months ago, and referred to it about 6 weeks ago when I wanted to pick up a fairly decent domain that was expiring.

    Gratefully, I didn’t have to go through the auction process as I was the only one going after the domain it seems. That said, got me what I wanted today.

    You’re the man.

  139. Dean says:

    Today I successfully snagged a .ORG that I’ve had my eyes on for almost a year. Yeah! (GoDaddy’s backorder service got it for me.) .ORGs don’t seem to be in high demand among the domainers, but it’s a big catch for me — I’m very psyched.

  140. Sergey says:

    Who was the previous registrar of the domain name? Was it GoDaddy? GoDaddy has its own domain name auction service The Domain Name Aftermarket.

  141. Sergey says:

    I found your earlier comment where you stated that “The domain … was previously registered by …” Thus, disregard my question.

  142. Great article, has always been the best but it really depends on which company registered the domain prior to it being expired/dropped. I also found out the hard way that many other people also want a domain that is expiring even though it is potentially useless.

  143. Dean says:

    Sounds like a looter mentality — take stuff not for any good reason other than that it’s there.

    The .ORG domain that I got through godaddy’s backorder was previously registered at godaddy, but that didn’t matter because I didn’t backorder it until after it went into the pending delete phase (last 5 days). So anyone could have gotten it if they had tried. I was lucky and got it because no one else apparently wanted it.

    The .NET that I still am waiting to get was previously registered at Registerfly and it showed that in the whois records. But sometime within the last couple of days the whois record changed to show Enom as the previous registrar. Whatever. I backordered it with Registerfly 2 days after it went into redemption, so I’m pretty sure I missed out on the exclusive status. And even if I had done it on time I don’t know if it would have helped because registerfly seems a bit flaky.

    I’m most likely going to backorder the .NET with each of the big 4 dropcatchers. Paying $60 seems high for a .net that probably no one except me wants, and I could probably get it for only $20 with Godaddy, but at this point it’s worth paying top dollar just to not have to think about it any more. Going after expired domains can consume a lot of time. Lately it seems like all I do is check whois records and statuses, etc, when I should be building websites instead.

    By the way, ClubDrop charges a $30 registration fee in addition to the $30 backorder fee, so their total is $60 just like Pool and Snapnames.

  144. Nice article, I’ve had great success with godaddy’s backorder so I can’t really complain, if I come past something that may be high in demand I shall give pool a go, thanks for the tip.

  145. Dean says:

    Mike wrote:

    Note: One other thing I forgot to mention is that before the name dropped, I grabbed all .net, .org, and .info variants (all were available) in order to have more leverage over other buyers.

    Is .INFO an essential domain now? It used to be that .com, .net, and .org were the only “real” domains, and the others like .info, .biz, and .ws were there just to tempt us into giving more money to the registrars. Sure they served a purpose, but most people didn’t consider them very desirable.

  146. Is there a way to make any kind of contract in order to avoid the auction and acquire directly the domain?

  147. Janice says:

    What happens if the domain name that is about to expire is
    a very ugly/unlikely one? VERY rare that anyone would ever
    want it. (But I do).

    Do companies *AUTOMATICALLY* buy up *ALL* expiring domain
    names… or just the “good ones”?

  148. Janice says:

    Maybe I should register:
    and let it expire… just to see if everyone fights over it… and
    pays a fortune to renew it.

  149. rcdean says:

    Janice, don’t you dare! I’ve got my eye on that one!

  150. Robin Lee says:

    Wow, thank you for some seriously great information!

  151. Domain name listed in DMOZ and having good google PR expires then hunt for it. worth of the domain name is more then any other.

  152. Dean says:

    How on God’s green earth did you manage to get a so-called “good” domain for only $369? Based on my experience in the after market, good domains routinely go for over $1000, and often in excess of $2000 and $3000. Consider yourself blessed if you only paid $369 for your dream domain — it was a bargain.

  153. Before searching the owner of a domain with the whois base, get a look on, maybe its domain is for sale for a few dollars. You could be pretty lucky.

  154. Larry says:

    Great article – very informative! I’d like to add that I usually check the number of backlinks of an expired domain first to make sure I get good value for my money. I use the free seo tools over at

  155. Your topics attract thousand people. Free knowledge of world and life.
    And more!!!-friendship without borders.

  156. number of backlinks are improtant but in my wish PR (google pagerank) is most improtant .

  157. Many changes are underway in the industry. As mentioned numerous registrars are beginning to retain worthy domains and conduct their own private auctions. When you find a domain that is expiring and you are interested, make sure you research the current registrar to see if they conduct their own private aution, or if the domain will follow the normal drop procedure.

  158. Any idea how handles soon to expire domain name? Do they have a relationship with one of the dropcatchers? I find no backorder facility on their website, so I have no idea if they provide that service and whether or not a backorder would provide preferential treatment.



  159. Great article. Your advices allow to webmasters to become real businessmen. Welcome in a world in which diffrences between the large ones and the small ones are reduced thanks to everyone’s will.

  160. jaXed says:

    Oh goody. Now to secure the domain names I have always wanted that are about to expire! *clickety clickety*

  161. Robert says:

    thanks for the article! Keep sharing!

  162. Great article. What criteria do bulk registrars use to decide whether to pick up an expiring domain? Do they look at it’s Google pagerank? Any other quantitative measure? Or do they just grab ones they think will look good?

    In short, is there a good way to know how much competition you will have?

  163. Star says:

    Great reading. Folks, believe it or not, some people are actually paying hundreds of thousands of dollars for a domain name.

  164. Star says:

    I just would like to add that those companies certainly keep some valuable domains for themselves. Sad but true I guess.

  165. Jose says:

    Extremely good article! Congratulations… well written and very self explanatory. Thanks for all the information. This is really good stuff to know.

  166. Sophia says:

    I wanted to thank Mike and everyone else…I have been silently and anxiously waiting for the domain I need for my business, and got it finally for only $60! AMAZING. I guess it’s no surprise that despite backordering on everyone but ENOM, I got the domain through

    What a great article! Thanks

  167. Anne says:

    Hey Mike, this is the best and most informative article I have read on domain names. Thanks for the heads up!

  168. Great article, but sadly the expired domain that I was waiting on just got renewed.

    For ten years.

    Oh well..

  169. So when will we ever find out what this domain name was?

  170. bhavesh says:

    Extremely good article! Congratulations… well written and very self explanatory. Thanks for all the information. This is really good stuff to know.

  171. Jose says:

    Very good article. Loved it. Very informative, and I learned a lot.

  172. COOL! Bidding wars really are fun and exciting, and I understand the love/hate feeling you have for – but come on – can we learn of the domain yet?!? Great (true) story!

  173. DOM-i-NIC says:

    Well in this case the author was pursuing a particular expiring domain, but for those of us ‘Name Miners’ just looking for good investments I offer the following story.

    I have been buying and occasionally selling reasonable dot com’s for a while now. Due to an extraordinary gift of word-play, rhyme and slang, plus a lot of hours, I have no problem sourcing above average two word domains for resale. I have never resorted to playing the ‘expiring domain game’. Recently I put it to the test. I manually browsed through a long list of expiring domains, made a note of the top100 I would register at first time registration rates. Months later I checked the 100 names I had selected and 56 were available.

    The moral of the story is I could register all 56 domains for the prices of possibly catching 3, 4 or 5 of the other 46 domains buy way of backordering.

    The 56 available names in my opinion were of equal quality to the 44 that were backordered or bid upon.

    In my opinion this game was much more fun plus the 56 Domains I registered did not make a profit

  174. I’d like your resource.Yours truly.

  175. nu-nu says:

    I read your article with interest. I am unsure though, if I should be using this approach for a domain that I want.

    I’ve been really stupid, and not registered the .com variant of my my .org. A company seems to have grabbed it, and just have a filler page with adverts, and the like.

    I wasn’t that bothered before about having the .com, but now that someone else has it, it is bothering me a great deal. What if the content goes against what I’m trying to do with my .org? – Given the nature of my site, it would not be a total surprise if the content of the .com started to advertise products that I am very much against. – As I said, I’ve been stupid!

    Anyway, I need a strategy. I don’t have money to burn I might add.

    Do I just wait, and see, and hope, that it is not renewed? Do I approach the registrant, but alert them as to my interest? Is there another avenue, such as trademarking the name (comparitively expensive, and I don’t think it will work anyway)? – I’m unsure if arbitration can be used if you don’t have your name trademarked. From what I’ve read, it would appear not, and again, pretty expensive.

    Anyone have some suggestion about other resources that might help me decide upon my approach?

    I’m kind of inclined to do nothing, and wait, especially after reading the previous entry by DOM-i-NIC.


  176. Chris N. says:

    Thanks for that whole story, it gives some real tools for grabbing dropped domains. I might use that soon for 2 or 3 domains, that i hope will be dropped.


  177. Thanks for this article, very very helpful :)

  178. chris white says:

    Is $300 is a lot for a domain?
    Answer: how long is a piece of string?

    A name can be gold dust or dross depending on what it is.
    How much would $300 buy you in a conventional real estate transaction?
    Business people/entrepreneurs(?) want to go online and start/augment their business and then balk at a few hundred (or few thousand) dollars. Top domains have been sold for hundreds of thousands and occasionally millions of dollars.
    It’s easy to sneari at those who snapped up domains but if we could put the clock back 10 years who wouldn’t grab, or indeed at 18 million dollars by a federal judge)?

  179. Reader says:

    Great article! Some comments were really useful too.
    Special thanks to author named “Expired Domains” :)

  180. tmk says:

    Dear Mark,

    Thanks a million for this article. Without it I would not have been able to grab this cool domain name I was after.


    = tmk =

  181. tmk says:

    PS: The funny thing is that the registrar for my expired domain name was enom. And even though I also enlisted their services to try to snatch this domain name, it was actually SnapNames who was successful in acquiring the domain name.

  182. Robert says:


    Interesting article, and I guess my question is how does someone become a Ecom, or a professional domain catcher?

    However, hw does one go about developing a program such as Ultsearch, and the man behind it, (not his real name from what I understand) Yun Ye..

    See his story here..

    At the very least I would like to know what tools are out there to buy expired domains that I could turn into affiliate programs, and to drive traffic to my site.

    I understand the basic concept of buying expired domains, I am just
    wondering what it takes to become a professional domain collector, or a traffic aggrator..

    Any thoughts?


  183. George says:

    Just like most things on the net its a very competative market being a domain collector. I know of some people that have written scripts that says which domains are expiring, when they are expiring, the google page rank on that domain and so on.

    Now from what I know when lets say you buy a domain that had a PR of 6 when it expires you loose all the PR but the next time the page gets spidered (after someone has purchased it ) there is no reason the PR should not go back up to 6 if all the links are still there right?

    If anyone knows abit more about this it would be great to know.


  184. Curious says:

    alert(“What was the name of the domain”);

  185. If you realy seek for a domain with a standing high Google PageRank you should register and pay some pennies for an italian french or swiss domain name.

    These domains are a little more expensive to register but there are lots of deleted domains which belong to nobody. Find a PR 6 domain for example at (they also check for you if the pagerank is mirrored or not) and register it. Put some textlinks on and one to your own domain and wait up to 100 days. It will bring you a push in your PageRank -1 than the domain you grabbed that´s almost for sure.

    It will take only two google updates. Announcments could be find @

    Expiring domains means waitimg, deleted domains are already free to register.

  186. Interesting story. Thanks, now I understand the basic concept of buying expired domains.

  187. Anders says:

    Great Article!

    I searched for medium PR domain names this morning at Network Solutions and found a few — then went to SnapNames to backorder them.

    Let’s see what happens — many expired domain traffic companies are searching 24/7 for new names to capture traffic from.


  188. johnny says:

    Hey Mike

    Someone copied your article word for word and claim it to be theirs at;!&id=71209

  189. Thanks Johnny for letting us know as we do not tolerate plagairism.

    We immediately removed the article in question and suspended the author who sent it in.

  190. Amer says:

    Very inspiring, you made it sound like a very nice story.
    I am not so good in reading but I couldn’t help not to read what you wrote from begining to end!

    Thank you for sharing this with us.


  191. GeeWiz says:

    Hello Les,

    Unfortunately.. No.. might be ‘out’ since there is no active website behind the domain.. but the domain is not currently available / feasible to backorder.. since it is set to expire only on Aug 13, 2011.


  192. So, so helpful as I am doing this for one of my friends now.


  193. isbe says:

    I paid my domain renewal fee to my registrar on the day before it was due. They didn’t sent the money in fast enough and told me there was no such thing as grace period. They were to just re-register it when it came available. Someone beat them to it. Now a domain name shark put a search page on it and want to sell it for $1500. This information is great… wish I had seen it sooner.

  194. anilsimha says:

    this is the first time i visited ur site its really exiteing

  195. oman says:

    I am looking at a domain name to register. It is currently expired and registered through NetSol. I can try the auction route though snapnames, but there is conflicting information in the whois record at least through It shows two different expiration dates, one in 09/2005 and another 09/2006. I’m wondering if maybe netsol has automatically extended it because there is another backorder in place? Its a relatively obscure domain name, so I was planning on taking my chances on it since I don’t want to escalate the cost. The current status is registrar-lock. it does say that the registrant is “Pending renewal or deletion”, ie, NetSol… pretty strange. Thanks!

  196. Wow, this post has great karma! Good job, I learned a lot from the post and the comments.

    I had written a series of articles for on domain theft (a separate matter, except inasmuch as they both demonstrate incompetence on the part of ICANN) and many readers responded to me with horror stories about how they forgot to renew their domains and somebody took them away, expecting sympathy from me. The stories I wrote about had to do with people who actually owned their domains having them stolen.

    Moral of all these stories: read your e-mail from your registrar and renew your domain if it’s expiring.

  197. Nice article. I have been interested in domain names for quite some time, but it has still been very informative.

    On my domain weblog I have written the story of buying a semiattractive deleting domain without using a backorder service. The price was $ 2.99, but it also was a bit of some gambling.

  198. Whoo-Hoo! Number 200!

    Just wanna say dittos. What’s the name? Thanks for an incredible read. You cleared-up allot.

  199. Is it possible that the name wasn’t really all that good?

    Could the build up be way too much for you to ever reveal the domain?

    Is there some unknown danger in revealing it that we should know?

    Wouldn’t it be good to have a link to it from this page with a PR of 6?

    Are you tired of my questions yet?

    (Nice article….thanks!)

  200. Mike D. says:


    1. No.

    2. No.

    3. Yes there is. If you follow my blog, you’ll know that I left Disney a few months ago to start my own company. The name of my company is the name of this domain. It will be revealed when we are dangerously close to launch.

    4. No. My blog has a PR of 8 so I’m not worried about linking. It will happen when it’s ready.

    5. Nah, that’s alright. No worries.

  201. James says:

    Godaddy is worthless on expiring names. They missed one and I had to buy from Also, watch out for Godaddy’s renewal billing practices. Everything they do renews automatically with a whack to the credit card.

  202. Hoodia says:

    Just wondering if you now of any of the expiring domain websites that also inform you what the page rank of the domains are, as well as daily traffic stats etc…

    Are the three you have named Mike the only ones you would recommend?

    Many thanks

  203. there is a domain im interested in is listed in a WHOIS as in REDEMPTION (it expired over 6 weeks ago)

    thing is

    if i type in the url into google (the domain with .com as a search) the resulting link redirects to

    is it likely that pool has snapped it up already?

  204. Laura, check the whois of the official registration authority for the TLD, and you will find out. The time of expiration takes 75 days for .com and .net, and 35 day for .org, .info and .biz.

  205. Absolutely a very interesting article including all the comments.

  206. Marianne says:

    Extremely interesting and informative – I appreciate this info. I too, am on the “trail” of an extremely critical name for my organization and, unfortunately, have found out that the owner is leasing it – in telling him I wanted to buy it, of course he said it wasn’t for sale…but to pay MORE to lease it from him than his current “user” seemed very enticing. Worm factor applies to him for sure! Thanks again – great information and…I’ll be “tuning in” for the release of the “mystery name”!

  207. Robert says:

    Wow..This thread keeps going, and going, and going! Talk about the Energizer Bunny! (LOL!)..However, while there has been some excellent “trains of thought” here, I am wondering (sorry if this has been answered already and I missed it) but, how can you bypass services like Pool, Snapnames, Enom, etc?

    If you want to just buy a name outright is that possible? Or, do these services have exclusives with Domain Registars? How did they (Snap, Pool, Enom) get those contracts in the first place? Is there anyway to bypass the auction services? Can you go to ICANN? Anyone, Anyone, Bueller, Bueller, Bueller? (LOL!)


  208. Dave says:

    Very informative article, thanks!

    I actually stumbled upon this because I am in the middle of trying to find a good expired domain name. This article will help me a lot!

    Thank you!


  209. Very important question here:

    At what point does Google strip the domain of it’s PR & it’s age? Everyone that knows search marketing knows that the age of a domain is VERY important in Google’s eyes. Does an expired domain start off as a new index in Google or does the domain keep it’s age?

    Thanks in advance for any informed responses,


  210. Thanks for this article. It was interesting watching the status of an expired domain name that I wanted change just as you said. In fact, not taking your advice, I decided to risk registering the name on its scheduled drop date which SHOULD have been October 22. But for some reason on the 22nd, I checked the availablilty and it said that the domain had been registered on October 21, a day before it should have been available. Browsing to the site, there was nothing on it but an auction of the name with an opening bid set at $50.

    For unknown reasons, when I went there today to check on the auction, the browser could not find the site. I immediately went to GoDaddy and the name was avaialble (oddly enough), though underlying Whois data listed the expiration date as October 21, 2006. I ended up with the .com and .net variants for

  211. …less than $20. What gives?

    (Apologies for the double post. I didn’t notice how long the first one was.)

  212. If a domain is placed on backorder, is the the current owner notified?

    For example…

    Network Solutions holds domain I want. If I use Snapnames to back order the domain, will the reminder emails to the current owner contain something like “hey someone has backordered your domain”?

    Please let me know.

  213. Newsvine, eh? That the $369 name?

  214. Mike D. says:

    Indeed! The 8-month mystery can now be revealed. It’s

  215. I must admit it has TONS of potential. Once live, it should pay for itself in a month. Not a bad investment, by any measure. Good luck with it.

  216. please let me know where I can to find more info about authorization code for .biz domains… I tried transfer one from my domains (also via GoDaddy) but for complete transfer require this code :(((

  217. Corra says:

    Thanks for the article. We did this with snapnames for $60 and I was surprised how fast our process seemed to take. I might have caught at the end of the 75 day cycle. Anyway, we were forced to go with, which is not my first choice for domain registration.

    I was wondering if anyone has any great methods to search for expired domains online that doesn’t require a software download?

  218. offers databases of expiring domains, searchable and sortable by specific keywords and criterias. It is my service, but was created for me to use daily. So to be fair, checkout for a list of simialar services.


  219. Hi Mike -

    First off, thanks for the extremely informative article on catching expiring domains — and kudos on your getting the #1 spot on google when I searched for ‘expired domains’ (but without the quotation marks) – quite an accomplishment!

    I’ve been a domain addict since 1999 and own some 500+ domain names, most of which are now parked with either or (although Fabulous usually performs better for me). I used to grab deleted domains that had good link pop and Page Rank and put up affiliate sites, but my experience has been that for at least the past year or so Google no longer likes deleted domains that have been registered by other parties and the PR is not retained — so buying an expired domain with the hopes of retaining great ranking in the SERPs no longer works (bummer – and is why I’ve resorted to parking many of my domains). It’s interesting because once you get started in the domain game, it truly is addicting and while I haven’t felt the cravings in quite some time, as you can tell by my having landed at your site the urge is back. You’ve provided some incredibly informative information with regards to the companies one can use to snag a domain before it drops — as well as confirmed my suspicions that it is somewhat of a shady business and that it sucks not knowing if just by backordering a domain you now are in competition with some subsidiary of the registrar itself. That backordering a domain raises a flag letting people know which expiring domains might be valuable. Pool’s system, while it appears to work for many, does sound quite sketchy — I too question whether there truly was a ‘real’ person competing with you for, or whether Pool was just trying to bleed some more money out of you. Sadly, unless lawyers get involved, none of us will ever know.

    I actually have a blog called How to Blog in which I’ve been documenting my own experiences with learning how to blog and providing tips, tricks, theme resources, etc to others interested in getting blogging.

    I must say that I’m extremely impressed by your blog’s presentation/theme and am wondering if you would divulge both what blogging platform is powering your blog (I’m going to guess WordPress – am I right?), and whether you would consider making your themes from this site available to the general public (either for free, or for a fee). It is an incredibly professional and user friendly layout, and I particularly am blown away by the impressive commenting system which not only numbers each comment, but distinguishes your responses from those written by site visitors – as well as your ‘editors notes’ within the body of individual comments — is that as simple as editing the comment itself and adding your italicized text? Your live Comment Preview’s are also impressive. I’d be extremely grateful if you could divulge not only what blogging platform you’re using (WordPress, MovableType, a proprietary system, etc) and if it’s WP or MT, what plugins you’ve got going, as well. Of course, I would totally understand if you wanted to keep that information to yourself :)

    BTW – with the incredibly amount of PR your site has, as well as high readership and amazing SEO, you really ought to consider putting some adsense ads on your site (in some non-obtrusive way) so that you can generate some income off of the extremely informative and well written articles you’ve so generously shared with the rest of the net.

    Congrats on your new site and on having snatched the domain you wanted succesfully and for such a low price. The domains I’ve sold have always been for at least 4 or 5 figures, so $369 is really a steal as you clearly already know. Argh, now you’re going to get me back into my domain speculation mode — so my sleeping domain addiction is waking back up, for better or for worse. Either way, it’s always fun and sometimes quite profitable.

    Sorry for all of the rambling. In summary, FANTASTIC post, and excellent blog presentation. Kudos, and here’s hoping you’ll divulge what some of your blogging tools are :)

  220. richard says:

    Very, very informative. My favorite part, though was when you said that only dinosaurs use fax machines. My sentiments exactly. Those things need to be killed off in one fell swoop.

  221. Oh.. This is the real true story that what I am searching!!

    Thanks Mike.

  222. Hi Mike, Oct 3rd I posted a few lines about me backordering a couple of medium PR sites with Snapnames…

    I got one of them:

    It was PR5 before the last PR update, it’s now PR4 (still good).

    Once again, thank you for the great article — it helped me to understand the entire domain backordering process.

  223. Norm says:

    Great info! This is a great find. Good luck with

  224. kamal says:

    Excellent article and you really impressed many on this lucrative biz

  225. grammar says:

    amydot needs to look up the definition of “ironically.” There is nothing ironic about thinking about something at the same time someone else is.

  226. By chance could you explain the process how you find a good dropping domain name? There is like 20,000 dropping every day so it is very hard to understand which on to pick up.

  227. jay says:

    Thanks for that article, Mike! Your Information and resources are really helpful.

  228. RSV RAMAN says:

    My domain name expired on 05/11/2005 and I cannot find the provider. Please help me.

  229. Chris says:

    Great article… I don’t see the need for secrecy about what the domain name was, now that you have it. Sorry if it was mentioned already- there were too many comments to read them all.

    (Editor’s Note: Hmmm, well I guess since you have no idea what I’m using the domain for, you really have no idea why I kept it secret anyway. It’s

  230. alex says:

    Very nice article! I used the same way secured a website called Yao Mandarin, it’s a website for learning Chinese.
    Thank you very much for all the insights.

  231. mike says:

    interesting how comments about stealing domains simply disappear………………….

  232. john says:

    Does SnapNames really require you to give them a credit card before they’ll even let you view the sites that are coming up for auction?

    I don’t know if I even want to bid through them until I see the list…

  233. You can view a list of domains prior to giving Snapnames your credit card info. this is a list of domains but include no stats. This is usefull if you are looking for generic keyword domains, but if you are looking for targetted traffic names, it is usually better to get the list of domains with stats from a list provider.

  234. pj says:

    A note on the honesty of registrars…Back when there was only 1 (Network Solutions) I started receiving calls from the president of a large corporation insisting I sell a domain. When asked what he thought it was worth, he replied “not much”. That, I thought, ended the discussion, until I discovered that my domain was locked by the registrar without notice to me, based on the false accusation by the would-be buyer of trademark violation. My site became non-functional, the threats started coming from the corporation’s heavy duty law firm, and the litigation ball started rolling. I was small but I was right. I fought back. They lost. I’ve still got the domain. Network Solutions won my undying contempt. Cheers.

  235. Mike:

    Belated thanks for a great article. And the issue is back on the front pages again too — don’t miss the Kieran McCarthy article in the Register about how the millionaire owner of is behind the new CFIT group that is suing ICANN:

    I emailed Kieran that he should read your post for a full understanding of the expiration/registration process.

    Chris Parente

  236. So what are the best ways to SELL or AUCTION a domain that I currently own?

  237. VeriSign owns a company called that sells registered domain names, the so-called “secondary market” You might check that out…

  238. Many people sell domains on [URL=”″]DNForum[/URL], Sedo, or check [URL=””][/URL] for a list of many domain related resources.

  239. that was supposed to be

    Many people sell domains on DNForum,
    Sedo, or check for a list of
    many domain related resources

  240. StudentGuy says:

    You mentioned that snapnames is new to the game, giving them a newbie still allot to learn image. But isnt it the fact that they are already the LEADERS in the domain grabbing insudtry? doesnt a simple google search tell you that? Why is everyone ignoring this fact?

  241. Snapnames is one of the oldest dropcatchers not a newbie. 3+ years ago snapnames caught 65% of all quality dropping domains, namewinner caught maybe 20%, and a few of the big players like buydomains, ult search, and name admin caught 10% collectively with the rest being caught by smaller dropcatchers and individuals with desktop scripts.

    Pool arrived on the scene, enom club drop made a big change, snapnames switched to an auction model etc…

    Snapnames has been around a long time.
    An article on my blog actually explains the changes of the drop game in the last few years.


  242. Great article, it finally made it through my article queue ;) Though I also knew Snapnames before, you gave a lot of insight in the process.

  243. F7 says:

    Awesome article! Easy read and chock full of info.

    I do have one question I’m hoping someone can answer. A domain I am interested is set to expire. If I backorder the domain name through it’s current registrar do I have a greater chance of securing the domain name (if it’s not renewed) as opposed to going through someone like or


  244. If the registrar participates in an exclusive partnership with one of these dropcatchers, the only way to aquire the domain is to backorder it with the partner service. If not, then you should backorder it with each service, pool, snapnames, enom and namewinner are pay for performance, so it will only cost you if you are successful at the one service that aquires the name for you or for auction.

    If you are not sure if the current registrar is partnered with any of these services, then I suggest emailing them an inquiry. Do not mention the specific domain name, just ask if they are partnered with one of these dropcatching services, or if they conduct their own exclusive drop auctions.

  245. Mademile says:

    this is some good stuff boy

  246. Very informative story. I was looking for some domains for my clients and this helped me to understand this process better. Many thanks – Krish

  247. I once snagged and it took forever to actually get it. I would have done much better if I had found this article sooner.

  248. Gene says:

    Nice article. I don’t know if I would have dished out that much money for a domain name though — well, then again I don’t know what kind of a bargain you got and how good of a name it was.

    You write very well and it made the entire article worth reading. Much success with your ventures.

  249. I live in the UK and used a domain name watcher service at it watches names for a year for a cost of £16.00 and I have managed to get two associated names for my hair salon. Okay they are not names that everyone is going to want, and but I was pleased with the service.

    This is a very interesting read and I have bookmarked it for reference, well written and advertisement free !!


  250. I have been using several different domain name watchers as I would like to register some property services or maintenance names, simple ones for plastering, plumbing and bathroom installations. So far I have had zero luck so I found this article very useful and after hitting ‘post’ on this article I will be off to use the information to my advantage.

    Thanks Mike for some great advice..

  251. I have been looking for panty sales and pantyhose related domain names, there are an unbeleivable amount of domain name squatters in the adult industry. I have used Sedo before in placing bids and I made a good sale on Godaddy.. This is very useful information so I may give it a go thank you

  252. adam b says:

    what name ddid you buy

  253. Kirat says:

    Thanks, It is very good story but I am very interested to find out about the legal process regarding expiration of domain. I have some problems with my service provider regarding to renewal of my domain. My domain has expired day before yesterday but my service provider refuse to renew it without expiration charge So how could I get proper legal advise and information? How could I get ICANN legal support?
    I hope to hear from you .


  254. Aaron says:

    Superb article – read almost like a Tom Clancy scenario! I’d been planning grabbing a domain or two but had no idea it was such a complex process.

    Reminds me of a time I got an offer for a domain name and got it appraised on request. It was only $30 but I had the ‘sneaking suspicion’ you mention, that it was the work of an over-zealous appraisal company, more so when I never again heard from the original offerer.

  255. Mimic says:

    Too late for me reading this. The 2004 free INFO domains madness took me to register lots of names, among them one associated to my main that obviously I was planning to renew but when the renewal was near I was unable to use my credit card or bank transfer to complete the operation and does not accept paypal.

    Being so close the expiration date I was unable to transfer such domain and other of value to another registrar, I decided to mark them as “to be deleted immediately” because domaindiscount24 offers that possibility among the options to renew, delete the domain before the renew or do it as soon as it expires… theorically.

    And the agony started; I knew about the period of grace but those domains should not go through that stage if the non relevant names marked for immediate deletion were deleted effectively… it started to smell a rat.

    And I followed all those days mentioned here doing daily whois checkups with the hope to get back the domains but this time registering them elsewhere. Since the backorders don’t offer guarantees I thought it was a waste of time and money.

    The deletion time arrived but still ignoring the duration of the whole process until I found a service where my domains were offering as backorders for nothing but paying $60 each one if they got it. Still don’t trusting on the effectiveness of such services I didn’t take that chance but they posted exact deletion date along with the domain names.

    Afilias, the INFO registry, is located in Ireland so my belief was the domain will be deleted at GMT starting that day and I was ready to grab it from my EST location… midnight in Ireland and the domain was up… midnight in the East Coast and the morning broken overseas and the domain up…. 6 in the morning EST and nothing, the domain was not deleted.

    Now I can see why, 11 to 14 hours Pacific Time, just when I was not online. The afternoon of the deletion day came with selling all my top info domains. Domaindiscount24 is associated with but I believe they must drop the domains since I marked them to be deleted, not to be reserved for their affiliated company.

    And now wondering if sedo will keep my domain for the centuries of the centuries, amen… as I have seen many sedo domains for sale for long long years and still there, on sale, but for granted I will not pay what they pretend to get :/

  256. Now I’m going to go spend $60 on something I don’t need ;) I get the Pool email everyday…

  257. jr says:

    FIRST: I had many domains parked at sedo waiting development. After moving to own server for development…. ALL counts on ALL domains increased dramatically. Hmmmm.??

    SECOND: I wrote mos. ago about godaddy. allowing me to “backorder” a domain that I hopped over to another registrar and registered for $7.95 within about 1 minute. (godaddy wanted backorder charges). Someone on this blog responded that I was “suppose to click on the bottom of godaddy page to order domain”, but that wasn’t the case. They wanted to charge more money.

    THIRD: Today on I looked at list I created of domains to place on backorder. They didn’t snag one. AND they have 2 listed as dropping still ….yet I found them to already be registered. 1 in the cayman islands in one in country code “.at” (not sure where this is).

    Quite frankly it just doesn’t seem like a good business policy to not let your customers “see” the bidding process.

    There seems to be alot of hanky panky going on.

  258. jr says:

    Oh, yea I almost forgot….Mike – check out
    they have exact copy of your post and claim to be the author….???

  259. Witold says:

    This article just disappear from apollohosting but you can still find it in the google cache:

  260. Mike D. says:

    jr: Thanks. I just contacted Apollo Hosting to have them remove the article.

  261. Ryan says:

    so, when you buy an expiring domain, and now transfer it to your domain registrar, in the new whois, does it have today as the created on date, or does it keep the original date that the domain was created on?

  262. Srinath says:

    Excellent Info ! thx for it ! :)

  263. Abe says:

    I came onto this link searching for like how to spell expiring right and I decided to read the whole thing. Pretty interesting.

  264. Dave Zan says:

    Ryan – the only time a domain name’s creation date changes is if it gets deleted and becomes available for re-registration. Acquiring an expired name before it’s deleted will only extend it from where it left off.

    Mike D (the editor) – a well-thought and well-written article, made better by other players in the industry. Thanks!

  265. JR says:

    Interesting domain event taking place on “snap”. I backorderd – They got the domain – Went to auction – Active Bidding – I won! Yea! I received the customary email “you’re the successful bidder blah blah -
    “Fiducia is the registrar for your new domain name and they will contact you within 24 hours.” No contact from Fiducia……so far. This took place on New Years Eve at 3pm est. I went to Fiducia (via the net…not in person of course haha). I typed in the domain and it “isn’t in their database”. So I notified Snap of the situation. (keep in mind it’s now been 5 days). The domain doesn’t show up in whois, yet it’s clearly going to a parking page. Snap says they are “researching”….. I notified them again today – I haven’t heard anything. (other than Snap IS researching) so far….I’ve paid a few hundred bucks for a domain that someone else has parked! What’s up with that!?

  266. Nameslot says:

    Great info. Was looking for something related domain names and found this out.

  267. Excellent read! Thanks for sharing :-)

  268. Has anyone ever been successful getting any whois information on It doesn’t specifically say “private registration”…..any, AND everything but.

    Both times I backordered GOOD names with them, they were registered offshore – privately. Funny how pool doesn’t provide their whois. Now that’s FISHY. I won’t use them again since discovering this.

    8 days since I won auction on backordered domain and it still isn’t at the registrar that snap assigned it to. And it still doesn’t show up in whois! I paid for something someone else is parking. Did get a phone call from Snap and they are “looking into it”. They state “This isn’t the 1st time this has happened.” Btw, I have backordered successfully on snap before, but this is a “better” domain than the previous backorders I’ve done with them.

  269. Interesting piece of article. I was going to snipe a domain as well, I will plan ahead now. Thanks!

  270. I just lost a site to – and learned another trick they’re doing.
    The day after it expired ‘OWNED’ it. Not 75 days later, not 35 days later, THE NEXT DAY, a SUNDAY!!
    I got no warnings of any kind that the site was going to expire.
    I could bid on it for a minimum of $200.00 if I wanted it back.

    I was more than mildly aggravated.
    After some heated emails and some heat through my network engineer (who I had bought the site through under)
    They let me renew it for $10.00.

    From what I can see, they tried to FOOL me into believing that I had lost the site and would have to pay $200.00+ to get it back.

    All’s well now and I learned another new scam.

  271. Too bad that it is so challenging to grab expired domains. I would be interested in getting expired domains listed in DMOZ but I think they remove them before they are deleted.

  272. We started up a new business and the domain name we wanted was registered by someone but not used. I found out that the company that had originally purchased this name had been bought out by a US company, which subsequently sold that part of the business to a company in New Zealand. I wrote to the person that originally registered the domain name to see if he held the name, or whether it was sold as part of the company and he told me that it was now owned by the company in New Zealand. I wrote to them and asked them if I could have it and how much it would cost as they didn’t use it….and guess what…. they agreed to let me have for nothing, all I had to do was to pay the costs to transfer it to us.

    I feel we’ve now got a great domain name for next to nothing. I know we’ve been very fortunate and were probably dealing with a company that was not aware of the value of a domain name, but if you don’t chance your arm, you never know.

  273. Tommy says:

    Thanks Bud-
    I wish I read this before I started the process. I did it with, but it was deleted from the database in the early morning today, I have had it backordered for 4 months. What a waste of my time. Glad you got the domain, I hate to wait. HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ALL !

  274. I’ve always wondered how that works, nail biting moments not knowing what the outcome will be. Have bookmarked the big 3 for future reference.

    Thanks for your insight into the world of domain grabbing.


  275. Valik says:


    Great article.
    Just read trough the comments, couldn’t wait till you revealed the domain you got. ? I visited the site but didn’t get any onfo what it’s about or anything.

    Can you give us a brief description of the site? Or is that still a secret?


    P.S. Good job on the SEO on this article. You should write something up on SEO too. I’d like to find out how your article became so popular.


  276. insider says:

    This is a stupid and misinformed article. Most of the information presented here is FALSE and i suggest everyone take it with a pinch of salt. This guy has no idea what he’s doing, but i have to say he has quite an imagination, at some points it was interesting but the details are a joke.

    I also like how he intentionally keeps his “domain” a secret to keep the reader’s interests, and make himself sound mysterious at the same time. Sounds like a Slate reject writer to me.

  277. Mike D. says:

    This post went 275 comments and 9 months without a moronic comment.

    Care to take a bow, “insider”? You’ve officially broken the chain.

  278. John Hicks says:

    Hello Mike:
    I read a great deal about search engine exposure and popularity links, but is there a service that shows the actual number of visitors an expiring site gets?

  279. Scoop says:

    4 Questions I might have missed the answers somewhere in here or else where on the net but Maybe someone could help.

    1. Is there any way to see what names are about to expire? By keyword? Without doing a who is on 1000 names. For example Lets say I want a name with the word “Book” in it. Is there a search engine that will show me all the domains with the word book in it that are coming up for renewal in number of months/days Or any sites that are in the 75 day period?

    2. Pertaining to the keyword search above is there any sites that show you when a site expired I know at you can search by keyword. Showing sites that have expired and are back on the “Open” Market. But they are listed alphabetically where as i would be curious to see them listed by experaition date. Reason for this If a site has been expired and on the “open” market for 2 years good chance it means people don’t think that name would be a good choice for a business. But if a site has just come available and no one else has caught it id be more incline to purchase it.

    3. Is there somewhere to search through all the daily transfered/Deleted and registered names by keyword ?

    4. Is there anyway to find out how many domains one person/company own? And names of those other domains.
    Thus knowing if your dealing with a professional shark or someone who just beat you to the domain and has it parked for later personal/business use.

    PS Good question John Hicks Id love to know the same but i think thats ussally internal information if im correct. But i could be wrong.

  280. Great article.
    I secured a domain using enom and I paid $500 for it. I thought that enom had me bidding against myself, since the domain is in a niche market. Still, I was happy to pay that amount, so I can’t complain.
    I have another coming up in 5 days and I have accounts at snapnames, enom and pool.
    I’m pointing my clients at this page, since I think it’s the clearest resource I’ve found for explaining the drop process.

  281. Chris says:

    I have used both Snapnames and Pool. Snapnames areat least transparent and their auction model is fair. Pool I strongly suspect are bidding on domains themselves. I queried them about a particular domain I lost out on and got fobbed off without a clear reply.

    I know this particular domain gets alot of traffic. The domain still sits on the Pool holding page getting lots of juicy revenue from the Yahoo partner links.

    Their auction process is so murky, the people their are shady. Boy will I laugh when they eventually get seriously investigated or hit with a class action suit.

  282. Chris – Yup. I tend to agree about pool.
    This is what u get when u do a whois on
    (it’s all bull…) Bidding blindly with a co. that provides this info. on their whois seems really crazy to me.

    We are unable to process your request at this time. The whois information is unavailable for this domain for one of the following reasons:

    (1) Too many simulataneous connections from your host;
    (2) The domain you requested is not with this Registrar;
    (3) You have exceeded your query limit;
    (4) Your IP address has been restricted;
    (5) Whois data is not available for this domain – check back in 48 hours when our server is updated;
    (6) Access has been restricted to ensure operational stability;
    (7) A system error has occurred;
    (8) The time limit for your request has expired;
    (9) The IP address provided is not valid or the host specified by the IP address does not exist;
    (10) There is an error in what you have inputed or requested;
    (11) An unknown error has occurred;
    (12) The domain is not currently registered;
    (13) The domain you requested contains invalid characters;
    (14) The domain you requested is too long;
    (15) The domain you requested begins or ends with a dash;
    (16) The domain you requested is a third or fourth level domain;
    (17) You did not specify a domain name.

    Also, I Finally got the domain that I won on auction that got “lost” and had a “snafoo” from snap! They Did return my phone calls and Did follow up. They said they’ve had the problem in the past but only rarely. Whatever the “problem” was they corrected it. Thank you Snap! Fiducia is the registrar (which is the only downfall when using snap) that you don’t get to pick the registrar where the name will be. (and it hasn’t been easy transferring to my existing registrar from Fiducia).

  283. DomainGuy says:

    That has to be one of the most comprehensive guides I’ve ever read on the subject. Nicely done.

  284. search engine optimization says:

    Hi Mike:

    Just a great story.

    You answered all my questions on this process.

    I have a SEO site and would like to publish your article there. Naturally, with you byline and hyperlink to your site. Please let me know if this would be ok.


  285. Sunny says:

    Thank you Mimic for your comment (# 255). I used to think was a reputed registrar, but your comment has opened my eyes. Clearly they have behaved in a less than above-board manner. Thanks for the revelation. There are a zillion sob stories out there that go unreported.

  286. Very interesting article. It’s probably one of the best and most comprehensive there are, related to the process of registering dropping domains and the likes. The comments are definitely good to read too. Good job!

    So now, do we have to wait another 8 months to learn what the website is about?! :)

  287. chris says:

    Thanks a lot for this article.

    Now I know why all over 10 of my attempt by godaddy never went through.


    I will stay away. too bad I can’t get my money back since I still have 2 backorder credit remaining.

  288. Shilpa says:

    Thanks for sharing this story, it really cleared up all the confusion surrounding this area for novices.

    Now I understand how all this works!

  289. Runilo says:

    This is indeed a very informative article.

    I found this article by google, when searching for information of this sort, because earlier today i found an expired domain with a pr of 7.

    I found this domain, when i pressed a link, and it said that the domain was epired, so i just checked the backlinks, and Wooha! I gotta have that one.

    So i backordered it at snapnames, and hopefully i get it

  290. VP says:

    Interesting…. but where can I get a list of domain expiring each month?

  291. There’s a number of companies out there that specialize in delivering lists of domains that are expiring such as or Red Hot Domain Names and I’m sure many others.

    However, if you do a bit of research it’s obvious that the PR snatching techniques are more and more becoming obsolete since google, and probably the other major search engines, have become aware of them. When google catches note of someone trying to use pre-existing popularity for their website it automatically resets the page-ranks for that website and there’s a pretty good chance the domain will make it into the “black-list”.

  292. JD says:

    I might have missed it.. But did you ever say what the site was? Its been a while.. a long while..

  293. Mike D. says:

  294. Paul says:


    This may be a dumb question …

    Is their a domain expired free service that let’s you check the rankings, googlepr, yahoo, msn etc. that is free. I have found a few sites that charge $35-$50 like However, I don’t want to pay a steep $50 per month for something that may be free. Anyone have any feedback on this?

  295. Flo says:

    interesting article. Great.

    @Paul: You can do that by yourself with ASP/PHP/SQL for free.

  296. Eric says:

    Are there any exclusive domain backorder services that are still first-come first served?

  297. Currently only Godaddy/WildWest Domains/Blue Razor but their success ratio is far lower, and rightfully so, because they are competing with 3 registry connections, against companies like pool, snapnames, and enom, that use 30-50 connections each.

    That being said, I have in the past used backorders from to catch a one word generic domain and quite a few hundred traffic domains that earn a few thousand bucks a month for me now.

    If you are looking for guaranteed results, backorder at all services, but if your praying for a hail mary, grab a backorder at and cross your fingers (if the first backorder fails, you can always try for other domains with the same backorder for up to one year or until you get a domain with it)

  298. Eric says:

    Expired Domains,
    Thanks for your response. It was my understanding that since Godaddy introduced their TDNAM auctions, backordering from godaddy is a waste of time since all of the “valuable” domains will be auctioned off anyway.

    I see that is a part of the DomainAlert Pro backordering system. Is DomainAlert Pro an exclusive backorderer for any registrars or do they just snatch domains after the drop?

    Are there truly no other exclusive backordering services affiliated with some of the smaller (even really small) registrars that are first-come first served?

  299. Ellen says:

    Very interesting. Please help me out with a couple of questions to see if I understand things correctly.

    First, if a domain name I want is already owned by another and is expiring, the likelihood is that I will ONLY be able to acquire the domain name through the use of a backorder service – I am unlikely to be able to simply wait until the expiry date and try to register it on my onw because most of the registrars have set up partnerships with these “drop catchers” and they do not really just become free again at all?

    Second, even though a registrar may have a preferred drop catcher partner it may not end up in their hands and I should register my backorder request with all the leading players in the game?

    Third, if I use a backorder service I am required to register the domain name, if they catch it for me, with the registrar of THEIR choosing?

    Am I correct on all these points?

    Thank you

  300. FaeLLe says:

    @ Ellen

    You probably can choose your own registar by transferring the domain.

    Once you spent the hundreds of dollars required to catch it you shouldnt mind the transfer fee.

  301. FaeLLe says:

    Gotta hate the domain name politics.

  302. Ellen says:

    Thanx FaeLLe – what I really meant to understand was that I was forced to use, for example Network Solutions, as a the registrar if SnapNames catches it for me and not a discount registrar of my own choosing – for the first year of registration.

    However, as I write this I realize that it doesn’t matter which registrar is used because I am not paying them directly — the “catcher” will buy the domain name and then transfer the ownership to me.

  303. I see that is a part of the DomainAlert Pro backordering system. Is DomainAlert Pro an exclusive backorderer for any registrars or do they just snatch domains after the drop?

    A backorder purchased at (a wild west domains reseller, wild west is owned by godaddy), will be a guaranteed ownership of the domain if a domain were registered with wild west, godaddy, or blue razor prior to expiring, and there were no bids placed on tdnam. If the domain was registered with a different registrar that does not have an exclusive drop setup with a dropcatcher, then the backorder at would be attempted(but as I mentioned, would be a long shot).

    Are there truly no other exclusive backordering services affiliated with some of the smaller (even really small) registrars that are first-come first served?

    There were a few, but to my knowledge all have since partnered with the dropcatchers and rent their lines now, except GD ww and BR.

    First, if a domain name I want is already owned by another and is expiring, the likelihood is that I will ONLY be able to acquire the domain name through the use of a backorder service – I am unlikely to be able to simply wait until the expiry date and try to register it on my onw because most of the registrars have set up partnerships with these “drop catchers” and they do not really just become free again at all?

    Manual drop catching has been outdated for some time, the only shot that you may have to manually register a domain, would be if it was a domain in a niche, that nobody would think to chase expired domains, and flew under the radar of domainers. Domains that are usually backoreder are snapped up within tenths of a second of being released.

    Second, even though a registrar may have a preferred drop catcher partner it may not end up in their hands and I should register my backorder request with all the leading players in the game?

    Exclusive drops do not follow the normal drop processes, for instance, snapnames has an exclusive deal with network solutions, if a domain expires that is registered with netsol, the domain is added to an exclusive droplist at snapnames. If any interest is shown (at least one backorder is placed) in the domain during the next 30 days (I believe it is 30 days), the domain will definitely be auctioned at snapnames. But if the losing registrar does not have an exclusive agreement with a dropcatcher, then your best bet is to backorder the domain with every possible choice. (if a dropcatcher catches the domain and you did not preorder [backorder] the domain at that dropcatcher, then you cannot participate in the auction.)

    Third, if I use a backorder service I am required to register the domain name, if they catch it for me, with the registrar of THEIR choosing?

    Each dropcatcher rents lines (direct connections to the central registry) from multiple registrars, which they use each day to continuously ping the registry at droptime. The drop process follows a prespecified order each day, and most dropcatchers can predict the second that each domain will drop each day. At that time, each dropcatcher makes a query with each of the rented lines for each domain, most valuable domains are caught by beating out another dropcatcher by a tenth of a second. So there is no way to know which registrar will end up registering the domain, for the dropcatcher. Often times you can get stuck with a foreign registrar that does not even have an english website. (my reccomendation is wait 60 days, unlock the domain and transfer to the registrar of your choice.)

    You probably can choose your own registar by transferring the domain.

    Once you spent the hundreds of dollars required to catch it you shouldnt mind the transfer fee.

    There is a mandatory 60 day wait period after registering a domain, before you can transfer it to another registrar.

    for example Network Solutions, as a the registrar if SnapNames catches it for me and not a discount registrar of my own choosing – for the first year of registration.

    However, as I write this I realize that it doesn’t matter which registrar is used because I am not paying them directly — the “catcher” will buy the domain name and then transfer the ownership to me.

    Your first year of registration is covered in your backorder or auction bid purchase at most backorder services, except enom and tdnam (at which both tack on an additional registration cost to your winning bid).

    As mentioned above you should be able to transfer the domain after you have owned it for 60 days once you unlock it.

  304. nicole says:

    Hi Mike,

    Thanks for the great article. I was just wondering, the domain that I am interested in expires Mid-March of this year… should I contact those three companies now? Or, should I wait until the redemption period?

    Any suggestions are greatly appreciated.

    Thanks again,

  305. Ambrand says:

    Wow, imagine how many people have, etc in their drop lists, hoping that one day, just maybe they will strik it rich (or poor after the lawsuit that would bring!)

  306. Awesome article… If only I had read it a couple months ago.

  307. Chris says:

    this all sounds a bit bogus since Mike won’t say what the domain was, nor even why he won’t tell us – could just be he owns shares in backorder companies and this is his idea of pumping?

    You’all might like this true story – a few years back, I use some random “check availability” web page on a well known registrars web site. I found a few available domans, but didn’t decide to register them at that time. A week later, I changed my mind, and found all of them had been registered! I suspected foul play, so I “checked” a pile of utterly meaningly dumb domains, and sure enough, a few days later – every single one of them had been registered.

    The moral – **don’t** check domains using anyones web page – you’re telling them what to go any buy themselves!!!

  308. Mike D. says:

    Chris: I’m sorry, but did you eat paint chips as a kid or something? The domain is mentioned seven times now on this page. Engage brain before opening mouth please.

  309. Chris says:

    Oops – sorry – my mistake – I searched the page for “.com” and didn’t find “” earlier, (it’s first mentioned without the .com). It’s pretty relevant though, since the “value” of a domain and it’s TLD makes a big difference to everything, so I reccon the original articl should have an “updated” link to save us newcomers from having to read the entire 30,000 word comments epic!

  310. Julie says:

    Chris – And yet YOU FAIL to mention the “well known” registrar!

  311. Chris says:

    No mystery – I just don’t remember: it was (as I said) “a few years back”.

  312. is a very brandable name. Congrats on nabbing it.

    I’m my 3 years domaining, I’ve managed to catch 2 names manually: and I don’t even bother trying with .COM names.

    The auctioning of dropped domain names is a very bizarre thing. Allow me to elaborate.

    A guy will register a name and park it @ AfterNIC or SEDO, with a selling price of $700, for example. Other domainers and end users are interested in the name, but they don’t bid on it because they think that they can wait for it to drop, then nab it.

    OK, so a year later, the name drops, and then maybe catches it. The same domain investors and end users then bid on the name, and eventually the name gets sold for $25,000.

    I’m seeing quite a lot of the above these days.

    Great Blog you have here.

  313. dropped last week and the auction ended yesterday at $310,250.00

    I believe this to be the Biggest sale at Snapnames

  314. Tazz says:

    Amazing post mike, I’ve been to your site several time, this time I got here from google searched ‘expired domain names’. My objective is not a great name, or a brand-name taken, but simply a very high traffic domain name for a particular search. So what I am doing is, I go to, and search with a keyword, and then select a domain and do a check on to see how much traffic is coming in, if it’s worth it, it’s worth placing a bid.

    I am totally disappointed by search engine placement services on the net, it’s a waste of time, more waste of a few dollars. Infact if you blog on a subject, a good deal of people find you, for example I have been getting hits for ‘migun beds’ which I blogged about while doing a few designs for the dealer in kuwait.

  315. Andrew says:

    If I own a domain name that contains the word “Google” – what implications are there.

    eg: or .com

    Would this be worth anything? or likely to be chased for copyright by google?

  316. A1 says:

    > Would this be worth anything?
    > or likely to be chased for
    > copyright by g00gle?

    If you develop the name, and G00gle finds the site, they will most certainly come after the name, and they’ll have every right to do so, because the name trespasses on the G00gle trademark. They’ll tell you that they want to protect their brand, and they’ll ask you to transfer the name to them.

    Best thing to do is either cancel the name, or just ignore it and let it drop. No one will buy it from you.

  317. michelle says:

    I need your help!

    The name that I would like the register has been re-registered by a registrar (ukreg). They have had the domain name for 4 years now, but haven’t sold it. I tried sending them my contact information twice, but have yet to hear back from them.

    I am very interested in this domain name… so how do I buy it from them?

  318. Jonathan says:

    Quite a good write up. Well done. This will help explain to a lot new people out there and actually give clarification to those people that might actually already know, but have some doubts. Gave me some good insight, thanks.

  319. Tazz says:


    The only way to buy it is either from the owner or the registrar. You could try back-ordering it from anyplace such as Afternic, namewinner… Almost all registrars now offer back-ordering. You have to decide its worth, in time and value. Maybe you are better off channelling your energy into other aspects of your work. But if you read this blog post and all of these posts, you are guided.


  320. > You could try back-ordering it…

    I know from experience that backordering fails most of the time. It’s a complete waste of money. There are too many players out there using software to snatch up dropped names, some of which barely have any reseller value. I challenge anyone to post a comment here who has used a domain registrar (e.g. GoDaddy) backordering service and won your desired domain name.

    If you really want a name, best thing to do is follow the advice that’s offered by Mike Davidson at the top of this page: use the power-snatchers–and be prepared to pay a premium.

  321. michelle says:

    Thanks for your help.

    I do have a follow up question. Since this is a domain registration company that owns it, shouldn’t i just be able to buy it directly from them? I’ve tried contacting them twice, but they never got back to me.

    This domain is strictly used for bringing people to view the registrars website… which would seem like they are willing to sell it…

    So, why would they continue to register the name year after year if they’re not willing to sell it?

  322. > So, why would they continue to
    > register the name year after year
    > if they’re not willing to sell it?

    The registrar in question probably wants to keep the name because it brings in valuable type-in traffic to their website (I assume that it’s a .COM name.)

    The registrar holding the name will probably only respond to your messages if a) they believe your offer is serious and b) you are offering a considerable premium for the name, i.e. an offer that would be too tempting to refuse.

  323. EntityX says:

    Hey, thanks for this article. I have been playing around expired domains lately and your article really helped me understand alot of the procedures involved.


  324. ManxStef says:

    Superb article, it’s been really informative and helpful, thanks Mike!

    Just thought I’d contribute with a little tip that a lot of Mac users with modems forget: OS X has fax capabilities built-in. You can even fax via Bluetooth if your mobile phone supports it. While faxing is indeed for dinosaurs, it does come in useful every now and again when dealing with antiquated businesses. No help to the PC owners out there but handy if you’ve got a Powerbook, as Mike mentions he has.

  325. Ellen says:

    The domain name I want was backordered by 20 people — it has just gone into auction at snapnames.

    Is there any strategy I can use here that might help or should I just decide my own maximum and send in my proxy?

    Is there any value in playing with the timing of the bidding?

  326. All this is very interesting. I was looking to buy up expired domain names in order to get their linkbacks and pr and redirect it. But after reading all this, it seems to me that whichever site that you are trying to get must have a hell of alot of inbound links for it to be worth it. Also it should not be blacklisted in the PR section.

  327. Tazz says:

    Ref to post #9767, yes this is correct. I recently came across a clear message for future sites about WordPress, and here goes the notice:

    For various reasons related to our WordPress trademark, we ask if you’re going to start a site about WordPress or related to it that you not use “WordPress” in the domain name. We’re not lawyers, but very good ones tell us we have to do this to preserve our trademark.

    We’ve told this to anyone who has ever asked us, we just wanted to make it public so more people could be aware of this policy.

  328. Congratulations Mike for your nice, interesting and teaching story.

    I`m into the domain market as hobby from a few months but I`m into the e-commerce from mid 2000.

    I have a few questions for you and/or the experts:

    1) ICANN knows the worth of domains but is not doing much to protect registrant`s privacy (they are complaining about the % of .com owners` details being wrong or missing). Furthermore, ICANN is not listening a big honest ( in my modest opinion only ) company as SNAPNAMES who does not hide the post-backorder-auction process like POOL does. If ICANN makes a mistake who is supposed to check the are doing a good job? I`m not an american but I`m not against USA, not at all, since I did cried too on Sept 2001, BUT : I don`t like that only USA is controlling the WWW. I would much prefer a worldwide organization totally independent , jut similar to the United Nations.

    2) if, like I suspect , some registrars buy back-ordered or other valuable domains who is going to check these things that to me are simply e-crimes considering the worth of domain names as digital real estate property?

    3) did anyone notice that VeriSign own a website called :
    If I was in the USA , I was opening the eyes of some autorities…..just checking you never know but I`m having some bad feelings.

    4) Why this so much big industry does not start to be regulated (ALWAYS POINTING TO ICANN HERE) in a way that every CCTLD has same rules? Here we`re assisting that some CCTLD like the canadian .ca are open only to canadian citizens, we can register the word sex in many countries but not in all of them, China is trying to create another sort of ICANN with their own domains…….and many other issues. Still I have to hear that americans complain that they can`t register .EU ………………do they forget that europeans CAN`T register .US ?????
    On another side we can, all the world can, register domais in little countries like pacific islands who created their domain registry JUST to join this BIG MONEY MAKING INDUSTRY.
    And registrars are HAPPY. VERY HAPPY. More domain extensions ? NO THANKS !
    Otherwise, too much means less value. Think about it.
    Thanks in advance for your answers.

  329. Here, again me just to let you know that one of my fear is finding food for itself, have a look here:

    especially where this (probably to be a reseller) writes:

    The basics
    You own and control your domain name
    Some registrars sneakily register domain names in their own name, we don’t. Your domain is yours to keep and do with as you wish.

    All of this should move some kind of FBI or is it just my crazy idea that some players in the domain industry are commiting crimes?

  330. Kintoo says:

    ~ || Kintoo || ~

    Well Nice Article. if i would know this details before 3 years . i cud have spent 280 US $.

    i wanted my Name as Domain. but its was under occupancy by Nwy York Company who was asking me $ 280 for transfer.

    i was very picky….
    (1) i wanted my domain by regular price ($10…lol)
    (2) i wanted to register my domain on my Birthday so i can have gift my slef and remember it for ever…(trick to never forget to renew)

    after 3 year constant waiting.. cheking every year… cheking the url …. finally i GOT it in 8.95 $ dollar and on my Birth day……

    BUT…. Your Article really helped me , as i was unaware of the back order… .. now i am here to look for another… domain name which is under 75 day period….

    i hope.. ke … nobody will renew / snach / bid/ back order it. once i get this… believe me i will happy.. other wise .. i will try to BID next time.. for any domain.. for my rest of life….

    sorry for my boreing story but… just wanna share movement…..

    Thnaks for you information… i reallly appriciated it..

    and thanks for othre.. to read this…..

    http://www.Kintoo.Com (you can see if you wish .but i need to modify)

  331. Aiden says:

    Great article! Thanks for taking the time to write this out, I found it enlightening and well written! No kudos link – so will just assign you 10.

  332. Fay says:

    Great article. I once had a domain stolen from me by a shady registrar. I bought the .info domain from him for about $300 and then he did not give me full access or I was too new that I did not know how to change my password. He billed me wrong for rerenewing and when I requested a credit for 1 year, he cancelled the whole payment and the domain retroactively expired.

    Do you know of a way to try and bid on a domain before it expires?

  333. Jen Silva says:

    I am addicted to browsing the dictionary domains from this site,, they have Japanese, Spanish, Vietnamese, and other word lists that I use to spot out good domains. One-word popular English domains are hard to find at a bargain these days.

  334. justbn says:


    I have a request/suggestion for your Blog and the comments. Because there were SO many comments, I got tired of reading them and only wanted to find the new posts/comments from you. I thought of searching for “Mike Writes”. Unfortunately, your comments uses “Mike Writes” as an image which can’t be searched for.

    Can you do something to make it easier to find your comments or additions?

  335. cumba says:

    Here is really great. people are writing to this blog since last year.
    About my domain problem, ı was searching through google and find this blog easily. My little question is, I have been after a domain for more than 5 years. The registrar is always a domain/hosting company who creates a record for a year and then I wait for 70 days. Before the end of 75 days I do not know how but another domain company updates the record for another year. This keeps happening every year. This year I was expecting to receive it but I saw that 10 days ago, another company (directnic) updated the record for another year.Would it helped if I had back ordered? Do I have to bid to the domain company ? What else I can do? Because these guys make me follow them each year and do not let go the domain I want.
    Thanks for any comments and experiences.

  336. fay says:

    Why don’t you contat them directly and offer to purchase it.

  337. Chris says:

    WOW! I had no idea that it was so convoluted to get an expired domain… at least a popular one. Thanks for the details!

  338. Nora says:

    Hi there,
    @Sunny – Sedo is not a registrar! They offer a domain marketplace, parking program, escrow service as well as domain appraisals, a brokerage service and the option to sell websites.
    Great article, Mike!

  339. Etienne says:

    Are you aware that offers it’s “snatching-service” for newly registered .EU Domains as well ?

    They say they will try to register the domain name for you on April 7 (day, the landrush period starts) before any other provider. If you are the only one wanting to have the domain name you’ll get it for 60 Euro, if there are others, bidding starts.

    Do you have any idea about the possible success with acquiring domain names ? Because if I pre-register with any other domainprovider, they just charge 20 euros or so.



  340. Meetrus says:

    I saw this situation from another side. I lost one domain due to expiration. That was an old project that run on autopilot. Domain was prepaid for few year and actually that was no one who monotored expiraion date for this domain. And once when I visited that site I found completely different site. Checking whois data show me that now that domain belongs to someone else. Thanks Mike for this article!!

  341. OingoBoingo says:

    Domaining/Parking Domins is a multimillion dollar buisness
    There is no rules and a lot of gray areas
    If you are going after a quality name that either has inherent value or traffic the “Big Fish” will eat your lunch they have money coming out of the Wazoo (and virtually no expenses) . and are it but play even with the other mediocre snatchers. (They might pull a fluke)
    Everybody is in it for the money including some of the posters (registrar’ employees) and some others using affiliate links.
    No I didn’t save a bunch of money by switching to GEICO neither I stayed at the Holiday Inn.

  342. Jack says:

    Very nice article. I’ve used a few times before and always gotten good results. It’s helpful to see reviews of all the drop services in one place though.

  343. Dave Zan says:

    Jack, this is one business where everything and anything goes. One BO service will outdo the other one moment, the other will outdo the first the next.

    Snapnames seems to be doing better these past few months. But that could change soon if Pool especially discovers something SN doesn’t, especially with at least one expert on their side. ;)

  344. Mike says:

    Hi Jack, TY for the heads up on the process. Does anybody know of people offering the same services in the UK? I’ve a client who wants to buy an expiring domain but only wants to use a UK based company to do it!


  345. I am very disappointed to say that my domain was taken from me – THE DAY AFTER IT EXPIRED! How did this happen? Enom Inc is the new registrar, and has parked one of those awful keyword ad landing pages there.

    Should I threaten to contact ICANN about this or would it do any good?

    What can I do to get it back?????

  346. Ash says:

    Hi Mike,

    You said that you for a time though about beating goDaddy and trying to snatch the domain manually. Could you give a brief despription of how does one do that. I would eventually employ a drop catcher to have the domain name that I want, just to be safe. But however I would like to know the manual method also for information sake.


  347. Great article and thread. This is honestly the longest thred on the internet I have seen. I learnt so much about this process that really was mysterious. You have saved me at least $18.95 backorder fees.

  348. who is says:

    Good info. Saving my money in future.

  349. Amber Baker:
    As I understand article, situation with “what will happen the day after” is not documented with official rules except one of last registrator of your domain. Yes, most of registrators with good reputation follows this rules and give opportunity to keep domain even after expiration date. But may be your domain was registered with not so fair registrator who sold your domain to one of his client as soon as domain became expired… May be the firs step you should make is contact with your domain registrator?

  350. Amber Baker says:

    I was able to squak enough to get my domain back. Maybe they didn’t sell it, but allowed someone to park their page there… I don’t know, but I don’t care as long as I still own my business name.

    Thanks guys for all the great info and comments!

    Good luck sniping!

  351. Ken says:

    Good Story.

  352. Dan says:

    I think the mystery $369 domain was

  353. Mike says:

    Great story … I searched in Google and your site came up #1. Answered most of my questions about the process. I guess i’m going to sing up on!

  354. The V says:


    Really enjoyed your story. Thanks. Have backordered with goDaddy. Suppose it’s a waste of money if my chances are rather slim.

    Does anybody know the best place to list domain names that one wishes to sell? I want to sell some of my names to help pay for my wedding! names like –,,,,,, amongst others.

    Any feedback would be appreciated!

  355. FaeLLe says:

    Damn 354 comments this is fast gaining to be a record.

    @The V: Well you can put you domains up for sale on TDNA (another service) or i am sure you could sell your domain on too ?

    Good luck……

    - FaeLLe

  356. Witek says:

    Hi The V,

    when is your wedding? Don’t expect to sell it fast. I recommend to list it on and/or

    Good Luck!

  357. The V ( says:

    Wedding’s in July – so i guess i am being too optimistic.

    is it worth paying afternic to join them?, are you interested in and and

  358. Sedo and afternic are both good places to sell domains, but takes a little bit of time. is a good place to sell domains quickly.

  359. Great Article Thanks! I am in the position to snatch one for my online startup diary.

  360. Caleb says:

    I just came across this post while searching for info on how to gain traffic from expired domains simply because it was suggested on WarriorForrum that John Reese bought alot of domain names in bulk to get his many adsense sites going in under 120 days which produced a little over 500k.

    Although,I realize I can buy one domain and have sub-domains underneath.

    But my question is: will I have to wait 40-75 days for any expired domain I want? This is not efficient…is there another alternative…what about expired domains that are truly expired instead of being about-to-be expired?

  361. Dave says:

    What a dirty business this domain “snatching” is.

    I read your domain expiry proceedure with interest and subsequently I found that a site I was interested in aquiring had recently expired.

    Great I thought – lets go get an interest in a backorder registered.
    It had expired March 11th 2006, it was April 16th – getting late but still time I thought (Mike gave that 40+30+5 day timespan)

    But no, the domain was in “closed” auction – tough luck I was told.
    What tee’s me off is that Networksolutions – have registered the expired domain in their name and are basically calling the shots to their own time table.
    So a word of warning to readers, perhap. There doesn’t seem to be any specific time span proceedure followed by some registrars. And they will grab domains of interest for their own controlled sales exploitation.

  362. Witek says:

    Caleb, you can find the database of *truly expired* domains on or

  363. LizzeyDripping says:

    Would really appreciate if anyone can advise – the domain I am after has been detagged and the owner has excluded themselves from whois. Domain expired on 10th April. If there is no registrar for the domain, what happens then?

  364. Dave says:

    Just a comment on the “dirty business” of domain snatching message I posted earlier.

    After some communications with involved parties it was made clear to me that NetworkSolutions operate a “Transfer Fulfillment policy” where they can auction a site off only 35 days after expiry. Domains that interest them will then be exclusively offered to snapnames for resale.

    The domain owner relinquishes all rights to the domain after that 35 day period. There is no follow on Redemption period.

    So if you host with NetworkSolutions beware.
    And Mikes 75 day timespan is not “standard” in fact the registrars can play it out pretty much as they please.

  365. This must be the definitive page on this topic, right. I found it as the first result on my google query for EXPIRING DOMAINS. Congrats on this great post and the follow up comments.

    My learning from all this is that I am going to stick to GoDaddy Backorder, which means I will get an expiring domain name only if no one else wants it. :-(

    Hey cool live comment preview too. Just noticed it.

  366. Mr Books says:

    Very interesting story


    I want to ask you as expert, What’s the resource of the expired domains lists ?

    Thanks in advance

  367. carlos the jackal says:

    So whats the fooking domain name then ?

  368. rex says:

    For all of those that want to know, the domain name is:





  369. Mike D. says:

    Hahahah… thanks Rex. I think the repeating four times should do the trick. Hopefully. :)

  370. aguyinoz says:

    Thanks for the heads up on this fascinating world of expired domains. Before perusing this blog I was thinking of grabbing a min of 100 domains, thought it would be a no brainer, obviously I was wrong! Nice while the thought lasted, for it’s now back to buying 50K of redirected traffic a month @ $400 bucks a pop.


  371. Nice article. Are there any more expired domain snatchers than the 3 mentioned in the article now? I would think someone else got into the business.

  372. Amie says:

    Great article. I was sitting here wondering about how to grab a domain for my step-father. He has a construction business. We have the .net and .org, but not the .com. It expires at midnight tonight, or so I thought. Now I know I don’t have to stay up all night waiting for it to kick the bucket.


  373. Just Another Commentor says:

    Ok, but what’s the domain name?!
    J/K… :-P

    Seriously, I read all 372 comments, and by now, the words ‘news’ and ‘vine’ have lost all meaning. I’ve read them so many times I don’t even recognize them as English anymore. Frightening…


  374. Em says:

    Wow! it is very rare to have both an interesting article and a HUGE amount of replies that are extremely enlightening

    I am interested in this one .com which is Deleted/On hold whatever with an australian registrar but am not willing to pay more than 50 bucks for it (it is for a non-commercial site). I was shocked to find that it had expired in the first place considering who its previous owner was. Not that they used it but i understood why they owned it.

    I was notified of the sale through a spam mail offering me to buy it for a large amount by, who are appearantly a very dodgy pseudo-dropshark that are merely out to scam. At least that is what the google search brought up with more than one link! Posted this bit just to inform people, i did not do business with them.

    This blog entry proved highly informative and made clear that I for one do not plan on using any of the sharks and pay through the roof. I will just keep my fingers crossed and check alot. After all I already own the .org and that generates enough traffic as it is.

    Thanks for posting it, and thanks to virtually all posters for their insightful replies.

  375. Chris says:

    Hi, interesting and valuable information on this site.
    Now m Problem: I got my eyes seet on a .net-domain which has already expired and is now in Redemptionperiod.
    However, Redemptionperiod shpuld have been over by April 26, that’s waht whois says. Bu it is still in Redemptionperiod, No Pending delete, No pending Restore, no drop.
    Ist there anything I can do but wait?

  376. Peter says:

    I wish i had read this sooner. I have recently wasted a lot of time and money on scripts, software and effort trying to grab a domain i have had my eye on for a couple of years… and missed out.

  377. Rajeev says:

    Thats a Strong Article. It helped me a lot and right now i have 3 domains on auctions through snapnames. Wonder why i never thought of it before.. The best part of the article itself is the other Auctioneer whome i never knew like pool for instance. But i think snap names is great. And one more thing… your DOMAIN IS GREAT !!! i just checked it on alexa… and BINGO you have a traffic to kill

    Frankly you have helped… if i knew this thingy a year ago i would have been a millionaire today… Better late than never :))

  378. Web says:


    I am still in the 107 post.
    But i would like to set-up a service to check domain names, basically offering some kind of service like dropwatch does. I presume i would need a script to check the whois database, then page rank, alexa etc…
    Are there any open source scripts that already provide something similar, or would i have to start from scratch, or, it there any other way to do it?


  379. Aardwolf says:

    Oh the irony is killing me so I just have to share this. After spending about 3 hours last night reading every single comment on this topic I went to play around with to see what names were already expired and available that I might be able to snap up (just buy, not backorder). Of all the things, I was able to pick up :)

  380. Web says:


    Do all drop catchers have the same lists of expired domains? What is the database that the drop catchers consult in order to create their lists of expired, soon to expire, etc domains?

  381. What is the best service to use if the domains is registered with InterNic?

  382. Lucky B says:

    Well I have been waiting for the “inevitable” increase in my PR for the last 2 years; and I use the word ‘inevitable’ rather quite losely.

    Yes I am doing something wrong and I just can’t seem to get it right. In my quest for the ‘seo grail’ I landed up content of same nature. Content dealing with Expired Traffic. Its also known by different keywords, or rather should I say, Adwords, such as but not limited to Expiring Traffic, Expiring Domains, Deleting Domains, Deleted Domains, Drop Names, etc etc etc.

    Of course, in this ever so crowding cybersphere (don’t bother I already checked it and its taken) I have landed up on this particular content the third time. Figuring that the power of three might prove to be a charm, I was dismayed as it only works for WB Charmed Girls.

    I have read so many articles talking about the same thing when it comes to name drops that I think I could start writing, or at least, parphrasing them name earning some Adsense revenue. However, what I have started to think is that getting listed in Dmoz or yahoo might still happen; of course I am still not listed there. I think getting a PR5 expired domain with high link popularity is much harder than the DaVinci code itself.

    P.s. If anyone wants to help me then please by all means do contact me; I know wishful thinking! ((smokes his pipes or even dreams away)

  383. Dustin says:

    Question: How can you identify an expired domain name if the whois record does not show it has expired?

  384. Volker says:

    great article
    thanks for the information
    How can you identify an expired de. domain?

  385. Amie says:

    I’m back. The domain I’m waiting for is in PENDING DELETE status. I was kind of spooked the other day when I got an email from a site (not pimpin’em here!) saying that they owned the domain and if I want it, fork over $199! Now, at the moment I don’t see that anyone *owns* it. I’m registered with GoDaddy (I can’t afford the other options) and I”m wondering how this other site has my name. I also went to those other sites above that list expired domains and it wasn’t listed there.

    So, how did they find me? Any help would be appreciated.


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  387. Matt says:

    Hey Mike,
    Although I found it a bit late, this is a great article. One question though:
    Now that we all know the domain name, and we know what you were planning while you were trying to acquire the name, what would you have done if you didn’t get it? Did you have backup names for Newsvine? A better question would be… can a business name really rely that much on domain name availability, or do considerations need to be built into the business plan? Changing the name of your entire project seems like a BIG consideration. I’m just curious to hear your take on this…


  388. Kathryn says:

    Your article has convinced me that my lawyer does not have an IT clue about the ‘robbery’ of domain names. I am now better armed to pursue my tag agent for mismanagement. Nobody could tell me the ICANN process when domain names have gone into suspension. It happened to me recently. My .com domain was pinched within 35 days of suspension (my tag agent had not informed me). I was lucky to be able to re-purchase my version. (Nominet are very helpful and told me the full process).
    I was able to track down the new owner of my .com domain and have nearly completed the transaction to re-purchase.
    This type of ‘game’ is really bad news for small traders who are so busy trying to make their business work, they don’t realise their shop window has just disappeared out of the sky.
    Surely with all the clout you have in the US you can get some kind of legislation going on this. Perhaps we could get together as a global force to create change?
    I was a bit nervous when the guy I’m purchasing back the domain from mentioned that he will transfer my details to GoDaddy. I’m still nervouse after what I have read here.
    Could my domain be grabbed before my purchase is complete?
    I am asking for the transfer to be made to my new (honest) tag agent. I assume this should not be a problem?
    Thanks once again for your information.

  389. P0sitiveG says:

    What this article has reaffirmed to me, is that the DNS is broken.
    The middlemen have taken over.

    What is needed is a Jesus in the Market place scenario, if that’s a fair anology. These domain name prospectors or domain typo folks are leeches. Why are people making millions off this, talk about the anti-Internet, the DNS is a pox.

    An entirely new name resolution mechanism needs to be created to allow for instant access to names (sort of what RFC1918 and NAT have done to limit the IPv4 crunch). Some sort of P2P DNS, no central authority, now single servers to crash, allow a way for anyone to register any kind of name and still have it be unique. Oh and be rock solidly secure (right).

    Maybe move away from English style tags altogether, or English names coupled with GPS data, something.

    Pie in the sky? Maybe? But you never know, this is the Internet after all, all bets are off. Established norms can and will be broken. VoIP anyone?

  390. Leon says:

    I’m after a recently expired domain that is owned by Registrar: MELBOURNE IT, LTD. D/B/A INTERNET NAMES WORLDWIDE

    They don’t have a formal backorder service, just an ambiguous “show interest” form for no cost, with details that say they will contact you when/if it becomes available. I’m a newbie at this, but it SEEMS to me that letting them know I am interested will just prompt them to keep it and just try to charge a high fee to obtain it.

    Am I right? Am I better just registering with all the major domain “catchers”, and NOT letting them know of my intent.

    P.S. For the benefit of me and others, if anyone who replies cares to give us a current/updated list of which/how many services to use to increase the probability of success, sir would be GREATLY appreciated.

    Thanks in advance.

  391. procrastinator says:

    A relative of mine has a small business and her son registered the business name under the .com but never did anything worthwhile with it.

    When she hired a lazy web designer to work up the site for real (more of a favor to the person learning to be a webdeveloper than to kickstart the business onto the web), that person couldn’t figure out how to ‘get’ the domain or the ftp access to it so instead registered a new business name under .net and now several web designers later its fallen into my hands to manage the site.

    So it occurred to me to grab onto the .com domain and have it point to the other site. Language barriers and procrastination on everyone’s part left the .com to expire.

    So recently I get a wild hair and go to check on it only to find that some entity in hong kong now is the proud owner of ‘our’ .com name along with thousands of others: it appears that whomever this is at is a modern-day webpirate who surfs the web looking for wayward expiring domains and pillages them from the ether in hopes of being able to hold the domain a virtual-hostage and ask for outrageous amounts of money to ‘sell’ the domain name to prospective buyers.

    From netsearching I’ve discovered that apparently this is like one of those ‘work at home’ and make money affairs that everyone gets spammed into their emailboxes. Only, this cat is reallly doing it.

    Thinking someone will pay $900 USD for a domain name.

    I :-) back at him and told him: sorry, its not worth that much. Good luck with that.

    Now he wants to bargain/deal with me. hmm. lets see… this has dragged out for months/years now and i’m in no hurry to get it so nah, I’ll procrastinate some more…

    Thanks for telling your story. I found it interesting and the blogging responses very entertaining and informative. Good luck with your new (expensive) domain :-)

  392. Rob says:

    I had a similar experience with a certain Wang Lee, based out of Hong Kong. For one reason and another (and another) I’d let a domain expire that I’d registered for a friend. It was his main site, where all his email went through, his design portfolio, etc – it was Oops.

    Anyway, Wang Lee snatched it, so I emailed him asking if I could have the domain back. The response – yeah, $900 please (my response – f*** off, idiot.)

    About 2 hours later – strangest thing, I go to my usual domain registrar, and see if I can bag the .net or .org version as a kind of consolation for my friend, and there is the .com available again… I bought it.

    In your face Wang Lee!

  393. Dean Russell says:

    I would hate to say anything bad about a recommendation made here, BUT…
    SNAP BACK is NOT a good idea.
    You will be able to get your domain name, by using THEIR domain parking service, or even their web/domain service.

    THE CATCH!!!
    I had the opportunity to snag and DID snag a fantastic website name using this service..
    The catch came when I tried to transfer the domain to another agent.
    1. They have a required parking time you MUST use their servide.
    2. When the time is up, they stalled my effort to switch and eventually sole the domain name right from under me.

    So ultimately.. I paid them to make $. They blocked my attempts to switch parking services, refused to unlock the block and when my domain expired, it was sold for very big $$ to DELL computers doing a new launch product.
    I made formal and unanswered complaints with every governing body of internet domain names..
    I tried to find the company and make a complaint IN PERSON.
    CAYMAN ISLAND COMPANY (no real address)
    RUN by the same company who TOOK the domain name and sold it.
    Also a CAYMAN ISLAND COMPANY (no real address)

    For anyone not in the know about ‘cayman island business’
    Its the main stomping ground of any fraudulent or big business company that wants to escape legal actions.

    I will admit I ‘could’ have been smarter and found this out sooner.
    But my advice.
    DO it the old fashion way.. AND WAIT, or check the expired and available names lists.

    This company is a scam.

  394. gl says:


    Question?? When you say snap back is not a good idea…….was it

    As I have had an awful time transferring from the registrars they have sent domains to that I have acquired. Big pain in the ass…..however I have had one transfer (out of a dozen or so). And I’ve been wondering if they were legit….. I know pool is very hidden as to “who” they are. Would not recommend them to anyone.

  395. Justin says:

    Hi -

    I work for one of those registrars, and although I skipped through a few of the posts in the middle, I did enjoy the article (although some information is slightly incorrect) timeframes on Redemptions and exact timing on when domains become available by the registry.

    I can say this though to the poster from a few posts back. Yes, domain capturing is a growing business. A lot of people and business’s simply fail to renew there domains and will often times let them slip through the cracks. I personally search expired and auctioned domain names in an attempt to aquire and resell, or if enough traffic is still going through them, set up pay per click links.

    I can say that I did manage recently to purchase a 3 letter domain name from someone I found. I purchased it for practically nothing (less then $100). I resold it last month for almost $20,000 – no joke.

    I can tell you this with certainty – Domains are virtual real estate. Buy now while you can!

  396. Aron says:

    ok, so what if a squatter reg’s your business’s registered (inc-ed) name, is there a quick icann form to file and get it back.
    or do i need a lawyer?

  397. Trish says:

    Mike, or anyone out there…
    Can you advise at all. Confused and dazed, to say the least!
    But first, thanks for the stacks of info in here, truely helpful…

    The .com I wish to “nab” is sitting at REGISTRAR-LOCK status. Hmmm
    Tucows whois search shows a last updated of 6 Apr 06, but the whois search shows a different date of 29 Jun 05 !! EH !

    Also, any idea what this means?
    EPP Status: clientUpdateProhibited
    EPP Status: clientTransferProhibited
    EPP Status: clientDeleteProhibited

    I have no idea if this .com domain is about to come free, or what?
    It’s expiry date is Oct 06.

    Any suggestions on what my next move is on this one?

  398. Harry says:

    Good to read, thanks.

  399. Robert says:

    Thanks for sharing, very valuable read!

  400. Sukanta says:

    Hi Mike,
    First of all thanks a lot on sharing this informations on snatching of expiring domains. They are really helpful and cleared a lot of doubts regarding the process.

    However, I have a couple of questions.
    1) Is this verisign server, from where these companies snatches the domain names available for public access? Where is this server located?
    2) If answer to my first question is yes, then is there even a possiblity to write a code similar to the other snatchers to do the same thing. Do you need to be a domain registrar for that?

    Hope to get an answer on this.


  401. Patrick says:

    I’ve been waiting on a domain to come available so I’ve been going to almost daily and searching to see if it was free yet. It finally dropped only to be snatched immediately by

    I emailed them and asked how much they wanted for it. The answer? $3900.

    I told them to keep it and to choke on it.

    This sort of thing isn’t right.

  402. Steve says:

    Congrats Mate!

    Well deserved I say! I’m looking at grabbing 2 domains atm one for business one for me :D

  403. Josh says:

    great article, i have been attempting to obtain some expired domains names for month but without much luck and I dont much trust the domain registratars “back order” features. but i might give POOL.COM a try… thanks for the into, its tough to get a good domain now days…

  404. Patrick says:


    wanglee apparently released the domain after I refused to pay him $3900 for it. I just went to check its availability, on a whim, and sure enough, there it was!!

    I snagged it, FINALLY.

    Screw you, Wang.

  405. Sean says:

    Nice post, it’s really a nice read. I’ve had similar experiences and also have dealt with several customers of an expired domain service and have had to explain how much of a chase may ensue for the REALLY nice properties.

  406. 419 says:

    can you stagger this entry so it appears at 419?
    The nigerian scam number is 419
    will tell you about it
    I think the ICANN situation is open to abuse
    and the scammers have already spotted this
    419 beware

  407. Jack says:

    Hah. About a month ago, I stumbled in here and found what you wrote to be most informative. I have a few domains, probably about 20, all that have been registered out of the blue, with no prior owners until just recently. I had an idea for a site, and wanted to register the domain in case the idea went through. I jumped over to GoDaddy, my registrar of choice and found that the domain was in fact, already registered, but that it had Expired roughly three weeks before. So, after reading your article, I decided to backorder it through GoDaddy and leave it at that. I know this is the least effective option, but after dealing with GoDaddy, I can say that in my experience, it isn’t an option. Backordering a ~20 fee for automated checking of a domain every now and then, watching the domain’s status, I knew when it entered the deletion period and I waited and refreshed GoDaddy the day it “dropped” expecting to find the “last checked” time updating every minute or so looking for the domain. Anyway, long story short. GoDaddy didn’t check the domain until 6pm that night after it had already been picked up by snapnames. While I know GoDaddy wouldn’t have beaten Snapnames, it would have been nice to have seen them make an effort.

    I cruised over to and checked the availability of the domain there. I found it available (which I guess means I could have used snapname’s cheapest service and gotten the domain.) Great I thought…. I’ll pick the domain up here and transfer it. Until I saw the price tag. One hundred thousand dollars. Please tell me this was just an automated first price and it will go down?

    Sorry for the long post. Just pissed off at GoDaddy.

  408. Goldie says:

    Paul….that makes 2 of us! But….what is the domain?

  409. Goldie says:

    Paul….that makes 2 of us! But….what is the domain?

  410. Mani says:

    I just wanted to say Thanks for all the 411. I am thinking of starting up my business and wanted to buy a name that is expired but I seem to be unable to buy it even after 75 days ( actuallys its been 6 months )

    Your article was veryhelpful. Still I am looking for a way to purchase this. I am going to chk out the 3 suggestions have given above and try my luck.


  411. Kim says:

    Great article. I’m so glad that Lifehacker posted a trackback on it.

    I had great success with Snapnames about 5 years ago…when it only cost $35. :0)

    I recently tried to snatch a domain for a client without a service and lost out. It was a pretty specific domain and I didn’t really anticipate that anyone else would want it…who knew? We ended up settling for the .net version.

  412. Hi
    Great Article , U have The art of Writing In ur blood .
    ” This info was very Informative “

    Im also looking forwarding to backorder a domain , Although it’s not sought after now , Its a five letter and By that time five letters might be scarce , the domain might be in for a large fight and i dont have that much of a resources to Get it then .
    Thats why i think the Verisign was very appealing to me .

  413. Lawrence says:

    I tried using GoDaddy back order and it was a hopeless..

    In the end I managed to get the domain myself just by persistance and continually checking on the day it was due for release..

    Therefore I got it where GD failed and I have no back up..

    One odd thing I have noticed with expiring domains is, after the expire date they are given a name of someone who has purchased it.. it looks like someone has already bought it, but in fact this is not the case.. in one instance I even contacted the ‘so called new owners’ and they knew nothing about it…

    So it seems that there are many sneeky tricks involved in this dirty business…

    I was pleased to get the domain as it was for my own design business, .. still not developed the site lol .. but the big intentions are still there.. it’s perfect as it is advertised on almost everyones keyboard already… :-) and I design for Print and Screen
    hence the Print and Screen Company …

    I’ll get round to using it sometime soon.. promise … once I pay the bills and find the time and energy and and … lol

  414. steve says:

    Do you guys know what happens to the page rank of dropped domains. Does it carry over, or disappears. Obviously backlinks are staying, but I am wondering about the PR. Thanks.

  415. About 6-9 months ago google started taking away PR from expired domains that followed the normal drop process. Sometimes you can get lucky and slip through, but most lose it, however it is rather simple to get it back by putting up fresh content if the backlinks to the site are still present.

  416. Jon Payne says:

    Truly a fascinating and entertaining story – yet also educational. I’m currently trying to get a domain that has entered the first expiration phase and deciding whether or not my GoDaddy service is good enough. I’ll take a look to see if its a NetSol domain and if so give SnapNames a shot, perhaps.

  417. Goldie says:

    A word of advice to the domain seeker……..ok 2 words……not

  418. Great article. I’m so glad that Lifehacker posted a trackback on it.

    I had great success with Snapnames about 5 years ago…when it only cost
    $35. :0)

    I recently tried to snatch a domain for a client without a service and lost
    out. It was a pretty specific domain and I didn’t really anticipate that anyone
    else would want it…who knew? We ended up settling for the .net version.

    Settling for the .net version of a domain is not a great choice in my opinion, especially for a client that could spend a lot of money on branding their name. The .net version will always lose traffic to the .com version and hurt the branding of the company especially if the .com is owned by a competitor.

  419. Dave says:

    I agree that the “.com” name is by far the best. For a hobby blogger might not make much difference, but for a serious blogger, it is worth the effort to try to get a “.com” name. There are several tools that can help when it comes to finding a premium unregistered domain name. I mention a few in my blog (; for example – Mozzle has a free tool.

  420. stephen says:

    what was the domain heh?

  421. Erik says:

    Thanks for writing this article. I’m now much more informed in my quest to snatch a domain name.

  422. This is a SUPER article ! mad respect

  423. Nuno says:

    I bought 2 domains from Pool, and got to use 2 crappy registars automatically assigned. One was in Korean!!!
    Eventually I lost them, because I never received the renew alert mail. Money down the drain…

  424. This article really cleared things up for me when I went through this same process.

    I’m quite thankful that the domain I eventually got was only available through one auction service (Namewinner), but the whole deal is still very frustrating, in my opinion.

    Thanks for making it a little less so.

  425. Sir!

    Regardless of, you are one of the best intrigue and suspense writers I have read. I am infrequently mesmerized, but you hooked me! Thank You!!

    Chucky Baby

  426. I snapped a domain in December, which was automatically assigned to “” who, like clockwork, (on approximately the 23rd of every month) has sent me an email, ( starting less than 30 days after the name was placed with them!) with the option to “RENEW NOW” . I’ve been trying to transfer this domain for 9 months now……yes it’s unlocked…yes I waited for the “cooling off period”……They don’t of course have a telephone number to call (that would be toooo easy)….so I filled out their online form…..and am waiting for a response….this is one of the hassles of backordering domains……..

  427. Great article – seems the price you paid was *well* worth it in the end.
    I wish you the best of luck in the future!

  428. Well, I just wrote about this and then a friend pointed me to your article. You have some great information on here.

  429. Larry says:

    Interesting that Godaddy backordering did not work for several people.
    I feel particularly privileged in this matter.
    I had a .com domain name backordered at Godaddy several months ago.
    One week after the domain was de-registered I got notified that Godaddy has successfully captured the domain.

    In the intervening period it was held by a some other registrar.

  430. There are programs (almost like crackers) that ppl in Korea and those foreign countries you see listed as the registers are using. Same concept as you attempting to register it by hand or one of the websites mentioned here. They probably sell them, doubt they are using them. Kind of a bummer. Luckily I was able to do a trade for the domain I already owned in exchange for the one I wanted that was listed on

    This was a great article, you should write a how-to book!

  431. Fulano says:

    For the love of god, the name is
    At least read his articule with the updates before jumping to the comment box to ask.

  432. kreoton says:

    Hi i just intresting where to get xml of expired domains?

  433. Casper says:

    Maybe a distributed computing based technology can be used to beat these few snatchers. i.e. each interested people install a client on the PC and round robinly try to snatch the domain from their PC. If successful, thet get a % fee for it :-)

  434. annoynymous says:

    “Since I was at home that day and only dinosaurs still have fax machines, I was unable to increase my bid.”

    You know, it’s too bad that no one has thought of offering fax service free to anyone who has internet access. Because after all, googling for the terms:
    free web to fax
    turn up absolutely no hits.

  435. anon says:

    OK, Newsvine is quite a nice name – but it’s hardly something you couldn’t equal with a bit of imagination. Was all this time and expense worth the effort of saving a few minutes’ thinking?

    (Editor’s Note: Ok, take your own challenge then. You’ve seen Newsvine… you’ve seen the company and brand we’ve built. You have three minutes (a “few”) to come up with a better domain name (that’s available). Go!)

  436. wow…great article! I am looking at a domain that “expired” several days ago and had *no* idea about “the drop”. Now, fully informed, I can make plans on trying to capture it.

    It’s not do-or-die for me, so I am going to skip the expen$ive services and give it a go DIY.

    Thanks, again, for the information!

  437. jeff says:

    Very helpful article! I used snapnames to pick up a domain and it worked great. The domain at in expiration for 40 days, and then I picked it up for $65. Weird thing was, I got an email from a company called Webname Solution the day before offering to sell me the domain for $199.95. I totally freaked out…but relaxed after research the company a bit and finding out that this is just a scam they do to you if they know you own related extensions. Jerks.

  438. Eve says:

    Mike, or Anyone,
    Could you please give your suggestion of the top Backorder sites that can hold a CO.UK address for me? Snapnames wouldn’t do the names I wanted.

  439. Kaden says:

    Hi Mike!

    Real usefull and interesting article. Unfortunately, like some other readers, I found it too late:( But as somebody said – its better late than never:)

    PS I agree with justbn – Mike – Could your answer be marked with text (not with image) – it will be much easier to find for us using Ctrl+F.

  440. Howard says:

    Any of you ever had any luck at grabbing 3 letter .com domains? or do the likes of grab them themselves and auction them?

  441. 3 letter .com domains are selling for at least $5k, the days of catching or registering a 3 letter .com are long gone. You definitely have to fight for it at auction if it drops.

  442. Howard says:

    Thanks for the response, interestly none of the attempts i’ve made via on TLA’s have even had the courtesy of a ‘you failed’ email. It just sits there while the domain disappears into (I guess) auction.

    On a similar vein, I have been trying out godaddy, and snapnames. One particular ‘Gotcha’ with godaddy is that buried in their T&C’s is they ‘can take two weeks to transfer the domain’ and also more worryingly ‘during that period the original registrant can exercise right to buy back’ I dont know how the hell that is legal after the deletion occurs. But two weeks is a long time if your buying residual traffic! Interestingly the domain drops IMMEDIATELY into godaddy’s new adwords for domains parking, which the owner does not see anything from unless they buy into their scheme!

    So unless i’ve got things completely wrong, i’ve bought a domain which the registrar is not transferring immediately to me, and in the mean time godaddy is profitting from my traffic! seedy world this domain business.

  443. Neale says:

    Thank you for taking the time to write this article :)
    All the info I needed in one place, perfect.

  444. TonyUK says:

    Very well written article.
    I am after a domain name and after checking out the WHOIS info it comes up as follows

    Registrar: DOTSTER, INC.
    Whois Server:
    Name Server: NS4.NAMERESOLVE.COM
    Name Server: NS3.NAMERESOLVE.COM
    Name Server: NS2.NAMERESOLVE.COM
    Name Server: NS1.NAMERESOLVE.COM

    Is there any advantage using SnapNames, Enom or Pool to try and grab the name or is there another client better suited than the big 3 for grabbing the name I am after having seen the WHOIS info above?

  445. Howard says:

    A question on residual traffic. I’ve had some very poor experiences of buying domain names for residual traffice. Domains listed as having 30,000+ visitors a month on the likes of droppatrol or sedo actually delivering less than 100 uniques per month.

    So my question is in two parts: Are there ANY reliable methods of estimating the residual traffic on a domain? DMOZ listing seems often to be inversely propritional to traffic! And if what I have exerienced is true (and I HAVE been aquiring quite easily some of the top daily listings on droppatrol) does that mean that the traffic guys that claim to deliver huge traffic campaigns to your site based on purchasing expired domains, are all, well lying?



  446. TonyUK says:

    I have registered about 15 domain names so far, none of them snatched as such yet, so has anyone got any URL’s that they are particularly proud of which they think will increase in value or are going to be used personally sometime in the future for your own websites.

  447. Nikolai says:

    Wow, I never thought that getting an expired domain involves this amount of work and energy. Great article and great domain. I wish I own a PR7 domain :-). Thank you for a very informative story.


  448. Austin says:

    Very helpful!

    Do you think some of these sites keep record of how many people “search” for a name? has an area to enter in a search for the domain. Wonder if this puts up “flags” for them to watch that name?

    Also was reading another article on this same subject but they stated other snatching sites. How did you arrive at your “three major domain snatching firms”. The article I was reading was at and they agreed with your recommendtion of, but picked http://www.namewinner and as their other two…..any comment?

  449. Howard says:

    Another question: It would appear that chinese traffic is featuring larger and larger in the domain game, and i’ve found i’ve picked up quite a bit of it almost unintentionally. Does anyone on here have any experience of the best parking sites to monetise chinese traffic through? Sedo appears worse than useless for it.

  450. I’d like to point out something that is being overlooked, and may or may not be significant. But I need to preface it with how I found out about this little “twist”…

    I recently tried to transfer several domains away from NameSecure. It was a couple of days before expiration, and I had no idea that I was in for a go. NameSecure didn’t respond to my transfer request, and so, thinking to pre-empt any loss of Domain Names, I decided to go ahead and renew. I was further relieved to read on their web site:

    “We currently endeavor to provide a grace period that extends of 35 days past the expiration date, to allow the renewal of domain name registration services.”

    You could see the smile on my face, right?


    And thus the horror began. Their site would not allow me to renew and displayed the message: “Cannot process with supplied information”. So, I tried a different credit card. Same thing. I rechecked all inputted data several times. Same response. “Cannot process with supplied information”.

    During this (Presently week long process) I have been sending daily e-mails with no response whatsoever. A casual search of the internet describes similar stories from many people having dealings with

    Upon reading further on their web site, I found the following:

    “If an expired domain name registration is not renewed during any grace period provided by us, pursuant to our Service Agreement, rather than delete the domain name registration, we may, in our sole discretion, attempt to find a third party who is interested in registering the domain name…”

    But they won’t do it until AFTER the grace period:

    “We will not attempt to complete a Direct Transfer of a domain name registration after expiration if the customer to whom the domain name is registered notifies us by submitting a service request form that he or she does not want us to proceed with such a transfer. In this case, the domain name registration will be deleted. A customer’s failure to notify us that they do not want us to complete a Direct Transfer constitutes that customer’s consent to the Direct Transfer.”

    It is pretty obvious from the service agreement that Namesecure has a vested interest in domain names expiring, and falling outside the grace period.

    I wrote a an e-mail and told them not to do the direct transfer, hoping to make them realize there is nothing in it for them. What I am trying to do is get the domain back – But because they won’t respond to me, there isn’t much I can do. These are pretty decent domain names too.

    My suggestion to every one is to do the painstaking read of the service agreement – AND almost every registrar probably has similar verbiage about reselling your domain name. So, if you lose a name, just make sure they don’t profit, and send them a certified letter telling them you don’t want them to “find a 3rd party interested in registering the name” as NameSecure so shrewdly puts it.

    And, do I need to warn about staying away from certain registrar companies?


    Lex Scripta

  451. I am after a domain name and after checking out the WHOIS info it comes up as follows

    Registrar: DOTSTER, INC.
    Whois Server:
    Name Server: NS4.NAMERESOLVE.COM
    Name Server: NS3.NAMERESOLVE.COM
    Name Server: NS2.NAMERESOLVE.COM
    Name Server: NS1.NAMERESOLVE.COM

    Is there any advantage using SnapNames, Enom or Pool to try and grab the name or is there another client better suited than the big 3 for grabbing the name I am after having seen the WHOIS info above?

    Dotster owns and all expiring domains from doster are auctioned of at

  452. Brad B says:

    For a peek into what happens at that 2:00 PM EST “witching hour” when expired domains are slated for deletion, see the transcript of the June 27, 2006 ICANN meeting: Domain Name Marketplace Workshop

    Go about 2/3 down the transcript, where Pat Kane of Verisign starts discussing “add storming”. Fascinating. Some basic stats about this “add storming” period:

    60 million add requests each day for expired domains
    26,000 domain names deleted each day (average)
    Result: about 2,300 requests to acquire each expired domain name (“drop catch”).
    Most all of this activity occurs within the 1:30 to 3:30 PM EST period.

    Over 650 “production registars” participate in this daily random access event to grab these expired domain names.


    And once many are had, they are simply put up for a few days (the five day grace period) to simply see how much traffic is still coming to them OR if the original owner will pay an extreme price to have the name back. If they appear to “pay for themselves” (i.e. they can generate more than the $6 it costs to register them via pay per click traffic), one of these 650 production registrars will fully register them or transfer to the original owner. If not, they are once again dropped and become available (as we have seen from discussions above).

    This explotation of the five day grace period is apparently causing a lot of headaches. Note that some firms are promoting this grace period as a feature service (example: now advertises this as a new “Catch and Release” service). Not really the intended purpose, which was originally provided to give registrars the ability to fix typos or remove registrationis paid for with fraudulent credit cards, etc.

    The posting by “Casper” (#434) raises an interesting concept. To compete in this “wild west random raffle” of expired domain names, why not start a grass roots effort to create a distributed computing grab system and compete with the some 650 others in this market? Well, the first major hurdle is becoming an accredited registrar. For more details see:

    and most importantly note the financial considerations:

    $2500 app fee, $4000 annual dues, $? quarterly ICANN operating expense fee…and at least $70K in the bank for operating expenses. Certainly not unreasonable…but then again, enough of an obstacle to keep any ingenious developer at bay.

    OK. But let’s say we get this behind us (1,000 of us pony up $100 each). Now what? We have to now compete with those 60 million existing add requests hitting Verisign. Some “back of the envelope” technical calcuations.


    Say we aim to get 5% of the names up for grabs. This would mean we need to get in about 3 million add submissions within the 2 hour window. Let’s also assume (unknown!) that a typical add submission is about 5 Kbytes (I really have no detailed knowledge of this exchange, this is a big assumption). This would mean about:

    5 KBytes/submission x 3,000,000 submissions/2 hours = 15 GBytes/2 Hours

    = 2.08 MBytes/sec

    = 16.67 Mbits/sec (8 bits/byte)

    Distribute this among, say, half of our “registered” user base at any given day (500 users) and we only need 0.03 Mbit/sec connections.

    Certainly bandwidth would not be a problem. Even if the add transaction was 50KBytes, we should have no bandwidth restrictions in this distributed model.

    Processes (TCP connections):

    The next question is how many TCP connections (processes) would a single user have to maintain?

    3,000,000 submissions (connections)/500 users = 6,000 connections/user

    This would be over the 2 hour period.

    6,000 connections/7200 secs = 0.83 connections (processes)/sec

    There would definitely be some overlap in processes due to the TCP exchange, but overall this number of processes per user should be easily handled by most computers….especially if they were just “idling” (e.g. in screen saver mode).

    This distributed grab approach for expired domain names is an interesting idea. Technically there appears to be no reason it could not be accomplished.

    The bottom line is would this make economic sense? If we obtained 5% of the expired domain names, this would mean we would get about:

    26,000/day * 0.05 = 1300 domain names/day

    If only 10% of these names could be monetized for at least $10 profit (acquired either by selling the domain or getting PPC revenue) we would have:

    1300 * .1 * $10 = $1300/day

    Give us about 350 good “working” days per year, and we arrive at about $455,000/year. Hmmm. Worth it or not? Game on?

  453. Hi Brad,

    Interesting story. I do however have a few remarks. We are in the expired domain business for a while.

    1. The number of domain names that expire daily is about 60,000.
    2. The major problem is that most domain are not intersted at all. Mybe 100 – 200 domain names are intersted. So every one is hunting at only 100 domains each day. You must be lucky to get 1 domain each day (we don’t get more).
    3. Only 1 out of 30 times the old domain holder is interested in buying his domain name back. And mostly not willing to pay more then 200 dollars. It’s also possible that there is a trademark on the domain and you have to give it back!

  454. Colin says:

    Thanks Mike. I’ve been wondering about the domain drop process for a long time. Thanks for quality information. I would like to post a link to this article on website if that’s ok.

    I have a question: What CMS are you using for newsvine?

  455. It’s not 100 procent possible to prevent domain dropping. Still some tips:

    1. Create unique content with (almost) the same topic as the previous site.
    2. Do NOT put Google Adsense on the new site. This will for 90% kill your SEO. Nore, affiliate links. It’s ok, to add them after a few month.
    3. Keep the down time as low as possible.

    Does anybody have more tips? I like to hear them

    Kind regards

  456. Thomas says:

    Wow… I was very happy to find this article and read through the first hundred replies before gazing down to see exactly how many responses there were… needless to say, i did not read all of the other 300-some queries and answers. But, I do have a question (maybe two), so I apologize if this repeats something covered previously.

    So, a domain that I would like to own expired a couple days ago. It was registered with Is there a primary/exclusive agreement in play for this registrar, like i’ve seen exists between SnapNames and NetworkSolutions? Am I going to have to wait until mid-March for any sort of resolution? I don’t expect that this URL is going to command much heat, its more of a personal interest and it wasn’t being used heretofore and the associated domains are available. Given this scenario, is a backorder on GoDaddy as big of a waste as everyone around here seems to think it is?

    Also, everyone here seems kind of suspicious of all the private elements in this process, is it possible that by making too many inquiries about my desired domain that I may in fact be generating the type of interest that would attract a dropcatcher and lead me to ultimately pay a higher price? Kinda like the old joke where if you call and ask the FBI if they have a file on you, they’ll start one…

    Thanks so much for anyone who can answer these questions for me! And great article and blog, Mike! Congrats on getting your site, it looks great.


  457. Big Al says:

    This is the Holy Grail for FAQ’s on expiring domains……. Bar None.

    My story is way back in early 1997 being new to the web at the time there were only a handful of registrars to work with.
    You were stuck with a .com or .net or .org or .gov
    The old days it was not uncommon to purchases a .com domain from the granddaddy “Network Solutions” for $75 bucks.
    Back then that is what it cost for one domain name and you had to fax proof what your company did and or how you were going to use the new domain (personal / business) E-commerce / on-line ordering, what was that If I am not mistaken SSL / encryption was not even 128 so to order a domain “on-line” was just not there.
    It was a sin to have a .net if you were not a ISP / web related and a .org was for strictly organizations “Blue Cross” Etc.
    So the only variations were some long .com name and at the time ICANN I believe just bumped the maximum characters to 24 (
    Good thing because my company name at the time changed and was exactly 24 characters continuous with no spaces.
    Soon there after our company changed to a 4 character name & it was a rush to get the .com but it was taken already.
    Well back in 1999 the .com I wanted it was expiring and my chance to take.
    NetSol had at the time a service to pick up the drop domain in which I purchased for a good $$$$ amount if I remember.
    Well NetSol never followed thru and a provider in Korea picked up my dream .com.
    I was ferrous, and after many hours on the phone with NetSol & excuses the bottom line was I lost the domain.
    Around 99~2000 they unregulated the .org and .net (or registrars did not need proof of industry) so then the frenzy started al over again.
    Just recently I purchased my long waited .com from the provider in Korea for a undisclosed amount 
    But fortunately during that 7 years I locked up all other possible TDL’s for our company.

    BTW for people that do not to spend 3 hours to read all the blog the domain that Mike has is even though it is listed multiple times throughout the blog some people just want the punch line right now………….

  458. A domain I like on is apparently expired and listed with the following info:

    Registrar: GANDI
    Whois Server:
    Name Server: No nameserver
    Status: pendingDelete
    Expiration Date: 26-oct-2006

    According to it should become available approximately this Saturday, Dec. 30th, 2006, 65 days after expiration.

    Do you know which dropcatchers would be best to use to grab this domain?

    Which dropcatchers can I trust to be really working to help me as opposed to stealing the domain themselves?

    David Notowitz

  459. Any way of finding a list of domains that are about to expired?

  460. A complete list of expired domain names can be found at The list include enom, godaddy, snapnames, pool and many more.

  461. kazama says:

    Great topics.

    Anyway I tried to found the page in for backorder the expired domain. I can’t found any pages for it. Somebody please let me know how I can use service.


  462. You just save my life… thank God i came to this post right on time…

  463. Krzy says:

    Most of this services is not very comfortable if you want see an page rank of current domain. All users wants to buy/sell good-name domains, but not hi-pr ;)

    w1th best regards, krzy

  464. Great story. My domain has a “vine” in it. I didn’t know that it was that popular.

  465. NatC says:

    Anonymous (#434), as of today, you can fax for free from your cameraphone, using That can save life sometimes. :-)

  466. I have a follow up question. Once you have an expired domain, I heard you need to limit the other changes like content and hosting to try and keep from drawing attension that could result in re-indexing or a penalty. Do you have any advice about restarting the site?

  467. Very interesting article but cant those services cheat the people? I mean if you really want the domain you’ll pay a lot and they can just increase the price.

  468. dave says:

    why are domains non transfarable? They can be issued on a first come first server bases for a flat fee. This will elliminate reselling and high prices and secret auctions

  469. This was a great article. I have watched some expiring domains myself and wondered just how hard it would be to take them. On the flip side I have lost domains that were well within the 45 day grace period and had my renewal attempts denied repeatedly. I assumed someone at the registrar had decided it was too good of a name to let go again.

    Is there anything we can do legally to fight back (with any chance of winning on a normal persons budget) against a registrar who it appears has taken our domain away from us within that 45 day period?


  470. wow….very useful indeed..I have tried to watch some domain dropping but no luck getting them, I guess using some of the big guys will stand a better chance

  471. John Trilone says:

    MIKE, IS IT POSSIBLE to search the whois by registrants name or address etc…?

    You the man. Great article.

    P.S. what blog program do you use


  472. Neyadhish Chakma says:

    One fine article. I am impressed the process you had to go through.


  473. Eric says:

    uggg… if only i would have read this first. Very informative article for a very unfortunate person…. me. ha. Thanks again for the knowledge.

  474. Jason says:

    Great article and many informative/inspiring posts. Like many readers I ran across this article while looking into how to obtain an expiring domain. Figured I’d relay my experience:

    I was a bit leary of the drop catchers at first and figured they would rig the bidding and make the price go way up. But the more I read the more I realized that if I wanted this name I would have to employ the big three drop catchers to catch it for me.

    I decided to go the safe route and go through all three (snapnames, pool and enom’s clubdrop), but, before doing my research I had already backordered through Godaddy, which although a great company, their backordering is useless unless the name is registered through them already. Godaddy does however keep you updated with all the name status changes through email (delete pending ,etc).

    So, I backordered and waited for a little over two months for the drop. On the day that the name became available I received an emal from Club Drop telling me that they had successfully captured the name for me. To my surprise, nobody else bid on the name and it was mine for $60 + registration fee.

    So the moral of this story is if you want the name then use the big three to get it for you – it is like buying insurance only you won’t be charged if they don’t catch the name.

  475. rosjen says:

    I have been running my own bot that finds availble short names, I list all them all with the highest value at the top. evisnet

  476. Joe House says:

    I had no problems using list to grab a name. I’m not really doing anything with it, just thought it was good name.

    I’m wondering how much has changed since you originally wrote this 2 years ago, or perhaps my domain just sucks.

    My domain name is

  477. aras says:

    there is something weird about expired domains.
    If no one bids on a domain till dropping period end , it get bought very fast for sure at a very low price.
    I checked many of today’s dropped domains, which were never bided.
    and they were all sold out at the exact day of dropping.
    I check longest & meaningless ones with worst letters. they all sold out.
    what happens to domains after they dropped?
    is there any website to offer dropped domains which you can make a list and as soon as it dropped the site buy it at normal price? (usualy about 5$ to 10$)

  478. aras says:

    maybe my previous post was nonsense.
    my question is what happens to a domain when no one bids for a it at all?
    is there any solution to buy this type of domains?

  479. These domains are now caught by tasters. These people register the domains to try them for a few days, see if they have traffic, then release them again if they don’t. If you like a domain and it is registered the day of deletion and does not go to one of the above mentioned drop catching services, try back in 4-6 days and it may be available again.

  480. Monica says:

    Very nice story, I kinda know how you feel with the bidding against you, was it the company or was it really another bidder :) At the end of the day you got your domain though. A friend of mine has similar scenario, they had website mybst, however they had the uk ending and not the com, and they really realyl wanted it, suprise suprise a few days later out of chance they checked on it, it was available.

    Your news site looks good by the way :)

  481. aras says:

    Thanks for all valuable info on this blog and helpful comments

  482. aras says:

    [quote] These domains are now caught by tasters?!? [quote]

    Who are these tasters? how is possible to become one them?

    and why creation date of dropped domains changes every day?

  483. There are about 15 different companies that taste domains, these companies deposit anywhere from a few $100,000 to $1,000,000 in an account at the registry to try these names. The deposit is used to buy the domains, and if the company decides not to keep them after 5 days, the funds are refunded to the deposit account.

    There are a few registrars that allow individuals or small companies to to taste domains for a small fee, generally $0.15-$0.50 per domain that is tasted.
    Pool offers Tasting, click the link Catch and Release at the top of the Pool homepage.

  484. Setiaji says:

    Is anyone here has an experience about the domain that you wish to buy, but then got snapped by whois company you were using for domain research??
    Be careful not to use Godaddy and all his sister company.
    I think when someone researching domain through their whois service, they might sell it to 3rd party who may need it.
    Pls give your opinions guys…:)

  485. I just found the article and this thread. Read all of it. Where did the time go? Anyway, great article and very interesting comments.

    I read it all even though I currently have no interest in an expired domain. Still, being in the internet business since 1995, this is one area I never really understood. Have many domain names for various business reasons, never speculated.

    Have sold some names ranging from $2,500 to $10,000. Have just let some great generic names go. I wonder what people paid for them?
    I think they are good, certainly compared to all the garbage I see for sale on various sites. They included, and Had these names for over 10 years and never developed them properly and got tired of paying the NetSol fees.

  486. Mark Goody says:

    If you sign up for a service such as, will the original site owner be able to tell that somebody has reserved the site?? Could they be alerted that potential buyers are interested?

  487. Alex says:

    Blimey you are a bunch. sadly My domain was pimped at the last moment by a spam link sniper. It was in redemption but I did not want to spend the $300 my registrar wanted tom get it back. It now is a directory of nasty sponsored links…..

  488. Matt says:

    Great story, and very informative. Just to let you know, you are a great writer! :)

  489. Cameron says:




  490. Max says:

    I have a small portfolio, does anyone have any suggestions as to the best way to sell my domain/domains, mainly the last 2 I have just registered, they are the full name of an up and coming sports personality, I have both the .com and the
    After your comments I certainly don’t wish to fall into the hands of these sharks.
    Any thoughts would be appreciated, cheers guy’s.

  491. Is there any tool to check domains expiring in near future with Good pagerank ?

  492. jj says:

    In response to imran hashmi, a good free website that lists expired/expiring domain names with Google PageRank is Also included in the site are reports on Dictionary Domains, Domain Name Age & Length, and Alexa Page Rank.

  493. It makes it so hard to get a good domain name if you don’t have the money. Thanks for the article, very informative.

  494. Anthony says:

    I have been a frequent user of Moniker’s multiple domains checker,, to check the availability of domains. Two days ago (4/22/2007) in the evening, I used it to check for a domain, “”. It is a good name, but I did not register it right away. It has been deleted since 4/14/2007, so I was thinking that it will still be there the next day morning when I got up. The next day when I checked the domain, it was registered by BELGIUMDOMAINS, LLC, a Washington Limited Liability Corporation performing domain name registration and other services under the name of BelgiumDomains, during my sleep. I said to myself, could this been a coincident or the info (the domain name) that I checked was abused by the Moniker that they took the domain names that were checked using on their site and went register before the users when they spotted a good domain name?

    Since there was a 10 hours window between the time that I checked when it was still available and the time when it became unavailable, I said to myself again that this is probably a coincident. But the suspicious flag was raised.

    Yesterday (4/23/2007), I checked my deleted domain database that I subscribe and found “”. It was deleted on 4/14/07 and still available at the time I checked. So this time I immediately registered it through It went through this time and the status of the process was “Waiting for approval” and I was very sure that I will get it. Fourteen hours later, I got an email from, saying that:

    You have requested the registration of the following domain name(s):
    Unfortunately, the domains you have requested were not available or could not be registered due to the policies of the registration authority (NIC).
    We have removed the requests for the above mentioned domain names from your package, with no charge to you.

    This had never happened before. Could someone beat me to it few seconds before I registered that even registering system did not pick up because the time was too short? Who would that person be? I checked the Who is for “” and found something very unrest. The domain was registered by Moniker on the same day (4/23/2007) that I registered it.

    Domain Name: MONEYHAT.COM
    Whois Server:
    Status: clientTransferProhibited
    Status: clientUpdateProhibited
    Status: clientDeleteProhibited
    Updated Date: 23-apr-2007
    Creation Date: 23-apr-2007
    Expiration Date: 23-apr-2008

    Later, I found out that Moniker is also a domain auction house when I spotted this article on the Web: Domain Market Keeps Motoring Along With Trio of Six-Figure Sales at Moniker/DomainSystems at

    This is the last time that I will use their online tool.

  495. Thanks Mike.

    Just some feedback for your blog.

    We used one of the services listed in this post to conduct a trial based on your commentary.

    We were outbid on the first attempt and were succesful on the second.

    Grab a 6 year old domain with decent PR and a great name.


  496. Dan says:

    Can anyone help please?
    I read your article and it was fascinating although it isn’t of any help at the moment.
    There is a domain I am wishing to buy but although the who is info suggests it expired in July 2006 it still states it is taken…
    This exceeds the 75 day’s mentioned so how can this be and what can I do about it?
    Anyone know please? I don’t want to email the “owner” because he will either re – register or as k a silly price.

  497. max says:

    In reply to Anthony’s post # April 24, 2007 06:05 AM

    I have used which is the Pipex Group for my domains and for .com domains, both based on price and reliability and can honestly say I have never had a pick of bother and I have used them for years now (free page with 123-reg).
    Definitely think I would be looking very closely at the hosts you have used way too much of a coincidence, more chance of winning the lottery that what happened in your case, sounds a bit fishy to me.

    Good luck with future searches.

  498. Anthony Sun says:

    Thanks Max. Right now I would rather do the availability check the slow way – check them one by one using my hosting provider’s tool. Once a particular domain of interest is available, I can register it right away. (Unforfunately, even this method is the sure one. Got bad experience today, but it is another story.)

    By the way, does anyone knows if a domain with “.bz” TLD worth anything even if the domain name is a generic word like “finances”?


  499. Smoky says:

    Man this was absolutely one of the most informative blogs i have ever read. Thanks for teaching me to sang the drop and get my domain.


  500. blackpatch says:

    Thanks for the great article. I went looking for information because I had a backorder with GoDaddy on a domain registered with GoDaddy. Twenty days after the expiration date, I get a message that I have the first bid in the auction for my domain. What??? GD had control of it and through it to the wind. I’ve been a GD customer for quite a while and I did not understand why they would do this to me. Your article cut through the fog. I still like Gordon Gekko even though I’m on the other side of “greed is good.”

  501. Tsarin says:

    Are these details still accurate? Are there still 3 major services, and does the drop still happen this way? Thanks!

  502. Paul says:

    My hosting company renewed my hosting package, but allowed my .com domain name to be snatched by ENOM… I got my hosting company to register the .net version of my domain by way of an apology…

    Now here we are, coming up on a year after the .com was snatched, and ENOM still hasn’t unloaded it (which I could have told them, since it’s an unusual name and we’re perfectly happy with the .net version). Naturally, I’m interested in getting the domain back, but not so interested that I’m going to spend too much on the attempt.

    Here’s where it gets, in my opinion, kind of shady. The placeholder site doesn’t reveal the current site owner, but a WhoIs query reveals ENOM, INC as the Registrar while the actual registrant is hidden behind the veil of Whois Privacy Protection Service, Inc. I’m willing to bet, though, that ENOM itself owns the site. Now, a quick trip to leads us to their domain name registration link, and checking on the .com I lost gets me a referral to where I am invited to place a bid on the domain – provided the bid is at least $200. (Funny thing about that website… the ENOM logo is right there in the site header!) So, like I said… shady. I mean, if they own the site I lost (which I’m sure they do) then why should I have to bid $200 for it when places like Hostway register new domains for under $10.

    So, anyone know how I might get around this? And what is the chance that after a year, ENOM might abandon the domain they grabbed and let it drop?

  503. Paul says:

    My hosting company renewed my hosting package, but allowed my .com domain name to be snatched by ENOM… I got my hosting company to register the .net version of my domain by way of an apology…

    Now here we are, coming up on a year after the .com was snatched, and ENOM still hasn’t unloaded it (which I could have told them, since it’s an unusual name and we’re perfectly happy with the .net version). Naturally, I’m interested in getting the domain back, but not so interested that I’m going to spend too much on the attempt.

    Here’s where it gets, in my opinion, kind of shady. The placeholder site doesn’t reveal the current site owner, but a WhoIs query reveals ENOM, INC as the Registrar while the actual registrant is hidden behind the veil of Whois Privacy Protection Service, Inc. I’m willing to bet, though, that ENOM itself owns the site. Now, a quick trip to leads us to their domain name registration link, and checking on the .com I lost gets me a referral to where I am invited to place a bid on the domain – provided the bid is at least $200. (Funny thing about that website… the ENOM logo is right there in the site header!) So, like I said… shady. I mean, if they own the site I lost (which I’m sure they do) then why should I have to bid $200 for it when places like Hostway register new domains for under $10.

    So, anyone know how I might get around this? And what is the chance that after a year, ENOM might abandon the domain they grabbed and let it drop?

  504. Ben says:

    Thanx for the info. I just managed to acquire a dropping domain that I needed for a music project I’m working on: (
    I back ordered the domain name through:, and
    I also back ordered the name through ( reseller) and the name was no longer available for back order through any related sites.
    The service that snatched the name for me was: (enom)
    I think I was the only interested party. The domain was previously registered through an australian registrar.

  505. Ben says:

    Used my back order credit with (godaddy reseller) from the unsuccessful capture attempt above, to successfully capture a .com domain that dropped today.

  506. len says:

    HI MIke,
    WOW this has been a very interesting blog and very worthwhile to read! Very informative from info from all concerned with their experiences with the domain business and acquiring techniques etc.

    I had a very similar experience very recently, when i went after a named PR 7 from the software i was using to locate the top ranked names. I checked the whois and the usual checking issues and also tested the name on godaddy for its availability (where i park a lot of my unused domains at) and it was available so i grabbed it and piad right then immediatley within 3 minutes all paid for and theni get a email informing me there wa s aamistake in the registering the domain and it was not now available and that my money was being refunded???? I wrote a stinking letter to them in Phoenix where they are based and complained bitterly over this shoddy way of conducting business and am awaiting a reply from them now. Which i will update on here later.

    Has anyone else ben screwed over a good PR name like this through registering a name with godaddy ?

  507. John Duncan says:

    Damn shame this type of situation isnt possible today (this article is over 2 years old). Major domain companies are buying up the good names. Not possible to get a a good name now unless you are willing to pay huge $$$ for it.

    BTW Go Daddy’s Backorder is a waste of time. I have never heard of ANYONE getting a domain when using GD’s service.

  508. adi azar says:

    Very useful information. I am trying to catch few domains :)

  509. Andy says:

    Wow… There are a lot of domains that I would like to grab… but your story is such a turn off! ;] Umm… I think it easier to just make up a name… maybe to your surprise [like mine] no one registered it. That how I got .biz .org .com. .biz.. Someone else was able to grab .us … but thats not important ;]. Good luck!

  510. CyberLaw says:

    Excellent article. Reading through the comments, I noticed that there were several comments about the actions of the registrars. The law firm CyberLaw routinely handles these types of matters, and we’ve seen some similar complaints about domain registrations. If anyone has particular situations that they’ve encountered, we’re happy to hear about them and may potentially be of service to you. Link is above.

    Thanks again for a fine article and the discussion about the various practices.

  511. Dianne says:

    My friend had his domain registered with Enom for a 1 year subscription, which was set it expire on May 31st. Enom says that they hold your website for 30 days after the expiry date and you can re-register.

    12 days later and his website has already been sold.

    I check Whois and apparently the website expired 22 April, 1 month and 9 days before the real expiry date.
    I guess that’s what you get for you extra money bidding with Enom, a shortened expiry date for the real domain holder.

  512. Ernie says:

    Bingo! I agree 100%… parking is what is hot, not the development of cool domains. The hot domains are those that get web traffic…. just for giggles… try a web search on two domains, or …. These two examples will show you what I am talking about…. you will find those two domains at the top of the Google web crawler… why? Because whoever owns the domains thought outside of the box.

    E. Estrella-Phoenix

  513. Michael A. says:

    Great read. I learned about these services many years ago and was able to get several good names mostly because no one wanted to pay $60 for a domain. No although I backorder many, I don’t get any. They go into auction.

    I do have an interesting situation I haven’t been able to figure out and am suspecting something fishy but maybe not.

    I have some friends that were going to get married. Being in the business, I offerered to create the wedding web site. They both go by nick names to me. One is an off-the-wall nick name and one is a shortened version of a hispanic name. About four months out we discussed the particulars of the website and were getting ready to register the domain name {bridenickname}and{groomnickname}.com. Within a 3-5 five day period we must have hit the domain name (not yet registered) maybe 20-50 times between all of us. Mostly curiosity on Google, etc. because we already knew the name was available and unlikely to be taken (not like it contained any good key words pet, etc. – nothing like that).

    Anyway, when I went to register this really bizarre name – trust me, it was gone. The site has a directory of stuff – travel, cell phones, apartments, etc. And, my friends’ nick-names, both of them, appear as items.

    I suspect our repeatly trying the domain and searching for it prompted someone to register it. It was only three of us so the most we could have messed around with it was 50 or so times. I thought the names may have some meaning in another language so I searched but nothing really comes up.

    Long story short – we flipped the nick-names around and registered that name. Did the job fine. Michael A.

  514. Jonathan says:

    Hey Everyone!

    Thanks for the article and all the advice in the blogs.

    There is a domain that expired 30 days ago that is registered under

    What should I do – I am willing to pay to guarantee that I get this domain name.

    Thank you in advance for any advice.

  515. Now where are the services that let you determine a domains worth? Anyplace online that shows the number of backlinks to a domain rather than by punching them into Yahoo’s site explorer?

  516. Ben says:

    Hi all,

    My boss at work recently asked me to enquire as to how to purchase the .com equivalent of his domain.

    I’ve found since that the domain is owned by Go Daddy and due to expire in July.

    What do you feel my best course of action is?

    Am I able to just place an exclusive backorder with Go Daddy or do you feel I’ll need to bid with snapnames, enom and pool to secure the domain?


  517. LittleGuy says:

    Just more proof that the little guy gets screwed. The ‘net has been taken over by mega corporations, sharks, and spamkings. Makes me want to log off and ignore the whole commericalized mess.

  518. Scott says:

    Umm- whats the name of the domain?

    hehehe- just kidding! Nice job, I really like the newsvine!

  519. Brandon says:

    Great story. I didn’t have a chance to read all of the post’s follow up comments…so I hope this isn’t a repeat question. However, are the “big 3″ still “,, and” Two years (from the time you wrote this) is a long time in “Internet time” and so I’m wondering if this has changed?

    Maybe a periodic update on this would be good. I think many people would be interested in this topic. According to, there’s been 701 searches on the phrase (or permutations of) “expired domain name” which led me to your site today since you have the nice little benefit of being #2 in Google’s search results when people type that in. Can’t say if you are #2 with all the different permutations, but you get the main phrase at least. :)

    Anyway, I think we write alike — so I like your writing — and I’m from Seattle. So, two little coincidents/similarities between us. Thanks for the story & good luck to my fellow Seattleite! Cheers.

  520. Brandon says:

    Might be worth going through this above process…

    An interesting article on recent sales of domains:

    The Most Expensive Web Addresses

  521. Mye says:

    Thanks for the article. As a new author, I was advised to use my personal name to set up my web site and use my book title. My book title name is available, my personal name is not. Who would have thought that some college kid put up a site using MY (our) personal name? I’m a baby boomer. If I had registered my name 10 years ago, she would have still been playing with Barbie dolls back then, not selling stuff online. Now I find she hasn’t paid her renewal bill… YEAH for broke college kids. Now I am going to use your advice to get (myname).com

  522. Rylan says:

    Hey All,
    Thanks for the article first off, it was a great reference to start with. Sadly it didn’t help in my situation, I was trying to get a great domain for a client and was operating under the assumption that we had 75 total days to work with. Somehow Network Solutions dropped the domain to Snap Names after 36 days and the auction on the domain is now closed… fantastically shady black box dealing imo… I didn’t see that time frame referenced anywhere but the fellow at snapnames said its standard practice. Really a lovely experience and I can’t wait to go and tell the client that I couldn’t get the domain for them :(. Thanks for the info though! Rule #4080… the industry is shaaaaaaddddyyyyy. :)

  523. Michael A. says:

    Due to what Rylan wrote, is why I keep the domains I really like going year round. Some like let you do that. Michael A.

  524. Michael A. says:

    Does anyone know if .US domains can be backordered? Two of the top three services let you backorder a .US domain and their lists include them but they never act on the drop. I never get a “we tried but failed” or a success e-mail. They just sort of ignore the backorder. Michael A.

  525. Giri says:

    My domain expired and went in to auction by several drop catchers and never got sold to any one till I realize that all this happened. The domain was used for personal purpose and no one will have interest on it. Now I want the domain back and is now sitting with enom and they locked it with clienttransferprohibited. Is there a way to get it back from them? How long does it sit there with them. Looks like I have to spend $200 bucks for it to get it back. I do not want to spend that much money on it. Is there a way that it will come back to public so that I can register as a complete new/fresh domain?

  526. carlitos says:

    Have used pool for a while, but with time I’ve noticed that they are losing more domains than before. Who are their real competitors now? An update on this article would be nice

  527. Wow, what a story about purchasing expired domains! We trust a lot the integrity of these firms handling the snatching, right? I say that because we do not know who the bidders are exactly. And suppose just for a moment that someone on the other side decided to great insincere bids building up the price?

    Just a thought, right? I have a domain with a hosting service that delays the process of releasing domains so customers can find another hosting service. That domain expires soon, and I plan to acquire it and move it to a new or different host. As the article articulates, it’s a seventy five day process. I wonder if my current domain host could find out that I am attempting to snatch my domain name and perhaps they might attempt to snatch it for themselves?

    Or the host could create an unintentional bid(s) for my domain name to make me pay more spitefully. Integrity, I wonder. Just a thought. I hope this is not a practice by anyone, right? — Pall Stanley

  528. Getting in on “The Drop”

    If Agatha Christie was a modern geek, the stories would go something like this.

  529. How to Scoop Up a Domain That's Expiring

    Is your perfect domain name unavailable but about to expire? Mike Davidson writes a great guide to how to capture an expiring domain. It's not at easy as just re-registering it on the day it expires. In a nutshell: it takes 75 days to fully…

  530. NSLog(); says:

    QotD: Domains

    Question: How many domains do you own? My Answer: I just wanted an excuse to link to this one: picking up expired domains. But I will answer the question: 27. All of which have been used for their intended purpose…

  531. Small Bits: Risk Management by Law, Domain Names, and Cats

    Not bad for a Cubicle has a good post on the credit card industry replacing their risk management efforts with bad law: Bad laws instead of good Risk Management. I like what he’s saying enough that I’ve added him…

  532. How to Snatch a Domain Name

    Interesting article in which Mike Davidson describes how to snatch up a domain name that has expired….

  533. How to get an expiring domain name

    Designer Mike Davidson’s published a fascinating rundown of all the steps he went through to get a prized web site domain name owned by someone else that was expiring. Davidson details the entire 75 day (!) process of domain expiration,…

  534. Getting an expired domain can be stressful


  535. FatMixx says:

    Snatching expired domains

    Mike Davidson describes his the process he undertook to buy an expiring domain name he wanted. Man, he worked hard. :-) I just waited and kept checking….


     Another day, another man lobbing off his penis and eating it. And thus it is time to reset the counter yet again. You know, if nothing else, 2005 is going to be a banner year for groin injuries. time to…

  537. How to Snatch an Expiring Domain

    An interesting article about how one goes about getting an expiring domain. I’m sure it’ll be quite useful for someone. I didn’t know that it takes 75 days before you can actually get an “expired” domain.

    Visit Site…

  538. Today’s Jots posts

  539. Snatching domain names

    As I noted recently, my domain is set to expire this week, but I’ve initiated a transfer to a new registrar. The process is surprisingly slow (we’re on Day 3), and as I said, I’ve been a little curious to see what happens if the expiration date comes a…

  540. links for 2005-03-09

    Mike Davidson: How to Snatch an Expiring Domain (categories: dns domains)…

  541. says:

    How to snatch an expiring domain

    I recently found myself in the
    position of wanting to register a domain which was owned by someone
    else. The domain was set to expire in a week, and I figured there was a
    decent chance that the person who owned it wouldn’t be renewing it.
    Upon co…

  542. How to Snatch an Expiring Domain [Mike Davidson]

    Mike Davidson: How to Snatch an Expiring Domain [via lifehacker]

    I really wish I’d had this article when the gaylactic network’s domain was on its way out, to explain fully why they should stop talking about what happened, what it looks like, and ta…

  543. visa blog says:

    How to snatch an expiring domain name

    Registering a new domain is easy, your just pay the money, and the domain is officially yours for a year or more. But registering a soon-to-expire domain may not sound as easy as waiting for it to be dropped and resister it quick enough.

    This is

  544. Domain hunting

    If you’re in the market for new domain names, or simply looking for that killer domain to help start a new business, here is an excellent guide for how to snatch up expiring domain names. It’s quite in-depth so go…

  545. How To Snatch Up An Expired Domain

    A fascinating read on a dark alley of the Internet: the market for expired domains….

  546. Innovation in DNS business

    I been active in ICANN since 1999. One of the things that amazed me is the creativeness of the community in finding new business models. I am not even talking about IDN but the number of businesses created from just plain vanilla DNS (actually just .co

  547. Design says:

    How to snatch an expiring domain name


    Just read an excellent article from Mike Davidson. It really is a very interesting blog and needs a regular visit and read. The above article talks you through the authors journey as he tries to register a domain name that is due to expire. His j…

  548. How to Snatch an Expiring Domain

    Mike Davidson, an art director from Seattle, has a well written, comprehensive and informative article on “How to Snatch an Expiring Domain”. He offers details on how a domain expires, compares the services of three firms that automate the “snatching”…

  549. How to Snatch Expiring Domains

    Mike Davidson gives his ordeal and experience in snatching a expiring domain name. The mechanism of domain expiry and getting hold of the fresh domain is not as simple as it seems. Two and a half months and $369 later, he managed to get hold of his ‘…

  550. How to Snatch an Expiring Domain

    Mike Davidson: How to Snatch an Expiring…

  551. Snatch Expiring Domains

    Ever wanted to know how to register a good domain name when it expires? This thread explains the process….Hmm, I may be able to register in 2011 (I think that’s when it expires)….

  552. Getting the Domain Name You Always Wanted

    Between 5 to 7 years ago, domain name registration was hot as a get-rich-quick scheme. People were registering large groups of domain names, random acronyms, common words, brand names, and anything else they could think of in the hopes that

  553. The Domain Name Chase

    If you want to snag a good domain name, read this now! The information on this post is a little old but it is really informative. I found it through Home Office Voice.

  554. Auslaufende Domains registrieren

    Mike Davidson berichtet in seinem Beitrag “How to Snatch an Expiring Domain”, wie man an eine auslaufende Domain unterhalb der Topleveldomain “.com” registrieren kann bevor eine andere Person dies…

  555. blipTrack says:

    The Value of the Right Domain

    Following my post on the $2.86 million sale of, there’s an interesting article on CNN Money on the value of the right domain name, “A domain by any other name is not the same“. The article also has a good bit of advice on get…

  556. Interesting read,

    Here is a nice diagram of the lifecycle including redemtion perioids on the ICANN website:

  557. Good, Bad and Ugly says:

    Well this blog certainly explains the way in this messy came of domain registering and backordering. Thanks to this site I got what I wanted. These are the lessons learned. 1) Its not so clear who is good, bad and ugly. I got my name through snapnames. GoDaddy just took my money and they even do not have a clue that the name is allreadyu gone! 2) if you want certain name then use the snatching company that is in close affiliation with the company who currently has the name. Mine was aquired by oregonnames and thus snapnames had a good chance (ha-ha, they are the same company so snapnames already got it!) to get it. Total investment to snapnames USD 19 that includes one year registration. Me happy!

  558. […] How to Snatch an Expiring Domain (tags: webdesign tutorials) […]

  559. Great article and comments by all!
    The domain registrar industry, once subtle and behind the scenes, is starting to appear on regulator’s radar screens. Their ability to affect whole industries will attract more and more scrutiny (and perhaps, antitrust action). For now, we’ll all have to figure out the rules as we go along and use threads like this as our guidelines.

  560. […] read How to Snatch an Expired Domain by Mike Davidson This article helped me a lot! There is one recent change that I know of: […]

  561. […] 4 – What do you think about the whole process of picking up dropped domains. I’ve been fascinated with the subject after reading about Mike Davidson’s adventure on successfully securing what is now […]

  562. […] Davidson has a good article written in 2005 that is still current There are three services —,, and […]

  563. AdamJackKnows says:

    Great Article…..and comments

    I wish the process was fair to all hard working Americans but as long as the unethical behavior of many individuals/companies continues along with their advantageous computer power to slam/re.register quicker then individuals it shall never change

    …………….i think unethical=gray area=capitalism=can u afford the penalty if u get caught

    ex. I live in the big city and it is always cheaper for me to park at an expired meter and risk the $25 ticket then to park in a parking garage at about $40


  564. […] How to Snatch an Expiring Domain This article will explain the domain expiration process and what you need to do in order to use it to your advantage. An article by Mike Davidson. […]

  565. Thank you sooo much for this information! I’ve done a backorder or two, never with any luck. No wonder, EVERYONE must have been grabbing the names up before GoDaddy ever had a chance!

    At least I know now if I need to play the game, THAT is the way I will have to do it.

  566. Thanks for posting this. Great article and a great insight into the shadowy world of domain renewals.

    I too recently needed to backorder a quite valuable domain name which was in the process of deleting from the registry. After trying to put in a backorder at Godaddy only to be told that someone else already had and therefore I could not, I found this article and put the process to the test.

    I backordered the name through Snapnames, Club Drop and Sure enough, when the domain deleted it was picked up by Club Drop and I went into the auction process for it along with 9 other ‘bidders’.

    The whole process felt quite shady. You never know who else is in the auction or wheather there are ringers in there to try to bring the price up. My guess and gut feeling is that there was. Anyway, the auction went to a couple of hundred dollars and I did secure the domain.

    I wouldn’t have been successful without having read this. Thanks again.

  567. […] and These services snatch up hot domain names just as they expire. Mike Davidson has a great article about […]

  568. […] expiration process and what you need to do in order to use it to your advantage. Full Story: Mike Davidson – How to Snatch an Expiring Domain __________________ [SIZE=2]+Rep Me if You Like My […]

  569. […] How to Snatch an Expiring Domain Name on the Drop […]

  570. Zandria says:

    Some very intresting facts, unfortunately I can’t afford anything like that. I was wondering though how much a person would pay for an unregistered domain name. You see I was playing around with and disscovered a few unregistered names. Unfortunately I can not pay rent for a place to live let along be able to pay to have names registered but it got me thinking about whether not people would buy an unregistered name and at what price? Because it would be iffy on what the name is because no seller would tell the buyer the name before payment since the domain would be unregistered. Plus were would the seller find such buyers? These are just questions that I have been trying to find the answers for. Anyone know anything?

  571. […] Information on how to grab an expired domain name: […]

  572. Dan II says:

    Very informative. Wish I had read it a few months ago.
    I just lost 2 domains dropped thinking GoDaddy was going to grab them.
    Frustrated to think I was wasting my time and wishing on a miracle with them now knowing how things work.

  573. […] first and perhaps most informative article I found was by Mike Davidson. In his article entitled How to Snatch an Expiring Domain, Mike goes over the method he used to acquire the domain for his news site, […]

  574. […] has created a most excellent post on his experience with this very subject, entitled, “How to Snatch an Expiring Domain“. A strongly suggested read if you’re at all serious about learning how to do this […]

  575. Hahahah.. very interesting story. Keeps me glued. I have a client and told me that bidding on expired domains is what she’s been doing lately. With that, I searched the net and found this very interesting post.


  576. Mr. Chips says:

    What a great story, and great way to get domains… The best part was when you revealed it was Newsvine … wow.. i am a user since the first beta… I had no idea you have something to do with them… congrats !

  577. Conrad says:

    My associate just asked me to register domain name(s) for his new business. The domain name of interest just expired in September and all other equivalents such as .net, .us, etc. are still available. Is there any way to check the number of whois queries against domain name to have some idea of it popularity? Thanks. Conrad.

  578. Matt says:

    i was just looking up a domain name on bustaname site using their Quick Domain Check feature and it showed that it was available. I quickly proceeded to buy it, but to my surprise it turned out to be already registered. Interestingly enough the registration date was 11/02/2007! Coincidence or are their queries being monitored and intercepted, etc.?!?! Which of the whois services had most up-to-date info?

  579. […] grandmother if you want to buy it. You could be patient and wait for a domain to backorder and then pay $369 for it, but chances are it’s a bit too much to ask for, especially if you’re a college […]

  580. […] lose to others who have better fully automated processes for trying to snag what they want. See How to Snatch an Expiring Domain Name. The guy’s letting it go. Start with a few hundred and see what happens. But if you want it, don’t […]

  581. Hi all,

    I’m one who has used GoDaddys back ordering on several domains and IF it’s registered with GD I’ve always gotten the domain! Otherwise it’s been about 50/50 for domains registered elsewhere.
    Just my 2.5 cents.

  582. Alan H. says:

    Mike, thanks again for this great posting. You’re Googling-in at #1 on “Expired Domain”. I’ve been circling-around a juicy domain, and this has helped me again.

    Also… I first commented over TWO years ago! Has it been THAT long?

  583. artofnet says:


    Thank you so much for good information about expired domain. It’s really help me to buy an expired domain. This article can guide me to do this. Once again thanks.

  584. Shane says:

    Interesting info but I prefer a different strategy which you never mentioned. True, after expiry/redemption/deletion, the domain will be snatched by one of the sharks (Snapnames et al). But if you play it cool, you may be able to get it without a fight.

    Typically the sharks are stupid. That is, they don’t know what they’ve got because they just swallow names en masse (I guess more like whales eating plankton than sharks). I have learned that they will hold on to the name for 3 days (the auction period) during which they try to figure out if they can get any money for it. If people are stupid and bid in the auction (no offense to the author of this article) that’s like tipping them off that they’re onto a moneymaker.

    If, on the other hand, you let the 3 days expire without a fuss, the sharks will assume that the domain is junk (like the millions of others) and throw it back–cancel their registration without paying. What they do is the equivalent of “buying” a prom dress, wearing it to the prom and then returning it for a refund the next day. Totally unethical and rather disgusting.

    So here’s how you win. Simply don’t play the game. After 3 days if they get no bids, they dissolve the registration record, and on the 4th day bright and early you can register it for $5. I have done this twice and I’m doing it again as we speak.

    The key is: BE COOL. We all know you want the domain and are willing to pay $1000 for it. But keep a poker face. You’ll profit, and you’ll drive these unethical sharks out of business to boot. Give it a try next time!!!

  585. Mike D. says:

    Shane: Definitely a reasonable strategy, but I wouldn’t apply it unless I was ok with *not* getting the domain. If you really want the domain, that strategy is a bit risky. If it’s just a domain you wouldn’t mind having, however, then great. My $369 worked out pretty well in the end though. :)

  586. Mr. Yo says:

    It’s a month before the name I want expires, and it’s registered through a partner of Snapnames. Does this all but guarantee I’ll get it if I use Snapnames?’s system sounds horrid and I don’t want to end up paying through the nose for a domain that’s probably not in high demand.

  587. […] took me some time to stumble across this article but I am glad I did. Thank you Mike Davidson for clearing up the confusion I had about dropping […]

  588. […] one could grab this domain, I found this extensive and very interesting post from Mike Davidson: how to snatch an expiring domain. Since then, I followed regularly the fate of through OVH’s whois service. The […]

  589. Very useful information; however I personally wouldn’t wait 75 days to get my hands on a domain name if I was setting up a business. I want my domain name to be active and the website pulling in visitors within the first 7 days, that way I’m not earning no money when I still have ongoing setup costs.

  590. Mike D. says:

    Chris: Uhhh, so you’re telling me that when you create a business, you put less than 75 days of planning into it before you launch? Mmmkay.

  591. Really depends on the business Mike. However, setting up any business is a project and if you have 75 days that you can build in to that project plan while you’re waiting for the domain then fine. Now I’m no business guru but I do know that my customers want to move faster than that, and among the real hardcore guys I deal with I have one who had a business concept that was turning over 6 figures in 6 weeks and another who had a 6 billion GBP turnover construction company on his books within 6 months. Lots of 6s in there, but you get the idea – I’m just saying that ideally, you want to hit the ground running, and that 75 days is a long time to wait for anything that you have a great deal of control over, such as picking up a domain name. Just doesn’t seem that mission critical to me.

    No offence was meant, but it looks like it was taken, so I don’t think I’ll be back on this blog in a hurry, Mmmkay.

  592. Mike D. says:

    Chris: Nope, no offense taken at all. There is nothing to be offended about. I’m just kind of calling bullshit on the concept that any real “business” can be a) thought of, b) branded, c) executed on from a web site perspective, and d) pulling in any substantial amount of visitors… all within 7 days. I’m sure there are some examples that may actually do that, but it’s less than 1 out of 100 businesses. Certainly not the norm or anything close to it. If you’re in the school of thought that says brand and domain aren’t mission critical, then sure, why would you even be looking at the expiring domain market? Just grab and be on your way. But the point of this article is that there are plenty of potentially great brand opportunities out there right now, with the only problem being that the associated domains have been snapped up. If you really like the brand opportunity (e.g. Newsvine), there are no trademark issues, and you’re willing to go through the process described above, you can do quite well.

  593. Mike L says:

    Mike, I appreciated the article and the excellent writing skills you exercised. I have a slightly different problem and wondered if you would have a comment. I want to buy a domain name that does not expire until September 2008. I tried contacting the owner via the WHOIS information but the phone number has been disconnected and he has not replied to my email. The “parking spot” is, and I could find no way to register there to be next in line. I am stumped, any thoughts? Thanks, Mike

  594. Micheal says:


    Can i publish that blog post under ?


  595. Mike D. says:

    Micheal: No.

  596. […] Anyway, the whole expiration process is very interesting and includes some of the joys of internet marketing. The best article I’ve read is over two years old, but still interesting, and can be found at the Mike Industries blog. […]

  597. […] found a site, Mike Davidson’s, which has some nice articles. I like the article linked to, about grabbing expiring domain names. […]

  598. GD says:

    Good article. I’ve snagged a few expiring domains over the past decade. This was a good read of the current state (though 2+ years old.) Would be nice to see an update, especially regarding NS.

    A general comment to Mike – it’s funny how small the world is. I google for stuff and your articles come up continually. Then I read the comments from people, and they’re people I see comments from elsewhere. Plus we live in the same city.

  599. Marc-André says:

    Hey very interesting article !

    Thank you!


  600. […] A quick Google search on registering expired domains led me to Mike Davidson’s post on the subject. It’s a rather long read, but it explains in great detail how the whole process works, and how […]

  601. Christine says:

    I have a question regarding Shane’s comments from Nov. 25, 2007:

    … Simply don’t play the game. After 3 days if they get no bids, they dissolve the registration record, and on the 4th day bright and early you can register it for $5…

    3 days after what? 3 days after the domain expires? After the “drop?”
    Thank you for any help.


  602. Victoria says:

    GoDaddy has been holding my domain hostage for months now. Every time I go to log in it tells me I have an invalid email and an invalid domain name so I can not retrieve my customer # to renew. So I stupidly thought I would let it expire and repurchase it. However now that it’s been expired for 20 days, it is still not free to purchase.

    I finally broke down and called GoDaddy and they said they “have no idea” why their online system isn’t working with my email and/or domain name and why when I give the last 4 digits of the credit card (the only one I have ever owned) it isn’t retrieving the info either.

    If I can eventually get into the account that will be so kind as to charge me an $80 renewel fee because unlike what you said about the 40 day period GoDaddy only gives 12 days to renew at the regular rate.

    I find this completely unfair considering it’s some kind of glitch in THEIR system that is keeping me from getting into my account. In fact we both agreed the email addy I was trying to use on their site WAS the one they had on file.

    I will never ever register anything with them again as long as I live. They are a nightmare.

  603. […] is a old post, but good write up of what is involved with buying expired domain names and is still fairly accurately details the whole […]

  604. I have found a domain name which would be a perfect fit for a new website I am working on. There is a website in existence with that domain name, but it is apparently a dead website, because when you click on Contact or Enquiries, a page comes up saying that the Page canot be found.

    The site is registered with Tucows.
    It is due for renewal in August 2008.
    I note that a lot of the material which you provided concerning acquiring expiring domains is dated 2006 and I wonder if you know if any better way of getting an expiring domain has emerged since 2006?
    A lot of the blogs, etc. on this subject are also a few years old and ICANN doesn’t seem to have come to any helpful conclusion on what to do about this.
    To paraphrase Napoleon, for me it is a problem – for the “sharks” it is presumably an opportunity.

  605. Phil says:

    Hi Mike, great article! And a successful one too. There are so many posts.

    I am wondering about one thing: when I place the backorder on, right after then, will it be posted on there “Deleting Domains” list and so other people will start seeing it and they will place the backorder too?

    See it’d be perfect if I could avoid that, best case is still then when I am the only bidder.

    2nd question is: when is the best timing to place that backorder? Do I need to do it before it “Expires”? before “PendingDeletion” starts? or if you know, when exactly is the threshhold

    Thanks very such for such good info

  606. mike says:

    Well I’m about to put the timeline to the test. I’ve seen refernece to another source that stretches the timeline Mike gives by up to 5 days. i.e. instead of 75 days, it can be UP TO 80 days. This may have merit because I’m well past 75 days. So great! A few more days of waiting. Am I correct to assume if the domain status is pendingDelete, that the registrars have passed on it and we little people actually stand a chance?????

    Great article all around.

  607. Markus says:

    What is the case if you are trying to snag an expiring trademarked name (your business name) does anyone know?

    I own the domain name “” and also the US
    Registered Trademark for the name “Hydrologix”.

    I approached the cyber squatter owner of it 2 years ago to buy the (.com) version name but they wanted a high price ($1600). We told them we had a right to the name for a fair price, and made an offer of $200, but they refused and
    accused us of “reverse hijacking”.

    Then a private party bought it (the current owner) who asked our
    permission to use it and we told him no, he could not use it as it is our
    trademarked name. He hasn’t used it and it is due to expire any day now.

    I have put in a backorder with snapnames and, but from what I’m reading here it’s going to get into the bidding war – how to avoid this?

  608. Awesome article. I have a couple names in mind entering their expiration period. Let’s cross our fingers and pray for the next 72 days. :):):)

  609. Don’t mean to resurrect this old thread but I have a question about, and such. If I engage in a bidding process get the domain of my choice is the final bid amount confidential?

    Also, is there a way to track domain ownership changes?

  610. Interesting, I noticed that a few of my domains I didnt want anymore I let expire, then the next day there is a bunch of ads on my old homepage.

  611. Marqus79 says:

    I am currently in this state, and I would like to know how long does one wait, or in your case how long do you wait to get on backorder. I realize this is all in essence a gamble, but if you dont gamble then you cant win or lose — it’s a chance worth taking. Now the particular domain I want is not set to expire until 3 years from now, do I wait until a year is left or do I start now? I dont know the procedure or right move for such a thing; please provide me with your wisdom, thank you.

  612. […] Cnet post, and Mike Davidson’s article, were two of the original I read, and heavily concentrated on the drop process. And I’ll say […]

  613. […] Mike Davidson: How to Snatch an Expiring Domain […]

  614. gadget says:

    What an excellent article. I’d heard of enom (services now moved to namesjet) and snap names but thanks to your article I’ve also now registered with – thank you.

  615. Will says:

    Hi Mike,

    Do you still think we should register through NameJet, SnapNames and


  616. Nick says:

    Very interesting read, I’m in the chase for a domain which expires soon. This article – and all the comments – have been very helpful.

  617. Hi Mike,
    great and amazing article.
    I snapped a few Domains at Pool, but its very expensive and I`m searching for a Domain Snatcher especially for de, at and in Domains. Do you know a good one?

    Best regards,

  618. Mandy says:

    It would be great if we could have your ideas on the market. I have tried backordering domains in the UK but have never been successful, even when I have used a number of different companies.

  619. Very interesting post. Thank you.

    I don’t think that if Verisign’s idea of waiting list got implemented it would eliminate the drop.

    Average domain price would be way lower than the fee so no one would get on the waiting list and a lot of stuff would still drop to be picked up and “tasted”.

    It would open a new niche for people to track websites and as soon as rank, traffic and link profile start to look promising invest by getting first on the waiting list in a hope that enough domains expire and you would be able to auction them off at a profit.

  620. I visited / / . All have a list of enourmous domains which are for expiry. But i am not able to trace a single high quality generic domain. I think that the users allow their junk domains to expire without paying for their renewal. If by chance a good domain expires then there will be an auction and so many guys will bid. But so many good domains are still available for registration itself. the only thing is you have to search, do some brain storming process ETC. I have a nice portfolio of some 200 domains. All are premium descriptive Generic keywords. I have just registered not drop catched. So search search search you will find.

    Good Luck.

  621. Chris R. says:

    Great article and I find it interesting. I’m kinda hoping someone can steer me in the right direction for a domain name I have been keeping my eye on. It is coming up to expire in July. I currently have a “backorder” with GoDaddy for this name. But I found that the name I want is currently owned by Network Solutions. What are my chances of me getting it with GoDaddy?

    To be honest, the name isn’t that great big deal to me. I’m a website amateur and am not going to be using it for any business or money making purposes. So, I don’t want to spend hundreds of dollars for a “just because” reason. I would be willing to pay up to the $50-60 range; but more than that it’s just not worth it.

    Anyone have any suggestions? Thanks!

  622. Neil Pharazyn says:

    Hi Mike

    The current registrar for the expiring domain name I’m aiming for is GODADDY?

    I’ve taken out a backorder with GoDaddy. Why would I also take out one with, etc? Surely, seeing that the domain is currently held by GoDaddy, they have the edge in getting it for me.

    If you reckon that it is worth also taking out a backorder with one or more of the others, which would you currently recommend?

    I have had an existing domain with Network Solutions for years. Maybe that would give me an edge if I choose their service.


  623. Great Thanks!
    It’s really help me to regist an expired domain.
    This article guide me to do this.

  624. Robert says:

    I am wondering about one thing: when I place the backorder on, right after then, will it be posted on there “Deleting Domains” list and so other people will start seeing it and they will place the backorder too?

  625. Sunday, March 6th, 2005

    The birth of

    it was very interesting to read this blog thinking it was some other website (because newsvine has just always existed in my mind) and then to read this “oh btw, i bought this little domain name called” like it was no big deal, little did you know 3 years, and lots of sweat later you were going to have one of the biggest community news sites on the internet.

  626. MG says:

    Great post.

    Mike, how were you able to transfer newsvine to dreamhost “immediately” after your auction win?

    According to my hosting company I have to wait 60 days from initial registration before transferring a domain name, which I’m not keen on. The registration date has become the date I purchased it which makes sense since I bought it once it had deleted via snapnames.


  627. Hi Mike,

    I work for Network Solutions and wanted to mention a tool that your readers may find useful for tracking expiring domains.
    You have several options for searching keywords, length of the domain name, different extensions and get the feed through RSS. This is free for anyone and a account is not necessary.

    I would also apprecaite any feedback if you have chance to try the tool. My email is shashib [at ] networksolutions [com]

  628. Mark says:

    I like your post! I would like to backorder a name from the same registrar that the name is registered with. How do I find that out? I looked up the domain I want on the whois website and it said the below info (maybe is the registrar…who knows????)…any ideas? Thanks, Mark

    Moniker.Com Whois Server Version 2.1

    The Data in Moniker.Com’s WHOIS database
    is provided for information purposes only, and is
    designed to assist persons in obtaining information
    related to domain name registration records.
    Moniker.Com does not guarantee its accuracy.
    By submitting a WHOIS query, you agree that you
    will use this Data only for lawful purposes and
    that, under no circumstances will you use this Data
    to: (1) allow, enable, or otherwise support the
    transmission of mass unsolicited, commercial
    advertising or solicitations via e-mail (spam); or
    (2) enable high volume, automated, electronic
    processes that apply to Moniker.Com (or its
    systems). Moniker.Com reserves the right
    to modify these terms at any time. By submitting
    this query, you agree to abide by this policy.

    Domain Name: LOVETOLEARN.COM

    Registrant [23658]:
    Moniker Privacy Services
    20 SW 27 Ave
    Suite 201
    Pompano Beach

    Administrative Contact [23658]:
    Role Moniker Privacy Services
    Moniker Privacy Services
    20 SW 27 Ave
    Suite 201
    Pompano Beach
    Phone: +1.9549842867
    Fax: +1.9549699155

    Billing Contact [23658]:
    Role Moniker Privacy Services
    Moniker Privacy Services
    20 SW 27 Ave
    Suite 201
    Pompano Beach
    Phone: +1.9549842867
    Fax: +1.9549699155

    Technical Contact [23658]:
    Role Moniker Privacy Services
    Moniker Privacy Services
    20 SW 27 Ave
    Suite 201
    Pompano Beach
    Phone: +1.9549842867
    Fax: +1.9549699155

    Domain servers in listed order:


    Record created on: 2001-06-24 06:45:00.0
    Database last updated on: 2007-06-11 06:23:35.107
    Domain Expires on: 2008-06-24 06:45:00.0

  629. idarmadi says:

    Thanks for the great article Mark!

    It’s more than 3 years old, and the comments still keep pouring.. :)

    I bumped into your site when I search for information regarding expired domain.

    I forgot (read : I procastinated) to renew one of my domain. It’s not the main domain. The main domain is .com and this is the .net version which was parked all the time. It expired and now it’s in ‘PENDINGRENEWALDELETION’ status. It’s more than 40 days already, but still within 75 days.

    The domain is not in my account anymore, so I can’t click renew to renew it. When I contacted them, they say they can try to retrive it for $160,- fee.

    It’s a bit hefty, but then again it’s my fault. (case still in progress, don’t know whether they will recover it for me as they said “can try to retrieve the domain”.

  630. Parker says:

    Hi, I am just getting started in the Domain World and just had a quick question. How can i find out when a particular domain is expiring? Even if it is years away, is there a way to find out?

  631. […] If you’ve not already done so, read this post, is full of information that might help you out. Mike Davidson – How to Snatch an Expiring Domain __________________ Ian Merchant with a drizzle of affiliate marketing on the […]

  632. […] Mike Davidson has a good review of his experience using here: […]

  633. Jim Trent says:

    A great post even after 3 years have passed. I, personally, know some people that are still trying to bounce among large drop catchers to secure the expired domain names manually. Seems weird but theoretically there is a small chance they can succeed.

  634. Parker says:

    Another Question, althought apparently i am a few years late for this blog. There is a domain that i want very badly, and it expires in october. I I would like to make the guy an offer but the only way to do that is through network solutions(which is his registrar) They believe that i should offer more than 25,000, but they dont know this guy. The owner has no idea of domain vaules and hasnt been active with his company since 2006. I guess my question is, what is the best way to offer a bid without sparking the curiosity of the seller?

  635. As with all transactions aim low (I don’t know the domain name, but if its nothing too demanded like a single popular word -ie etc. ) go like $500, if it IS a name that will be demanded I would shoot for 1-2 thousand.
    He will then come back with his reply.

  636. Parker says:

    What about .mobi’s ? With the recent rise in internet capabilities on cell phones would they be a good thing to start snatching up? (I guess im assuming there are still some .mobi’s still worth having)

  637. Emil says:

    I can tell you this much, people are bidding on domains with good pagerank, for example if domain was solid PR6, with solid backlinks it’s very likely that the same will remain for a long time.
    Let’s say you purchase PR7 website with (i.e. 130 solid google backlinks) and you SEO that domain with pretty much any keywords you want or need, voila in next google indexing its guarantied top 10 or higher.
    From what I understand Hong Kong’s famous wordpress blog site with super-duper PR and fantastic Alexa rating was recently snatched by some Health Insurance affiliated business, google it and you’ll see.
    GoDaddy Aftermarket is way to go.

  638. Parker says:

    Im sorry, you confuse me with someone who understands what you just said. Maybe i should do a little more homework before i start snatching up domains. Ill get back to when im a little more informed…

  639. Bob says:

    Excellent post! I posted the intro on my site with a link to your entire post here. Great info, strategy and insight. Just reading it, I could feel the anxiety, tension and joy when you obtained your goal.

  640. CatcherInTheRye says:

    Re: Domains By Proxy and GoDaddy Drop Catching Process – 2008

    I have been checking the Network Solutions whois on a daily basis for a name that expired in mid-April of 2008. The Registrant and Registrar continue to be listed respectively as Domains By Proxy and GoDaddy. When I click on the link – Show underlying registry data for this record – in the Network Solutions whois for this name, the registry data specifies that five days past the expiration date an update to the system gave rise to a new expiration date that is one year from the previous termination date. However, the new name servers point to The whois page also points to a URL from this phrase: – For complete domain details go to: [then it gives the URL]. That URL is a whois page for the domain. It reflects the mid-April 2008 termination date and there is no indication of renewal.

    Can anyone help explain what is going on here? Is the Registrar “tasting” traffic for this domain. Can they legally snatch the name or must they let it drop? Is there an innocent explanation like some kind of migratory process at work.

    Sincere thanks for reading this post and sharing your valuable insights.



  641. Hami says:

    I have been looking for an expiry domain for quiet a long.. when finaly expiry date came, the hosting company itself registerd it for another 1 year.

    Not only this, I have been looking for expiry dates even though the owner of that domain does not renew them but still they are not avaiable to public?? what is that ?? can somebody please explain how to get an expiry domain?

  642. Rob Scott says:

    Really useful article I discovered after finding an expired domain that would be really useful for me! Will have a go at catching this one myself… We’ll see.

  643. Wow – what a frustrating and confusing process to snap up an expired domain!

    The expiring .com I have my eyes on is a simple auto-forward to some Italian site with no relevance to the domain. It would seem my chances of grabbing it are low unless I’m willing to suffer like the author!

  644. Simon says:

    Great post

    The process sure is confusing though now that I have experienced it

  645. Apeee says:

    I’m attempting to do the same for a domain which has expired just a few days back. Hoping that the owner don’t get it renewed…..LOL

  646. […] Mike Davidson gives his ordeal and experience in snatching a expiring domain name. The mechanism of domain expiry and getting hold of the fresh domain is not as simple as it seems. Two and a half months and $369 later, he managed to get hold of his ’shiny new domain’. […]

  647. Brandon says:

    Great article. A lot of registrars are auctioning off expired domain names that used to be held by their customers. TDnam and Moniker are 2 examples.

  648. Darren` says:


    Wow that is very help full i was about to start your long road but no longer have to due to your post.

    Thank you and wish me look. I am not going to use i want the name but not that much. They have a good set-up but if i don’t like the game i just don’t play.

  649. […] of purchasing expired domain in order to utilize the traffic remaining on those domains. In How To Snatch An Expiring Domain, Mike Davidson tells all about his first experience with an expired domain. He indicated that he […]

  650. […] How to Snatch an Expiring Domain This article will explain the domain expiration process and what you need to do in order to use it to your advantage. An article by Mike Davidson. […]

  651. […] read more see…”How To Snatch An Expiring Domain Name” original […]

  652. Macone says:

    I am always searching for ways to understand the internet and now and again you come across a little gem like this post. You think you have it all straight and then comments posted by readers just get you all in a spin again..just shows, keep an open mind and follow your own instincts.!

  653. Tony says:

    Instead of going to auction, you might contact the guy (mail him, call him on phone if that works) who hasnt renewed and ask it for a decent price. You might stand a chance to gain that domain name, especially if the owner hasnt done much of work on the domain, but the name is very good for you.

    I got from sedo when the owner was willing to sell.

  654. Surjeet says:

    There is a problem now a days to buy a expired domain. Since the domain was expired google search engine rank become zero & the domain marked as negative domain.

  655. Andy says:

    Thanks for explaining it so clearly. I am about to go after one and I will use this as guideline.

    Kind Regards Andy

  656. Ramu Poonjolai says:

    great job.

  657. Malcolm says:

    Interesting read. I am considering getting into making money from domains and this offers a lot of interest. I see it as a real estate type of investment, that could go either way. Will not invest what I cannot afford to lose.

    Difficult to make it work but I am determied. Wish me luck.

  658. Jerry says:

    Great article. Well written, exciting and informative.

  659. Steve says:

    Wow… – do you still own it?

    Where does Godaddy’s tdnam play in the whole expiration process? I actually snatched a domain from someone else even though the owner had backordered (Godaddy) that domain himself.

    Could the previous owner signed up for tdnam and get his domain back that way instead of backordering or pay $100 to Godaddy in the redemption period?

    Thanks for the great info,

  660. Whonami says:

    Hi Steve,
    For your question:

    “Could the previous owner signed up for tdnam and get his domain back that way instead of backordering or pay $100 to Godaddy in the redemption period?”

    Yes, the owner can join TDNAM to bid for that name. In fact if I was that owner, I will pay for redemption period (about $80) to ensure that I will get back the domain. This only can do if the domain still in the redemption time frame.

  661. Slim says:

    How come now belongs to Microsoft? :)

  662. Mike D. says:

    Slim: A quick Google or Wikipedia search should tell you the answer to that question. :)

  663. MsNamio says:

    Hi there, this is just the info I needed about how to get my own domain name from someone who speculatively registered it!

  664. Brilliant write up which has without doubt been the contributing factor to us being able to grab the .com we have been after for three years! Thanks ever so much for your insight into the process Mike. :)

  665. […] P.S. Yes, I’m reading this article. […]

  666. Raj says:


    Its a brilliant article. I am after a domain name from last few years and hopefully it will be expiring in few days. It is registered through speednames. As per the knowledge granted by the article and the comments, I guess the best bet is to find who is the partner of this registrar and then place backorder so as to have a guaranteed kind of thing. So, Do anyone have knowledge that who is the partner of so as to avoid Any help will be really appreciated.

  667. RC says:

    Not trying to sound like a broken record Mike but kudos on a really great article. I’ve worked for Godaddy for a few years now and have seen plenty of successful backorders. Seeing that a backorder is not a guarantee they’ll get the domain, i suggest they use multiple drop catching services to improve their chances. Similar to what you did. I’ll definatley be sharing this blog with those who could benefit from your story. Since it would be an obvious conflict of interest, I cannot backorder domains through Godaddy. In the past I have used Snapnames services and both times they were succesfull. It’s an amazing feeling when you actually catch the domain and see an email in your inbox congradulating you. Like em so much i’m using Snapnames again for a recently expired domain, wish me luck :)

  668. I had a domain registered way back when almost everything was still available, It was a domain that my wife and I simply had pictures of the family the kids and such up for the family members around the country to see and stay in touch. Well we got lazy and accidently let it expire. The Domain was purchased by someone in the middle east that thought they had landed a whopper because the site was and my Name is Jim Henson. So this guy thinks I’m the famous rich guy even though he had already died 8 years prior. I contacted him and offered him $ 100 bucks explainig I was just a low paid working guy and it was a site for my family he agreed he would sell it to me for $10K what a jerk well not an exciting ending but he finally got tired and his 5 yrs of reg ran out I finally got it back with a regular reg with go daddy last year. So sometimes if it’s not a great name and the spammers get tired of waiting you get lucky sometimes

  669. By the way Mike Great Story I have a domain my Father in law wants that just went into redemption 5 days ago and GoDaddy won’t let me backorder because someone else already has. It is registered with Network solutions and I dont have much cash if I backorder with network solutions (if its available) you think that would work for me??

  670. steve says:

    The big drop catchers are taking over the industry. Verisign wants a whole new system.

  671. […] How to Snatch an Expiring Domain – Article from Mike Davidson on how he registered an expiring domain […]

  672. […] do you get an expired domain…old story, but a good read: expired domain auctions  Bottom line is this, if it can earn 2 cents a day it can provide 6% ROI, at 3 cents a day […]

  673. […] How to Snatch an Expiring Domain This article will explain the domain expiration process and what you need to do in order to use it to your advantage. An article by Mike Davidson. […]

  674. Peping says:

    I’ve been looking all over the Internet for this information. Thank you for sharing and explaining the details very clearly. With what I learned from your post, I now have a better chance of grabbing my dream domain, which just expired yesterday. :)

  675. Martin says:

    Not sure it is a brilliant move because of course if your domain is interesting and you call 3 companies to get the name for you. They know now this domain will be free and you can be sure that it is one of the company you called that started to bid on this domain name. They wanted the name to sell it a better price after. Maybe raised the price too exactly like peoples do on ebay. If it is a simple nowhere domain name so only raised the price. $369 is not a big number so maybe your domain is not so important and you got scammed.

    Anyway very very cool and useful informations i got here, thank you.
    I got mine for $8.95 after the 75 days. :D

  676. Mike D. says:

    Martin: Thanks for your expert wisdom, but I think I made out ok.

  677. Mike and Mike in the Morning says:

    Hey Mike,

    Thanks for the great information.

    I was wondering if you could clarify something for me. How does this all change if the domain has already expired? (The domain I’m interested in expired 2 weeks ago, and has the whois now.)


  678. Mike D. says:

    Mike and Mike in the Morning: It doesn’t change anything. Just subtract that from the timeline.

  679. Mike and Mike in the Morning says:

    Thanks, Mike, appreciate the quick response.

  680. […] yourself shaking Frank’s hand). Maybe you stumble upon a story of catching an expired name, like this one, (It’s a little dated, add to the list of back-ordering services, but still the […]

  681. […] quite relevant to our clients as well. Mike Davidson has written a great, first-hand account about Snatching An Expiring Domain Name. Thanks for that […]

  682. John Dowe says:

    Wow, by the end of reading all (ok may be not all) of this, it sounds like a ‘from rags to riches’ story, well may be not rags, but you get the idea. :)

    Well I learnt a lot, not that I’m looking for a domain which I’m not. I only happend by this great blog because someone on another forum was asking about this very thing and I thought it would be interesting to find out.

    Now onto finding my own ‘rags to riches’ domain, and this time I do mean Rags ;)

    Congratulations on your achievement.

  683. AK says:

    RE: Post 560 Marcus

    Were you successful in getting your trademarked domain name? I am facing the same situation now! Any advice would be appreciated!

  684. dan says:

    The process needs to be legally changed? Registering companies should
    not be able to buy domain names. They should only be able to
    register them for you-period! A young lawyer, or congressional
    representative needs to put these companies in place. ICANN should
    be regulated heavily-they are making a ton. As far as I know, the
    the true price of a website name is $6.42+.20 cents. This article needs to be completely updated-it’s way too old-maybe only a few of us care anyway.
    Plus-people-put a little thought into a name, or give your money to a good
    charity because you are just making a few assholes very rich. Thanks Mike-

  685. Lee says:

    Thanks for explaining the process Mike.
    It is more complicated and expensive than I thought.
    Tell me, does the same process apply for domains?

  686. […] Mike Davidson – How to Snatch an Expiring Domain […]

  687. Mae Hope Balla says:

    I’m just a rookie in this field. It’s sad to know how this domain business has grown into a huge organized mafia-like syndicate just to obtain a good domain. Gone are the days when you can obtain a good domain name for just the standard $8 or $9+ by simply being the first one to reg it from your registrar (without any middleman deals).

    I hope some kind of respectable industry-wide regulation takes over, to even out the playing field and put these greedy sharks out of business.

  688. Becky says:

    You are an excellent writer! The article was depressing as hell :) But honest and funny… I appreciated it!

  689. Reggie says:

    I am new to this domain name business, how does one get started?

  690. […] Here is a particularly good article I found a few months ago when I was researching this topic: […]

  691. susan says:

    I don’t know if anyone has legally challenged any of these companies, but it would seem to me that most have a “conflict of interests” going on. Take for instance Sedo,Moniker,TDNAM-Godaddy and other aftermarket domain sellers or autioners, that also offers Appraisals….inevitably they could give you a lowball figure…all the while perhaps snatching it up anonymously at the lowball price and then reselling at a higher price…this isn’t unheard of. Go daddy made me mad when they sneakily offer backorders for $18.95….but didn’t bother to tell you the rules had changed and becaus4e they have varied interests going on, that it now goes to auction first…..bidding it up….Lawyers could have a field day with this…as I would bet there would be conflict of interests on so many levels…..

  692. That is an EXCELLENT post! Thank you very much! It helps me tremendously!

  693. oyun oyna says:

    Where does Godaddy’s tdnam play in the whole expiration process? I actually snatched a domain from someone else even though the owner had backordered (Godaddy) that domain himself

  694. Seth says:

    Hey Mike,

    I have a kinda wtf problem with a domain I’ve been trying to grab for nearly 2 years now.

    In August of 07, the domain went into Redemption and exactly one month later, went into PendingDelete. Unfortunately, GoDaddy Backorder failed me (snatched up by some NAME SERVICES jerks) which actually caused me to find your great article.

    Here is the wtf-weird part: On 9/16/08, They renewed the domain and the expiration became 9/15/09 from 9/15/08. But on 10/27/08, The status changed to RedemtionPeriod, and the expiration date changed back to 9/15/08. …. and thats where it has stayed now for 60 days. No changes. What is going on? Is it ever going to delete?

  695. […] domain.I didn’t even know idiots speculated on domain names so this was a terrible shock but this article was most useful. Then fate smiled upon me to overcome this minor setback.When I consulted the […]

  696. GiladG says:

    @Seth – Having followed many domains, this is a phenomena which I had noticed time and time again. It looks as if when a domain enters “expired” status many registrars show a new expiration date one year into the future, however, this date changes as it enters the “pending delete” status.

    Looks like your domain should be available any day now…

  697. BrianG says:

    Does anyone know how can you determine the status of a domain name? How do you know if it’s in the “expired”, “redemption period”, “locked”, “dropped/available” status? The domain I am looking at was set to expire recently and is now set to expire a year later, but I’m thinking based on some comments that this domain may just be in the “expired” state before it goes into the “redemption period” state. Thanks!

  698. GiladG says:

    Your best guess would be to monitor the whois information. If it one of those wired states it should settle sooner or later. In addition you can visit the site and see what comes up. If it was renewed in many cases it will show some page.

  699. justin says:

    I’ve learned a ton from this article, but don’t have hours to read all 634 comments to see if my answer is in there….

    Question….I eyeing a domain that is with Network Solutions and set to expire in Feb 09. Does SnapNames still have the exclusive with them? Meaning…can I put this thing and backorder and probably get it?

  700. David says:

    Great resource. I’ve used the services mentioned before and done ok. Got a different question: Have you ever contacted the owner or manager of an expiring domain and offered cash to switch the domain to you and skip this process altogether? I’d like to know the pros and cons of this method.
    Thanks a million-

  701. Mike D. says:

    David: I’ve done it and I’ve had it done to me as well. Generally (in both cases), the inquirer will make a quick, seemingly casual inquiry, and the inquiree will come back with something like “Well, I’m not really looking to sell, but make me an offer”. At which time, the inquirer says how about “$100″ and the inquiree says “actually, it would have to be more like $10,000″.

    That is usually the end of the conversation. :)

  702. GiladG says:

    @Mike: LOL, just went through the same process with a domain I really wanted. Offered the usual “$100″ and ended up paying $3,700. On the other hand I was able to acquire such domain for $50 so it really depends.

  703. Obama says:

    That’s what i am looking for……
    nice article…
    vary helpful to me…

  704. bindu says:

    The whole domain process has more flights that one can chew. But it is very discourging for a domain buyer, if he really wants a domain. The regisstrars are acting as domain poachers, and they never allow to fly away all the good dropping domains out of their systems. Only the little domians escape them, and then we fight for those crumbs at auctions. It is foolish and silly.

  705. justin says:

    I’m watching a domain that is with Network Solutions and set to expire in Feb 09. Does SnapNames still have the exclusive with Network Solutions?

    Can I put in a backorder and probably get it?

  706. Tony Steel says:

    Well written article.

    I’ve been foolish enough to let a domain name expire and it is now in the redemption period at Tucows.

    As it is name specific – I.E my name followed by “films” would that make it less likely Tucows would keep it or auction it?

    How can you still grab it during the redemption period as the official previous owner?

  707. Mike D. says:

    Tony: Yes, you just need to contact Tucows and you can get the name back. Will probably cost you extra though.

  708. Sean says:

    If you register a backorder with multiple companies, do you have to pay the ones that fail to grab the name for you, or only the one that does?

  709. Jon says:

    Great explanation – thanks for sharing!

  710. Sharon says:

    Nearly fours years later and this is still a pretty good article. Thanks for the read! I would love an update if possible just to know if the article is still relevant in 2009.

    BTW definitely was a good choice. It has a nice ring to it and is easy to remember. Actually, I had heard of it before ever reading this article, so it was kind of neat to see the inside story.

  711. Scott says:

    I wish I would have found this 5 days ago. I just watched one hell of a domain name get grabbed by someone else because I signed up with If I would have had any idea I would have signed up with and would probably be bragging about my catch right now.

    thanks for posting the info.

  712. Jeremy says:

    Mike…(or somebody please!)…need some advice…

    A domain that I want to pick-up is set to expire on 2/24/09 and it’s with NETWORK SOLUTIONS, LLC., what’s my best course of action to get it?!?

  713. Peete says:

    Thanks for the info. This will help us alot on securing our domain

  714. Dear Mike, keeps being the best, even if the “2 phase bidding system” you described was discontinued years ago. now uses a standard proxy bidding system, much like the system used by Ebay.

    Anyway, I’m grateful for this post: without I wouldn’t know and – probably – my domain wouldn’t be mine (for just 60US$)!

    Mike, thank you!


  715. Ardent says:

    Its a hard game trying to snatch up a domain, but it can pay big dividends!

  716. Excellent piece on expired domains. I was documenting an article on the topic and came accross this post. And I knew without a clue about the history behind it, which made the things a little intriguing. Many thanks for sharing this information – will quote you for sure

  717. whatsinaname says:

    Please be careful when you use NamJet. It appears that they share information with Melbourne IT.

    I signed up with NameJet to try to get a very, very low value domain name. It is my abbreviated first name and last name plus .com. The site belonged to a defunct Florida mortgage broker two/three years ago and last year it was snapped up by someone else probably because it had some residual traffic (probably).

    This November, it was not renewed. I signed up with NameJet in late November and waited and waited. On February 14th, NameJet informed me it was in Pending Delete. Since no-one else was interested in the domain, I just waited some more.

    Then on February 24th, Melbourne IT sent me an email asking me for my credit card information in order to secure this domain name. If I wanted it for one year it would be $60 (USD), $95 for two and so on.

    Now, the curious part is how they got my contact info and how did they know I wanted this domain name? Just a really educated guess? They just somehow knew I wanted a domain name with my abbreviated first name and last name?

    Anyways, I poked around and finally got a phone number for a Melbourne IT outpost in San Francisco and the representative let it slipped that they work with NameJet. When I tried to dig deeper she totally backtracked and tried to say she didn’t mean that Melbourne IT and NameJet work together.

    Well, I know I don’t have hard evidence that NameJet sold/shared my information and interest in a certain domain name with Melbourne IT but it is too much of a coincidence in my opinion.

  718. Great post Mike, thanks for all the info. ;)

  719. Erica says:

    I need to acquire an expiring domain registered through TuCows and I saw that you mentioned that TuCows has or is starting to offer their names to an exclusive auction site. I can’t find this info on the TuCows site (I can never find ANYTHING I’m looking for on their site, come to think of it…). Do you happen know what service they are parterning with?

  720. techhead says:

    Dropped domains are generally not deemed as valuable these days. I just picked up a PR3 dropped domain from digitalpoint forum for $14, even less than the 18.99 back order charge from godaddy. It’s actually quite good(, just you got to be a Chinese to understand the meaning of it.

  721. Bryce says:

    Help…I’ve got my eye on a domain set to expire 3/16/09. It’s registered with GoDaddy. What does this status info mean?
    Status: clientDeleteProhibited
    Status: clientRenewProhibited
    Status: clientTransferProhibited
    Status: clientUpdateProhibited

    I’m assuming it means the owner isn’t going to be able to renew the domain?? I also noticed today that the expiration date has changed to 3/16/10. So what does all this mean? Has it started into the expire process? Has GoDaddy taken over? Is it worth my time to try and get drop company to get the domain for me?

  722. I believe that message shows up when the domain is locked. Go daddy provides the control to lock/unlock the domain to the domain owners. It could be a long while before the domain becomes available for registration even if the current owner does not renew.

  723. Chelle says:

    Thanks so much for writing this – I’m trying to think of a good domain for a new site I am starting – and about 99% of them are taken…but NONE of them are actual websites, so that’s pretty frustrating! I will have to check these out…four years later from when you originally wrote it so I’m sure some things are different, but I had no idea these services existed, so it’s a good place to start :)

  724. TLI Software says:

    4 years later would you like to update us on how to approach snatching an expiring domain now?

  725. Darryl says:

    Great read. Although I’m not one for being interested in snapping up those all important domain names. Still, something to think about. Better make sure that doesn’t happen to my domains. Looking forward to more future posts.

  726. Mike D. says:

    TLI: Nope. Not particularly. I’m not really in the domain business. Just needed to get one a few years ago.

  727. abhas art says:

    Thanks, Mike! If not for this article, I would not have been able to acquire the domain I have been dying to get. I got it for $79 from (even though I had signed up with all 3 of them)! cheers.

  728. Ben says:

    I once did a bit of programming work for that site! What a small world.

  729. Alexei says:

    Your page freezes my IE7
    It doesnt happen with firefox
    Does anyone else have this problem?

    Great article, i guess people usually thinks that a domain can be grabbed by someone else the next day after it expires

  730. Dougman says:

    Good article very informative. Though I know some domains you can make millions off of if your lucky but I also know you can’t take register domains that are trademarked already. Say for instance a new chain of stores comes out you can’t take that store name as a domain name unless you can prove that you had it before they trademarked the name. So alot of it is luck by picking the right domain name to sell later on down the road. But like I said even if your not going to sell it you can’t take any domain names that are already trademarked.

  731. Mike Davidson, twas a great article indeed. Very informative and definitely worth telling to my colleagues. Having read this, it reminds me not to procrastinate and always on the lookout of your existing domains.

    The internet is surely one dangerous, conniving, diabolical, deceitful, fiendish, and a hell of a playground. Kudos to you for providing this invaluable insight !!

  732. Paul says:

    You set four alarms for 7:45am Saturday morning? What a freak! You remind me of me – that’s the sort of nerdy thing I would do myself :)

  733. John says:

    Mike, thanks for sharing your great story and insight. I have a trademark for a name and I have all several top level domains of the mark, except for the .com. It’s not being used by the owner (parked page) and the expiration date is coming up in September. I could use the .org version, but i really want the .com. Which service do you think is good these days to grab that domain name? It’s not registered with network solutions. It looks like snapnames and pool are the best choices. what have you heard lately? Thanks -John

  734. LadyK says:

    Ok… So what about our registars that offer us to BACKORDER a domain name if it’s not available?

    I backorder all the time… Sometimes I get the name I want and sometimes I don’t because the person at last minute pays for another year and it’s taken off the list again.

    BACKORDERING with your registar seems to work for me and I don’t have to do a auction… I just pay my $7.00 and it’s mine!


  735. Luke says:

    Mike, this was exactly what I needed to know. I am concerned that since the article was published has this process changed in any way or is it still exactly the same.

    4 years in IT is an extremely long time!

    Thanks again!

  736. Wow, what a marathon reading through all those comments! Quite an achievement that this blog is still so high on Google after so many years – and surprising that the information is still so relevant after all this time.

    Depressing, though – I’m after a domain name which would be very useful to one of my websites, but I’m just an amateur – there’s no way I’d spend more than $50 on it. So it sounds like I will just have to forget the whole thing!

  737. W.D. says:

    Mike: congrats this gr8 “ageless” blog piece and on your M$ success!

    I’m now pretty much convinced that buying a ($19) backorder via GoDaddy is pointless for snatching a domain worth of any value that’s currently on another registrar.
    (maybe useful only as notification service)

    1. Would this hold true even if the name would be registered with goDaddy? (as they might have 1st dibs to secure it, or does it go back into a PUBLIC ICANN pool)

    2. Does anyone know how GoDaddy’s BackOrder service works in conjunction with TDNAM?

    I have unconfirmed reports that GoDaddy is placing expired domains on TDNAM w/o the person who placed the GD BackOrder’s knowledge (on those particular domains). This appears to be a blatant conflict of interest, as they’re acting against the the person who paid them for the backorder.

  738. Following up on #737 and #721, how can we process any of this if the domain is held by the registrar? I have two domains I’m looking at and they both expired. The client’s registration that is… Both domain names hold a “registrar hold” until 2010 (one extra year).

    What are the chances of a back-ordering system (like NameJet or getting that domain name before 1 year after expiration instead of the 75?

    This domain registration business reeks from every pore… *disgusting*

    Great ageless post Mike! :)

  739. Mark says:

    Mike – First, let me say, thank you for your intelligent write up on your domain drop experience. Your advice is as relevant 4 years later as the day you first wrote it. Much respect!

    I’m going to share my recent experience in hopes that it is also helpful to others. In my case the expiring domain I was after was a requirement for a product I will be launching later this year. Initially, I set up a backorder with Godaddy, but got nervous and backordered with SnapNames and NameJet when I realized that the domain was previously registered at eNom. Supposedly, NameJet has an exclusive relationship with eNom that gives them some priority when names drop from eNom’s customers. Didn’t seem to matter in my case. SnapNames picked up the domain for me first. There was a brief scare when SnapNames emailed me to tell me the domain was going into a 3 day auction and I was the current high bidder. 3 days later, no other bids, and the domain was mine! So was it worth it? You bet! I paid $60 to SnapNames and $20 to Godaddy, no payment to NameJet because they only charge a “success” fee. At the end of the day, I got the domain I had to have, for $80. No complaints. I hope this info helps others in similar situations.

  740. Unfortunately, sometimes those harmless-looking, perfectly-named domains may have a checkered past. Before picking up a domain name that may be banned or blocked due to previously delivering malware, trojans, or porn, you need to do a background check.

    We’ve set up a free Domain Background Check cheat sheet at – just enter the domain name you are researching and we generate 14 links to domain check, anti-malware, and other tools to quickly check if your domain name is ready for business or is still on parole.

  741. Just wanted to thank you for this superb post: I got the domain name I was after through Snapnames for $59, thanks to your recommendations. And was really amazed at how easy the whole thing is.

  742. James Litwin says:

    I would suggest using the Internet Archive to do your background check of the domain.

  743. colin says:

    i backordered a domain name hosted with Godaddy and lost it 30 seconds before the bidding expired during the grace period.I see also this bidder has something called automatic turned on which i assume outbid me up to a certain $$ amount.No one else up until a few mins before had even bid on the domain name besides myself. No doubt i was upset. Is it worth spending the money with companies like pool, snapnames etc since godaddy is the registrar and it was their bidding so they have control over the release of the domain name aswell? other option is to contact the current domain holder and offer him extra $$ to buy it if can renew it still?

  744. Kathleen says:

    We backordered a domain name hosted with Godaddy and heard nothing. Now I see it’s listed on their auction with one bid for $10. Is there anything I can do? I’m not familiar with these auctions. There is 10 days left. Thank you.

  745. Glenn says:

    A very informative article.

    I had the opposite a few years ago being inexperienced in the process.

    I registered my interest in a domain name and when it finally became available it was then offered to me for $30000.00 USD
    I was extremely disillusioned with the whole industry.


  746. Nick S says:

    This is a very well written article, but it was published in 2005. Is the process and the players still the same?

  747. Naati says:

    What is the best why to find out what domains will expire? Is there any difference in Australia?

  748. SGB says:

    Few of the registerer controlling the whole market,they dont want you have valuable domains.When a very valuable domain about to expire thet will be the first to register.Its become a dirty bussiness

  749. Mike, this is an AMAZING article.

    Want to add my 2 cents, that if you’re looking for a domain drop and it’s registered at, use, they’re the official partner for, which is Tucow’s partner registrar.

  750. Philip says:

    Great information! Just as you I’m looking after some domain name and a bit disappointed that I will not get it in those 6 days left before my desired domain expires :( But at least I do know now what I can do.


  751. Giri says:

    Looks like NameJet is now the official partner for Network Solutions. And they have upped the minimum bid to $69.
    Thanks for the post. Now I will go with Namejet (as opposed to godaddy) since the domain I am after is with Network Solutions.

  752. Stuart Noton says:

    Very useful article, thanks. Will be going through this for a friend of mine soon… I can hardly wait. Bring on the stress!

  753. Tyler Collier says:

    Thank you so much for taking the time to write this up. It was so helpful. I really had no idea of the process.

  754. Rick says:

    Great article. If you use multiple back order sites for the same domain name, can you end up competing against yourself?

  755. Minimummy says:

    Just a quick question for the pro’s =]

    If you cover all bases by back ordering on all of the sites do you not lose money?

    By that I mean if I paid them all but say for example got it for me is there a hidden clause with godaddy and co that means I still have to pay them?

    Thanks in advance

  756. Minimummy says:

    :o How did it get my picture? Very clever. Kudos Mr Mike.

  757. Great detailed article. What service/tool would I use to find expired domains that still have links to it?

  758. Warren says:

    That is a good question Jimmy. I am under the impression that once a domain expires then there is a few day period that they wait for renewal. If they dont renew it then I think the domain gets recycled and you can

  759. Excellent article. I waited for one domain and this story of yours helped me a little bit to understand what’s going on and I believe it saved me $90. I wrote about it in detail on my blog at

  760. pzdude says:

    don’t feel like reading through 700+ comments. Did you ever reveal what the domain name was? Either way, what was it????

    I was able to get one without going through this whole process…one day I checked, it wasn’t available…was showing as being deleted….tried a few days later, and got it…even used a coupon code….maybe i lucked out….

  761. mann says:

    What a great story

    And after reading some of the comments, I saw & read Update #2
    Simply beautiful …

    And it gets even better when seeing Msnbc owns the website now hahahaha

    Waiting for Update #3, Mike.
    and you probably will guess the desired content ^^

  762. Andrew says:

    I just ran a little test on a domain name I have tracked for a few years. It was set to expire 10/1/09 so on 9/22/09 I looked up the registrar of record (TUCOWS), went to their site and was led to Afternic for the auction. I looked up the domain listing on Afternic (0 bids active, minimum bid $259, etc). I did NOTHING ELSE. A few days later I checked WHOIS and the domain had been re-registered as of the same day I had made the Afternic query (9/22).

    My simple conclusion is that Afternic shares any queries with the domain owner so they can hold on to “valuable” property and screw any interested party. Sounds unethical to me.

  763. Angie says:

    The information isn’t correct. First all companies that domains are registered have different processes. When a domain expires, it really does expire however the domain goes into a redemption period. Most companies offer the current owner the first opportunity to REDEEM it. Usually the first 20 or so days are for only the normal renewal cost, after that, there is an additional fee applied. Backorders never guarantee someone a domain.

  764. GFT says:

    This article surpasses the description of informative. Many may not realize some of the largest domaineers such as Kevin Ham, Garry Chernoff, Scott Day, Frank Shilling, Yun Ye and Craig Lovik made their mark using this and similar strategies from 1997-2004.

    It’s also misleading to look up WhoIs information believe that a domain expires at midnight on the DOE. I’m glad you took the time to write this article and explain the intricacies of the process and how patience pay off in the end. Hat’s off.

  765. Richard Inman says:

    Very informative article – just what I needed. Many thanks.

  766. Sshaggy says:

    Hi Mike.

    I was really thrilled to read your post. It was quite enjoyable.

    Actually I was searching for “How to snatch a registered domain” and I ended up here. The domain I am looking for is expiring next week. And I am seriously looking forward to grab it.

    The article was quite informative as well as entertaining. I will surely put a link to this post in my website.

    But one thing, me and most of other user will surely want to know what was the domain name, which created such a tense environment. Please do post the website when it is ready.

    Once again, the article is really great.

  767. Mike D. says:

    How are people missing “Update #2″. The domain was

  768. Dmytro says:

    First of all, excellent article. Second of all,, good domain name and it’s crazy to think that (at least according to the footer), Newsvine has been running since 2005 now and you never told us!

    The question I think we are all thinking in our heads as we read this however is: is it worth it? Is it worth it for us to spend that much money and go through all that trouble to get the domain name we want? For some people, the answer is clear and simple, mostly because their domain name is probably very popular or very valuable… or both. For others, like me, it really makes me think:

    - Do I really want this domain name?
    – How much am I willing to spend to get it?
    – If I don’t get it, will I be satisfied with some alternate domain name that’s similar to the one I want?

    It’d be nice if you could’ve given your thoughts about these issues and how this info can help or apply to us; as well as which company we should choose out of the three you mentioned, if we only want to invest in one.

    It would also be nice if you explained more about GoDaddy’s backorders, what they really are and how they work. Would they really help you, with a not super popular domain name at least? What do they do?

    And one last question arises in my mind: can you get an expired domain name without backorders or any professional companies working for you? If it’s not a very popular domain name, but it has been taken before and is set to expire, is it possible for someone to get it without any of that, simply by checking every day if it is available?

    Thanks for the article!


    P.S. It seems one of your links has expired. The link to “my hosting company of choice”, which links to “” doesn’t work, and I would like to read more about a hosting company that you think is good.

  769. Mike D. says:

    The question I think we are all thinking in our heads as we read this however is: is it worth it?

    A simple Google or Wikipedia search for Newsvine should tell you the answer to that question. I am not a domain speculator. I got so I could build a business around it. It was the best $369 I’ve ever spent.

  770. Dmytro says:

    In reply to *your* reply to Sshaggy, we are missing the second update because it’s not very noticeable and because you updated it very recently! I viewed this article three days ago and the update was not there – had I not come back for a second read, I wouldn’t have noticed. In fact, I almost missed it, because I planned on being lazy and not reading through Update #1. Plus, your second update is too close to the comments, and most people don’t want to read other people’s comments, they just scroll down to the very bottom to post their own.

    That’s why we miss it. :D Okay, but now that we now about the domain name and I went there and saw Newsvine, I’m amazed. I think I might’ve heard of it sometimes, but I never knew it was there and it looks fun and awesome. Did you built it all by yourself? Because it says it’s owned my MSNBC. Why didn’t you write any posts about it? Why was this all so secretive?

  771. Mike D. says:

    Dmytro: You don’t appear to be very big on reading or research. Update #2 has been there for well over two years. Again, I recommend Wikipedia or Google for anything you may be curious about. There is nothing secretive here.

  772. Dmytro says:

    It’s been there for two years? Well.. wow! I’m sorry then, I must’ve missed it the first time I read this article – and that just proves my point about how unnoticable it is. Perhaps put it up at the top, or even better, edit your whole blog post and replace “the domain name I wanted” with “”?

    I am quite big on reading and research to tell you the truth, but I don’t want to argue, so I’ll just say: I did go to Wikipedia and searched up Newsvine. That’s why I said in my first comment here “Newsvine has been running since 2005 now and you never told us!”.

    All I meant about secretive was not finding a blog post about Newsvine *here* on this blog – and in that case, you might be right, Isince did not scour this blog for articles about Newsvine, so you might’ve actually mentioned it. My mistake. Sorry!

  773. Dmytro says:

    “A simple Google or Wikipedia search for Newsvine should tell you the answer to that question. I am not a domain speculator. I got so I could build a business around it. It was the best $369 I’ve ever spent.”

    But if you didn’t get that domain name, you could’ve surely chosen another name for Newsvine and made the same profit and the same successful business, no?

    All right then, which service do you recommend me using if I’m serious about getting the domain name, but not serious enough to register with all three? definitely sounds like the best one according to your blog post, but I also have to agree with your suspicions – that the company might be secretly bidding themselves to get the domain or that the other bidder who was bidding against you might not have been a real person at all…

  774. Sshaggy says:

    Dear Mike

    I read the article quite casually. But I didn’t find the domain name. Also I read a few first comments, where people were asking you for the domain name. So I safely assumed that u haven’t yet disclosed it. Anyways, Newsvine is quite worth of $369.

  775. Joe says:

    I read your story with the greatest of interest, not because I knew of you or Newsvine, but because I am going to purchase a domain for the first time and the one I would like is beginning to expire. Excellent write-up, even though the information may now be a bit dated. The lesson here, however, is that any of us with these questions can still educate ourselves on the current process just as you did, and that good things can come from sticking with a dream and doing the work and research to make it happen. I visited your site and immediately noticed the MSNBC logo at the bottom, so I figure you made out pretty well with your $369. Congratulations, and thank you for the information and the story.

  776. Vlad says:

    Very informative story and great how to. I wonder is there any ways to get a domain name on your own or using some service without paying a dime. Nothing bits free in my opinion.

  777. Leanne says:

    Great article, thank you. There’s a domain I’m hoping to grab, and some of these services seem sketchy. Learning more about how they work goes a long way towards making me feel better about entering credit card information, making a bid, covering my eyes and hoping it works out.

  778. Simple says:

    Even though its been some time since the original post, it was still an interesting read. I hope you’ve remembered to renew it after so long. :)

    I’m looking at an expiring domain at the moment, while I wouldn’t mind paying a couple of hundred for it, after doing a keyword search, I feel it could easily triple that.

    I reckon I’ll give my fingers some exercise and click refresh every minute or two.

  779. Mike D. says:

    It’s been there for two years? Well.. wow! I’m sorry then, I must’ve missed it the first time I read this article – and that just proves my point about how unnoticable it is. Perhaps put it up at the top, or even better, edit your whole blog post and replace “the domain name I wanted” with “”?

    Dmytro: No, it doesn’t really prove anything besides the fact that you skim blog entries, don’t read the details, and then jump to all sorts of conclusions. In case you haven’t realized it yet, I don’t particularly care what you get out of this blog entry or anything else around here. Those who are interested in reading complete articles will get complete information… those are aren’t, will get something less. And I’m totally fine with that.

  780. This is a great thriller story, I’ve read the whole thing and then got the bonus in end. The name.

    I’m feeling lucky to found this entry and got some idea how SnapNames works. Have to try them :)

    Thanks Mike.

  781. “SnapNames: Former exec. bid up domain prices”

  782. Justo says:

    Hello Mike,
    Your article was great and the feedback from everyone is very informative. Can you tell me how and if this process differs with a domain registered with the registrar being in Sweden called and located at:

    Loopia Webbhotell AB, Loopia Registry
    Country SE

    Looking Forward to a response!
    Thank You!!

  783. Neil says:

    “SnapNames: Former exec. bid up domain prices”

    We were all suspicious this was happening and it turns out we were right. This guy bid on the one snapnames auction I was in on.

    ICANN are on the take one way or another. They make their money from registrars. You can’t ask wolves to provide security for us sheep.

  784. Brian says:

    Great article – helped me out a lot today!

  785. This was a huge help, thanks. I’m about to go for an expiring domain that’s a friends legal name so hopefully it won’t go into the auction phase since it’s pretty unique. I might go with Godaddy and take the chance. It just bugs me that snap doesn’t provide any transparency like the identity of the other bidders, wow that’s suspicious…

  786. Thanks for sharing this treasure trove of information with us. It has given me a real insight into expiring domains and how the whole process works.

    The domain name business really needs some renovation with expiring domains. The Verisign idea sounds good, maybe better if for example objections could be put in place so that Tucows et al don’t reserve a load of expiring domains for the sake of it.

  787. Vernon says:

    Thanks for posting this.

    I found your page while trying to develop a strategy to purchase domain name that is currently in ‘expired’ status. After doing some reading here, I researched the domain and discovered that registrar is known as a ‘spam house’ that has been linked to at least one sign up scam for adult sites.

    I won’t be bidding on the name. Even if I was successful, the URL has probably been banned or flagged by every SE on the planet.

    By the way, for fun you might want to Google the registrar’s address “PMB 368, 14150 NE 20th St – F1″


  788. Big Bad Bill says:

    Wow, I found this thinking it would be easy…
    Back to the drawing board I guess

  789. nono says:

    What companies like enom and snapnames should do to lift out these suspicions about shill bidding (which I do think are very concerning and legitimate concerns) would be to let you put the maximum bid price you’re willing to pay when placing your backorder. The service cost $60, you should have an option to say “I’ll pay $60 if you manage to catch the domain and I won’t participate in any bidding war, I’ll pay $60 and that’s it”. That would lift the suspicions of “shill bidders”: you make your intent clear from the start if there’s only *one* other bidder you won’t buy the domain.

  790. Kimberly says:

    Hi Mike,
    Nice to post on a site without having to register
    distracts from comment wanting to make to start with.

    I had to say It is Really amazing how your story and
    experience from 5 years ago is still going strong.

    You go.. All I did was type in search reference to
    backordering domains success rate of?

    Thanks for your information very helpful.

  791. anna says:

    great article, mike! it really helped a lot to demystify what exactly the “90 day waiting period” was when i asked godaddy if i could purchase an expired domain name.

    in case anyone else is thinking of doing a backorder with godaddy, you actually have to purchase the backorder first and then type in the domain name you want. seems a bit backwards to me and another way of making $$ but whatever, i hope it works.

    happy buying!

  792. styx says:

    Thanks for telling us. I was thinking I can easy buy expired domains by myself, but thanks to you now I have a better idea on how to act in such situations. +10

    PS: I see you wrote the article in 2005. Did you sell the domain to msnbc?

  793. Ed Harris says:

    Well…Now I know. No wonder I have been missing out on some of these domains.

  794. Nitin says:

    You know I just searched for “domains about to expire” thinking that it will be something easy to go after. You showed up first and looks like I don’t need to read any further. Thanks for such a comprehensive article, you cleared up so many things. Btw, those 369 dollars would have been your luckiest dollars for sure.

  795. Mark says:

    What makes you say is a valuable domain? Can you please elaborate? I know you said it’s valuable to you. Did it have good pagerank from day one? Or is there some TV/sports reference (I follow neither) that I don’t get? (didn’t get the A-Rod reference and have never heard of Scott Boras). I mean it’s not valuable like or, right?

  796. Great information. What is the best domain catcher to use these days ? would pool still be OK ?

  797. Mike D. says:

    Mark: I am not a domain speculator. Please read up on the history of Newsvine for your answer.

  798. I was just looking at buying a domain that just expired so going through and learning from your experience is great.

    Thank you for experiencing the pain so we could have the gain of the knowledge.

  799. WanderEyes says:

    Thanks so much for this article, it’s very informative.

    Can anyone who’s used these services give some insight as to what type of personal information is required upfront to use these the? Do you have to give your credit card info upfront, or name or address, etc. I’m always hesitant to give info to a company with whom I’m not certain I will be transacting business.

  800. Hi Mike. Thank you so much for this article. I see it was written in 2005 and I’m wondering how up-to-date it is. My writing site is non-profit and we scholarship cancer patients in writing therapy. Would you be willing to network with me and allow me to pick your brain? Thanks very much. Deborah

  801. Steerpike says:

    Great story and very educational!

    I am only glad you got your domain after so much effort.

    Just a quick question. If the domain name I am after is registered to, should I then engage in a Backorder with themselves?

    It seems odd I’ll have to bid to compete with Enom. Their website took me to a backorder provider called NameJet. I supposed they are related somehow?

    Any advise would be fab. Look forward to hearing from you.

  802. Thank You Thank You Thank You.
    I am whetting my feet in this domain catching process. Couple of years back the only net i used was godaddy, it’s has lots of holes in it. Godaddy, is a waste and made me loose on the domains i really wanted. Now i got many others nets to catch those trophies. Today, I did a test and succeeded, although, it was not a hot domain. Great Help. Great Post.

  803. Matt Byrne says:

    Excellent article – thanks!

  804. Tim says:

    Fascinating article. So fascinating people like myself are still commenting. Now that it’s years later, I was wondering if anyone knew how the process might have changed now that it’s 2010.

    Would be nice if things were more in the open. Sounds like walking in a dark cave and hoping you’ll come out on the other side of light.

  805. Nixon says:

    Another vote of thanks for this fascinating article. Like others who have commented, I would also be very interested to know how the “game” has changed in the intervening years, for better or worse.

  806. F Zaheer says:

    This is a very interesting article on both the domain expiry process as well as back-ordering.
    It looks like all the big guys of domain trade resort all kind of tactics.

    In my country India, domain resellers generally register customer’s domain in their own name so that they can force the customer to buy hosting & other services alongwith domain renewals. Many times these smalltime resellers shut shop and the customer cant renew the domain and sometimes loses it. I have been raising this issue on various platforms but unfortunately unable to get any success apart from verisign rep in India assuring that this is a important issue and customers need to be educated about it.

  807. I was pretty curious when domains expired since I know they don’t expire on the day they say.. but I never thought it was 75 days…

  808. I bought one from Snapnames in a very similar fashion.

    It was lame and exciting at the same time and for $200 I got:

    I managed to get this one just off a expiration for the $10!!

  809. I also just saw this article – years later!! I’m glad I’m not the only one to read and comment so many years later. My question – has GoDaddy cleaned up their act at all since this was written. I have several domains with them and this caused me to be a bit concerned.

  810. Albert says:

    Hey Mike,

    Like so many others I also researched how to grab a domain and I came across your story. Very well written and very informative. I finally decided on a first step that is so obvious that I’m surprised it isn’t everyone’s first step. I checked the whois database and e-mailed the administrative contact. Got a reply very soon and we settled the whole matter within days for a very reasonable price. No stress, no waiting. And the transfer to – in my case – GoDaddy was pretty smooth. One glitch occurred but the GoDaddy reps were very knowledgeable and able to make the whole experience a good one.
    You did grab yourself a great domain name though… Congrats!


  811. JZ says:

    Great article, but you forgot to mention one of the main players in domain “drop catching”, NameJet. I have purchased many names from NameJet, and from Snap Names, but stoped buying from Snap Names after one of their executives (Halvarez)was found to be bidding on names to get the sales price higher, I actually won a bid against him

  812. James M. says:

    I certainly hope there’s an update to this as 2005 is certainly long long ago. The post is very enlightening especially since it gave specific numbers ,e.g. 75 days. How would we mere mortals know about these details?

    My particular interest is in acquiring some 3-letter domains. Is it still possible in this day and age? the shortest I’ve gotten so far is a 4-letter .net domain.

  813. Aaron Wong says:

    Newsvine? Seriously? What a hook at the end! Great story. Great catch. Great idea.

  814. Airdrie Painters says:

    Thats a good domain. There are a copuple over the years I have been interested in. Waiting the allotted time is like sitting on pins and needles. I tried backorder once years ago, something and someone else got it. The website though, kept my money. Was not impressed.

    Because Pool said you had only one bidder, I wonder what other people’s experiences are. Has anyone never had another bidder? With the 1000’s that use Pool, it could be possible that they have the systems in place to flag potentially valuable domains, which someone verifies and phantom bidders are determined. Could turn a million dollar company into a billion dollar one. For this reason, I am leary as what kind of audit system do these websites have?

  815. Airdrie Painters says:

    @Micahel Sosnowski. I have used Namecheap for .com and for Canada (I am Canadian). I originally, many years ago used Network Solutions until the cheap wave of registrars came out. Then it was GoDaddy. However in 2003 they hijacked one of my domains,, because they had spam complaints. Without a warning they wanted $100 to reinstate the account. I just put in a transfer from Namecheap and got it moved fr $8.88 and never used GoDaddy again. On top of that, I changed my websites suggestions of using GoDaddy to Namecheap for my members. Since Prozilla sells turnkey websites, it was 1000’s of customers GoDaddy lost.

    How GoDaddy came to suspend my account was because I had an affiliate program and an affiliate (s) had sent emails to promote my program. GoDaddy never gave any warnings and never did give me any information so I could find out who the spammer in my program was. I have 100+ domains from Namecheap and have never had a problem.

  816. MBRW says:

    This is a great read ever about catch on an expiring domain. Luckily is still updating until 2010 from 2005. I am going to snap one expiring domain for my friend. This domain is non popular and specific for certain country. I am considering between and Since I have no expriences with backorder, who is the best between them for now? I am also considering but from what I have read your post, it does look like shadey in auction and I do really hates it.

    Apart from this – I do agree with Airdrie Painters about Namecheap. Except they are not offering any backorder domain service, they are the best domain register services I have ever used. I have use Godaddy without any problem actually but my friend has. That’s why I never purchase my important domain via Godaddy.

  817. Karl S. says:

    Thanks Mike. This is a great post. I learned a lot and think you’ve provided a tremendous resource for all of trying to figure out how we might get those domains we want that are about to expire.
    Keep up the great work.

  818. Aaron says:

    Did you ever mention what your website was?

  819. Hermit Crab Enthusiast says:

    Truly that was very informative. Too bad I read this a little too late. I was not able to manually bid for a certain domain name once it was dropped becasue it was automatically snatched up by the bigger guys.

    This led to continuous frustration, but I did end up coming across which I then decided to try, but this time I would pay the $60 to secure for my hobby site. I know this website might not seem like much but I bought it because I thought I would acquire the Page Rank and the domain age of the site.

    I am not sure if this made a difference at all…becasue once the domain name legally mine, the page rank dropped and the age of the domain reset.

    Please shed some light on this topic! Is there any way to save the PR of the website when it is in the Deletion process?

    Thank you in advanced.
    PS. Great Info!

  820. Benigram says:

    Yeah sure, you got your domain, but don’t you get the feeling you were bidding against a bot (which you most likely were) with the domain catchers?

  821. Hashim says:

    I was able to get my domain off for a good price too! doesn’t let you search for old expiring domains by keyword type, so it’s not really useful. And wow says 76,196 Domains Deleting Today, definitely have to look at this one!

    Thanks for this great post.

  822. scot says:

    hello : )

    would it be best to place the back order after the domain’s status reads “locked” and right at the last moment of the 5 day period between 11am and 2pm pacific time?

    just like the ebay bid strategy?

  823. Kat says:

    One of the best, informative articles I’ve read. I got the information I was looking for and entertained in the process! I didn’t expect that with a topic like this.

  824. tim says:

    I know this is a late post, but just checked the value of at – almost half a mil, not a bad investment.

  825. James D says:

    Does the day of expiration counts as the the 1st day of the 75, or is the 1st day the day after?

  826. Keven says:

    Just a basic thought, it is the actually WHOIS record connected to a domain, that is expiring. That is how we know the 75 day period, right?

    Example, if the whois record expires on April 30th, the clock starts on 12:00 May 1st?

  827. Adam says:

    Wow – I just totally got scammed there…

    I just ‘won’ an auction on NameJet (enom), with 1 bid as the ONLY bidder, and the damn thing jumped straight for my max bid!

    Since when does an online auction ‘bid’ all the way up to your max bid when there is no reserve and no other bids?! This is a total scam. I have sent them a ticket, but as they bill your CC straigt away, I have a feeling I’m not going to get very far with this.

    Be exceedingly careful here – services for domainers seem to be as much a group of cut-throat unethical theives as most domainers are themselves!

    What a bunch of bastard. Will update if/when they reply to my ticket…

  828. Walter Tramontana says:

    Thank you for such a well written article. It told me exactly what I needed to know.

    Now, I note that Newsvine is part of MSNBC – Did you sell your concept to them?

  829. Mike says:

    great info thanks. If you are looking for random quality domains, you can also try, it filters and displays the quality dropping domains. You can even hand register many of them, so for those who don’t want to pay extra, this may be an alternative.

  830. gregw2 says:

    Nice article and thanks you for the updates. It keeps it timely and current.

    I have used,,,,
    and one other one.
    They are all different and some overlap.

    I liked it when they were more competitive for the minimum bids.

    I was a member of Domainers Edge for a few months and then quit due to the harsh fees.

    Thanks for the article.

  831. David says:

    Great post – 5yrs old and still getting comments! I didn’t know how the expiring domain thing worked and this has informed me quite well. From what I can tell not much has changed in the process.

    A domain name I become interested in is currently in the Redemption period and its already controlled by ENOM. I think from what I’ve learned now I’ll take the wait and see approach and not play this bidding game.

    Understanding that I’ll most likely be needing to come up with a new name..which is important but I’m sure sold because of its content.


  832. Mike D. says:

    David: Yeah, it’s funny reading comments from some of these domain hucksters who think I sold the *domain* to and how cool that is. The domain is just a small part of the company and the product.

  833. David says:

    Just a follow up. The domain name I was interested went out of REDEMPTION PERIOD around 6/28 and then into its PENDING DELETE period of 5 days. Checking each day and when I checked on 7/4 it was….available! Now registered to me – Yay! \@_@/

    Hmmmm…now about that content….

  834. Tim says:

    @Adam – I wouldn’t say you got scammed. The bidding page states “Backorder bids are not proxy bids.”

  835. Callum says:

    Thought I’d let you all know a strange thing about NameJet. To get my domain I registered with SnapNames, Pool & NameJet.

    During the deletion period, NameJet had my domain-to-be listed as “Pending Deletion” and showed another bidder besides me. The domain was originally registered by one of the registrars that NameJet claims they have a special relationship with and therefore get first grabs at it.

    The way they list the domain on their website makes you think the domain is in the bidding stage … in other words, to make you think that NameJet has already succeeded in getting the domain and that there are other bidders. I think this is to encourage you to increase your bid. In the event they are able to snatch it, you’ll end up paying more.

    But in my case SnapNames got the domain despite NameJet’s supposedly special relationship with the registrar. And SnapNames got it for me at the cheapest price of all three services and with no auction to boot! Nice.

  836. Mari says:

    Hi Mike. Your article continues to get some good traffic. I’ve actually made it suggested reading to my university students in entrepreneurship. It’s possible that you have answered this indirectly already, but what about host sites like Tierranet aka DomainDisoverer and others who buy up names. Are they allowed to do this if the site is not actually used or active? Must one negotiate directly with them?


  837. Mike D. says:

    Mike: Nice tip on! Great site.

    Mari/Mary: No idea. Never heard of them.

  838. Nicko says:

    Awesome article. I always wondered how the process works for buying expiring or expired domains. Never knew it was such a war. lol.
    Idk why but I laughed when I read the stuff about Pool and them crawling the servers during that 2 hour period.

  839. Jefferey Rigler says:

    Nice work.. I had no idea it took over 75 days for the ball to really get rolling.

    Much needed article. Are you a fan of they have listings of domains on auction.



  840. says:

    Mike, thanks for your feedback on, great to know that it’s is useful, I’ve spent a lot of time developing it.

  841. Girish says:

    Woh!!! Felt like reading a Nelson DeMille book but with tons of information. More than the information that you shared, I liked you writing style with apt examples. Thanks a ton for sharing your valuable experience.

  842. Leila says:

    Isn’t this unethical? Suppose a person has a small business and put a lot of work in their website and just happened to overlook the one detail of renewing their domain and someone swoops in and steals their business?

  843. Milan Babuskov says:

    @Leila: Suppose a person has one millon dollars in a suitcase and forgets it outside the door of his house. It is a small detail to overlook, after all. And someone swoops and steals it…

  844. Jim says:

    I’ve had reasonable success with GoDaddy names. Although they were “lower PR names” we are averaging around 50% success – and they 50% fail rate has been due to the original owners renewing the URL.

  845. ronan power says:

    well done,
    if the domain was i haven’t been able to load the page…..
    is everything still oka or did somebody steal the march on you ?

  846. Thomas Staub says:

    If you are looking for expired swiss domains you can find a daily updated list under .
    You do not need a bona fide citizens of switzerland to be able to buy swiss domain.

  847. Rick says:

    Go Daddy’s Expiration Period does charge a $80 fee to renew (5 day grace). I just found this out. Might want to update your article.

  848. Soso Akubardia says: is a company with bunch of dogs. I had auction for and even when I reached 500$ for that domain their auto bidding robot was bidding more and more RIGHT AWAY !!

  849. Frank says:

    Thanks for this artikel! Just got my first domain from snapnames. I’m so happy :D

  850. Walter Petersson says:

    Nice Post! 5 years old and still relevant info for newcomers. I have a tip for everyone who is looking for expired .de domains. There are some site out there that find these, but most of them are slow or you have to pay… On you get it all for nothing! It’s in german, but the navigation is in english, so you should find what you are looking for.

  851. Warren says:

    Great article, even years later. In fact probably better because I didn’t have to wait to find out the name of the domain, as well as being able to head over to wikipedia and learn about the success you guys turned newsvine into after you picked it up.

    Exciting and frustrating at the same time.
    Sitting on the edge of my seat for that 6 minute section of the article LOL!

  852. Haley says:

    Starting the process! Thanks for the How To.

  853. steve smith says:

    This article is 100% helpful in backordering domains. I backordered through namejet, snapnames and pool. Two of the sites had multiple people backordering. Luckily snapnames only had me and two other people who all bid minimum amount. I got the domain for $59 and what’s even better we are a brand new business and the domain we got is the name of our business which today is extremely hard to do.

  854. says:

    Some people have been posting about losing their domains because they forgot to re-register. What about people dying? What about guys who have spent most of their lives building successful sites worth alot of money who suddenly die? If someone has a domain name that they value, they should register it for 100 years if possible and leave it in their will to their loved ones. That way the third party domain broker has no chance of taking away someone’s livelihood. Maybe setting up a website to offer these kinds of services would be good. I personally need to make records of all the websites I own and let someone else what I am doing and what kind of money I am making before my own demise as well. At least then, all the effort , late hours and such can benefit someone else.

  855. Chris R. says:

    100 years?!?!? For one I don’t think you could register it that long. And even for just the name, that would cost bare minimum $2000. Not including hosting. Sure, if you were Microsoft and you had the money to burn. But for the average domain owner, no way they could afford that. I can’t afford that, that’s for sure!

  856. Alfred says:

    I have started reading 2 hours ago, then i realized that this great article was written in 2005 and people keep commenting about it….wow

  857. david says:

    wouldn’t it be fuckin awesome if we could ditch this silly domain name system.. god, it’s so oppressive and shadowy. The money you have to fart out and the seedy characters you are forced to deal with for the REALLY good domain names.. forget about it, yknow?

    People that think the cool one they’re waiting out with a country code won’t be contested are fooling themselves.. if you’re looking at it, 10 other jokers just like you have been, too. That’s gonna happen to me come about February-March. I’m gonna be fuckin-A pissed when I cheap out and fail to get the domain I’ve been staring at.. but what ev.. certainly not paying some service(s) hundreds of dollars to fuck around with some web of scammers and middlemen.

  858. Susan says:

    Hi, I’m trying to buy a domain name that I used to own but sold to the person who bought my business a few years ago. Somehow my personal email was left on the registration account and I am CC’ed the domain renewal notices (so, I got a head’s up that they were failing to renew and that the domain was expiring).

    For several months the new business/domain owner failed to pay and the website was removed and parked. I asked the domain owner if she were interested in selling but she refused my offers. Then the domain expired and I found it listed at Snap Names with zero bids and a few days remaining.

    I read this article and decided to just wait it out. I’ve made no bids and no back order. It’s not a great domain name but has a great amount of value to me. I want it but I doubt anyone else would.

    Anyway, the domain was listed at Snap Names but the “bid by” date has recently disappeared. The only option now is to place a back order.

    Would it be best to just wait this out? Will it become available eventually? I’ve never bought a domain this way and it’s very daunting. Any advise would be hugely appreciated. Thanks!

  859. DouG Molidor says:

    Thanks Mike, I’ve pointed a couple clients to this post to explain the whole rigamarole.

    This is the experience as I’ve known it and am proud owner of

  860. Scott Phillips says:

    Mike, this is a great article. Your article helped me grab my personal name as a domain name. I wrote up a blog post inspired by yours, but updated with newer information from the previous 5 years.

    Thank you.

  861. John says:

    I would recommend to stay away from at any cost. Don’t over bid for domains. Also a momentous company competes for the domain names. Stay away from pool and don’t be a fool :)

  862. Martin says:

    Man I am In the game as well, I need my domain to be without the “my” the competition is going to be a pain but Im willing to do whatever it takes to get my domain registered, after I got a domain stolen from I will never use their services anymore, I moved everything to my new registrar
    Cheaper and is easier that godaddy as their application runs in ASP what a disaster! I really hate them, I love my new registrar!

  863. Paul Day says:

    I notice that the post is quite old now and there are those think that google is now sophisticated enough to remove backlinks and page rank when a domain is expired, thus preventing an SEO benefiting from historical uses of the domain name – but also if you are lazy and let the domain expire before renewing you also lose your historical rankings and backlinks to that point – is there any truth or is it an urban myth?

  864. Klaus Sinclair says:

    After i read this article i was pumped to get my hands on some good domains, so i checked the sites linked by you and here in the comments (btw. a lot of comments…), but most of them are down or cost a lot of money… What i wanted was a tool where i can check the current expired domains, get some more information about them and than decide if i wanted to register them or not. After some month i found a site that was doing just that, it still does and it is free! :D I thought about not sharing it, but it was refereed to me as well and i though why not give something back to you. You gave me the idea about it anyways.

    You get a list with all kind of information. I like the fact that you can search for dmoz domains very easily. You can even look for domains that did not get picket up by namejet or snapnames, but have a dmoz entry.

  865. VinnyG says:

    Good thing that doesn’t resemble comment spam, Klaus :[]

  866. Texas says:

    Great post as always!

    I am wondering whether you are able to get an expired domain to rank?

    I have always thought that when a domain expires it loses all its age credits and is basically a new domain again, is this ture?

  867. Anwar says:

    Great articles Mike,

    I really got a very valuable points, since I am starting a domain business..


  868. Rajat says:

    totally great, I am looking for the domain for my company but i guess its in expired period and i have to wait and be patient.

    Thanks for sharing this great article… Helped a lot to know Mafia of web/



  869. Athens Walker says:

    Great article! And “” ???
    Wow! Are you on the beach right now? Please tell us you made it big!

  870. giovanni says:

    I spotted a domain that expired 3 weeks ago. Would it be best to contact the other person who is not interested in renewing this domain, to have him renew for small fee, then for me to request the transfer to my account?, which once done he would receive balance of the small fee?

    the other option of waiting 75 days is too long…

  871. Sam says:

    @giovanni – contacting the current owner will make him interested of the domain and will renew and keep. Depend on the person and the value of the domain

  872. Red (R2B88) says:

    Re. The update to the post…Aint owned by Microsoft??

  873. CalypsoMiss says:

    Enom, Inc. is listed as the registrar for a domain name that I want to register. There’s no real website for the domain name, just a parked search page. It’s not listed as a for sale domain name as another domain name in which I’m interested. A few months ago, I backordered the domain name thru The domain name will expire in a about a week. What should I do in order to get this name? Should I backorder thru Enom or another company or just rely on I really need this name for my business.

  874. CalypsoMiss says:

    Also, the status reads “locked” and the domain name hasn’t even expired as yet. It will expire in 3 days time.

  875. Mike says:

    Thank you SO MUCH for this post. Great info. Exactly what I was looking for…and 847 comments? Wow.

    If you answered this in your article, I apologize in advance, but please help me with this if you can:

    I want an expired name that is currently with GoDaddy. I have an account with GoDaddy and a good number of domains registered with them. I notice that GoDaddy offers a backorder service. Would you go with that? GoDaddy mentions an auction. Are they just a middleman with the Verisign auction deal? Or is it a GoDaddy auction for a GoDaddy registered domain?

    If you could help me with this, I would so much appreciate it. Plus, my name is Mike too, which means I am super-cool.

  876. Abe Shamrock says:

    Hi All -

    I’m in the same boat as “Mike” above me.
    I did sign up with GoDaddy Backorder for a name registered to Go Daddy.

    Should I also backorder with Snapnames, Enom, etc?
    The name expire today — but will it definitely go to auction if the current owner doesn’t renew?

    Any help would be hugely appreciated.

  877. Eduardo says:

    Well done Mike, congrats on the article as well on the sale of Newsvine! Big fan, keep up the great work!!

  878. Bibo says:

    Many many thanks! I will NEVER forget this. I knew nothing about this topic (und unfortunately my IT guys did neither) until a week ago when I got to know a .com domain I was interested in was pending delete.

    I never would have been able to successfully acquire it (what I actually did a few minutes ago; heart rate is still elevated) without your valuable post.

    Thanks!!! Take care!

  879. giovanni says:

    so what super nice domain did you grab?

    i still have two weeks to wait for my grab!

  880. helperbook says:

    Has the information and calculation used in the article changed or updated? I was watching an expired domain in last two weeks but it got snached by some one else 8 days before the date calculated by this article. How could that happen?

  881. efi says:

    What’s the best way going about grabbing the domain: I’ve had my eye on it for years… :)

  882. Athens Walker says:

    Thanks for the post. I got my domain 3 weeks ago, and, to reply to helperbook, the time mentioned was right. Perhaps even a couple of days extra (later than I had calculated).

  883. Bibo says:

    @giovanni (#879): Just my company name for which I already owned all relevant TLDs. The .com domain, however, was already owned by someone else at the time of company foundation and had just become available these days.

    @helperbook (#880) and Athens Walker (#882): I made the same experience as Athens Walker – times mentioned here were correct, rather took it a few days longer.

  884. Daniel Cohen says:

    This article is great! I learned alot.

    I Almost landed Directory domain back in 2010 that I didn’t think people had much interest in, I placed a back order through godaddy thinking it was all I needed. I ended up losing obviously but I wasn’t too disappointed. It didn’t seem like a domain people would spend hundred bucks on… saw it on sedo auction and it ended going for $2,300!

    Damn! What value there is domains has blown me away, I mean new domains that are being registered today could have 10x value of its registration cost. You just got to find the right keywords, and the right niche, and definitely the right imagination. A website that has helped me lots with registering expired domains and helping me with keywords is a great little tool, checks for pagerank, backlinks, alexa ranking etc.

    And thanks again mike for the article!

  885. Dave Trrouble says:

    I found a little known tool on a domain registrars site to watch domain status changes, and it emailed me when it went to ‘missing’ status. I registered it for the standard low fee at that point, but then again it wasn’t a real word even, just a domain that I wanted. I keep several on the list at all times. Before that I considered some other workarounds like hosting my own dns server so I could watch the drops.

  886. Donovan says:

    Hey Mike I have a question regarding your last comment

    “The moral of the story is that you should always look to see what registrar the domain you’re after is under and see if they offer exclusive backorder rights to it. Network Solutions does, GoDaddy does, Tucows is starting to, and others may follow suit.”

    Is this a good thing or bad thing meaning for example if a domain has been registered via Godaddy and I want the domain should I backorder the domain via Godaddy because of the backorder rights to it that Godaddy has or is it a bad thing meaning Godaddy would just register or sell it via their auction system or 3rd party auction system?

    Thank you!

  887. TLP says:

    When is the best time to backorder the expiring domain name? On the expiration date? At day 74? Thanks!

    FYI – the domain name I want is owned by CK Ventures, along with more than 54k other names, without a “functioning” website…

    Thanks for all your help – your article is extremely enlightening and helpful!

  888. giovanni says:

    my site has been “grabbed” by some “idiot” and has no functioning website. they want over $400 as a minimum bid. this site is useless to anyone out side of myself and perhaps another person. none of us would bid ore than 40.00 for it.

  889. Lauren says:

    Thank you so much for the article! I was just looking at a website that I was hoping to snatch up when it goes out in March of 2012, this makes me rethink everything, perhaps I need to go that extra mile and do as you did to ensure I get it… Hmm. It’s just SO uncommon I’m not sure anyone else would go for it, it’s my last name but is EXTREMELY EXTREMELY uncommon and it’s owned by some guy from Japan (my last name isn’t even Japanese? Haha) that hasn’t had anything up in a year or so, in fact right now it just says:
    Not Found
    The requested URL / was not found on this server.

    Makes me think they aren’t going to renew it.
    Well, if I do end up getting the website, I’ll definitely say you gave me the reference to Dreamhost! I was going to use GoDaddy (or research other options) but that seems like a pretty sweet deal.
    Thanks again for the article!

  890. ehsan says:

    a really nice article
    it helped a lot
    however there is a critical mistake i think
    the total days after which a domain is released is not 75 but 80 or may be more…

    after some time of reading your article i searched for a .com domain which was not available so because of your article i went to see the whois info otherwise i normally look for other options and guess what it was in redemption period (expired on 24th April i.e around 55 days before).

    well i also didn’t want to give extra money so i counted on my luck and am waiting for its release checking it twice everyday.

    but i was very disappointed seeing it still in pending delete even after the 75th day (8th July).
    just today out of frustration i searched (pending delete how long) and found this
    which says
    45 days expiry period
    30 days redemption grace period (rgp)
    5 days deletion period
    i.e total 80 days before release

    so if a company is telling you they got your domain before 80th day they have not. and when they say that there are others bidding for it, it means that they are using these 5 days to get as high a bid as they can from you and they may judge your interest on how many times you check your account status or email them asking for status… so be cool

    my sought for domain when i first saw it during its redemption period was shown as expired on 24th April
    but now it says expired on 25th April
    i am angry on it as i have waited 25 days and doubt they may change it again
    (can someone explain this?)

    on this forum there is a comment which may disappoint those who are waiting like me
    “i have seen domains still being held that expired 2 years ago….good luck buddy”
    (how much truth is in it?)

    current status
    on the forum above i found this link
    which tells drop date
    and its telling me that my domain should be dropped today i.e 13th July
    if i take the currently shown expiry date i.e 25th april to be true and 26th april to be day 1 then today i.e. 13th july is day 80

    pray for me that i get it…
    i will try to tell you the exact time it gets released again

  891. Brian Tkatch says:

    Nice article. Thanx for posting it *and* keeping it around.

    I am looking at a few domains registered at, currently in redemptionPeriod. I emailed support, and they said there is no waiting list provided by them.

    So, i may just be off to the services provided. I really need to sit back and evaluate their cost to me. These prices on more than one domain can add up.

  892. Brian Tkatch says: just says: Failed RE_GETHTTPHOSTINFO (1 errors): Reseller key not found

    searching google for that errors results in many websites showing the same error…

    going to directly does not make it obvious where to sign up for that service. is very straightforward/ won’t let me login because i didn’t activate my account. i’m guessing the link is in the email they didn’t send to me

  893. Brian Tkatch says:

    It looks like is the new name for

    always a game…

  894. Velma says:

    I found a really great name in a popular niche that was expiring. It was then sent to godaddy auctions. I thought I had a good chance at getting it, and bid my $12. On the final day, someone outbid me with $18. So I thought ok, I’m willing to go into the 30 dollar range. They kept out bidding me. Long story short… I gave up and let them have it at $512.

    Now it sits there getting no traffic and has a bunch of search links on it. Makes no sense to me why they would do this. It’s a 3 word domain in the dating niche. Oh well.

  895. Chris says:

    I have also noticed when a domain expires, 90% of the time it is snapped by someone just to stick a holding page up and try to hold to ransom to buyers, so basiclaly one a domain name is registered its likely to never be available again at normal price.

  896. giovanni says:

    @chris Yes i noticed the same thing. Tucows and Godaddy seem to do this the most. they ca keep their stinking domain that perhaps two people at most my want to use. In our case we found an easy solution …we drooped on little 2-letetr word and we are good to go!

  897. faraz ahmed says:

    Excellent article. Right now i am trying to snatch a PR 6 domain can’t reveal name;)

  898. Ward Heller says:

    Excellent post, but as far as strategies go, wouldn’t it be better to use SnapNames and Enom initially, since you can get into Pool’s Challenger auction if someone else is using them to snap up the domain.

  899. Brian Tkatch says:

    GKG.NET gave up 5 domains, i tried grabbing them with Pool, Namejet, and Snapnames. Pool got none, Namejet got three, and snapnames got 1. Strangely enough, the one that Namejet listed as having no contenders (besides me) is the one they missed. It leads me to think Namejet and Snapnames are working together in this regard.

    A whois shows the fifth to be owned by Then again, they are all owned by strange names.

    The three in contention at namejet have bidders offering $400, $500, and $507.

  900. phire says:

    I know this post is rather old…so which of the big catchers DO NOT put the domain to auction (assuming you are the only bidder)?

    I have a pendingdelete domain I’d really like (no backinks or anything) but I really don’t want it going to auction as funds are tight!

  901. phire says:

    looks like Snapnames & Namejet will not put the name to auction if you are the only bidder (however pool will!)

  902. Brian Tkatch says:


    Namejet *will* put it in auction.

  903. phire says:

    really? do they do it “on the sly”?

    their page says

    “If you are the only bidder, the name is yours for the minimum bid (including registration). If more than one bidder has backordered a name, simply win the ensuing 3 day private auction and the name is yours.”

    hmmmm…not good if they do :(

  904. Brian Tkatch says:

    Read my last comment, that will tell you what i found.

    If you are the only bidder, though, it is yours.

    The one i want went into private auctions and went for over $1000 (last i checked).

  905. orrydorry says:

    Thank you so much for this blog, was really handy… I got an email yesterday from an independent domain sniper (to one of my email addresses which hasn’t been published anywhere!) asking me openly how much I wished to acquire the .com domain which goes with my domain… basically trying to rip me off before the drop… I didn’t even know that the .com was expiring! I used pool and snapnames… won the domain on snapnames and only had to pay $69… no auction as no one else back ordered it, in 72hours time its being transferred to me. I definitely got a bargain and didn’t get ripped off. Its thanks to you and this blog! Best wishes and happy halloween!

  906. Dan says:

    Thanks for the post and congrats on the site, 16m page views per month is really strong! Good work.

    This post is over 6 years old now and I do wonder how much of it still applies. A lot can happen in 6 years and it would be great if you or someone “in the know” could advise me as how much of this content still stands and what developments, if any, have rendered parts of this content void. If so, which parts?

    I recently made an enquiry to a squatter regarding a 3 letter .com domain that is my employers company name initials and has been used in the logo for many years, not however formally registered. His reply was that the company was not interested in selling the domain, even though it is not being used. I await his response, I assume he’s just trying to establish that I’m human, not a bot and/or what level of interest I have. If they insist that they will not provide a price I believe I have some options. Sniping being one and raising a dispute via relevant channels is another. Clearly sniping could cost much less than legal proceedings and potentially deliver our domain much faster than a legal process. If you can share some thoughts on the above, please respond, it will be greatly appreciated.

  907. 3cellhosting says:

    One of my clients had their domain name slip through the net when we changed our registrar. Unfortunately a domain company bought the domain before I could. What is so galling is that we were the only interested party and it cost $400 to get it back. We did consider a complaint through ICAAN but they wanted $460 just to start an investigation and no upper limit on final costs.

    No wonder companies make money from stealing domains.

  908. Bellaminka says:

    So frustrating when you want a certain domain name, it seems all so complicated.

  909. menj says:

    I am currently trying to grab an expiring domain name via three services: Pool, NameJet and SnapNames. Let’s see how this turns out.

  910. Beata says:

    I have the same problem. Our domain has been stolen on 1 October, 2011 because of unhonest owner

    I thought that I will able to reregister it.

  911. Robert says:

    Wow pretty old article, but hey are you the owner of Newsvine? It was only a domain in 2005 and it’s one of the top sites now in 2011 :)

  912. Raief says:

    Don’t notify me of follow up messages.

    Thank you for this on going discourse about domain names, but it is arbitrary now.
    There is no advantage in communicating on this site.

    The admin does not respond to individual posts or concerns.

    It is a complete waste of time and effort.

    In fact, this site is shit.

  913. Beata says:


    you can unsubsribe

  914. jay says:

    Great article, didn’t know there was an actual process. Was going to wait it out, doesn’t look like I can.

    By the way, you Seattle folks are crazy, 35 degrees out cheering for a team that may not make the playoffs. Incredible game though.

  915. Mike D. says:

    Jay: Hey, they said we wouldn’t make the playoffs last year either! Also, fun fact: The Seahawks have won more playoff games than the Patriots in the last three years! :)

  916. Mike D. says:

    Also, Ralef: I am not “the admin”. This is my blog. I wrote a post about expiring domains. Everything I know about the process is in this post. It is not my job to “respond to individual posts or concerns”. In other words, I’m not here for tech support. Leave.

  917. Beata says:

    Mike D.,
    that is good that you wrote
    On 1 September, 2011 I have lost our domain because of bad owner. I thought that I will be able to register again, but domain has been stolen in 2 minutes and is using now for adds. Never knew that is possible to order to escape domain

  918. Raief says:

    I apologize Mike,

    I was very upset and hit this site when reading my emails, after a website attack, and computer implosion.

    I did not mean to be nasty toward you. I was just nasty in general if you can relate.

    I trust that you may understand.

    Luvs and cuddles from Raief.

  919. Paul says:

    So it’s with a mere PR 7 and 21 million plus links. What’s all the fuss about!!
    Seriously, a really great article. Very useful guide and congratulations on the domain.

  920. Mike says:

    Thanks for the insight in how this stuff happens.

    We lost a domain when sent us an email advising us they would automatically renew our restaurants name, but for reasons still unknown, they dropped the ball and it expired and was snapped up by someone (or a company that does this for a business). We are currently in negotiations them through godaddy, and will probably pay about $300.00 for it. Ipowerweb said they would reimburse us, but what a pain in the ass this is. I thought it may be an easy way to make money, but from what you described, it sounds like a time consuming and expensive way to make some extra pocket cash.

  921. John says:

    Great article Mike! I’ve always wondered. I do have a question. What happens to the websites content? Does it go to the new domain name owner? Thanks!

  922. Bryan says:

    I realise that the article was written years ago and you don’t care anymore, but $100 actually is within 30% of $140.

  923. Terri A says:

    Super Post

    There’s a dead domain that has been registered for years and expires next month. Let’s hope the current owner wants to seell! This article is a great help as I’d have no idea where to start!
    Thanks, Mike!

  924. Matt Pool says:

    So here is the REAL question… how can you get a domain like ‘’ on the drop? Sigh.

  925. Hortencia Piedra says:

    I owned the trademark and I want the .com of my registered trademark. Does that add any weight? The .com is coming up for renewal in a couple of week. Thanks!

  926. David Goode says:

    Hortencia – makes no difference unless it is a very high price domain. One of my clients was going to contest legal ownership. Trouble is this racketeering is promulgated by the stupid fees charged for starting an investigation. Last time I checked there was a $500 initial fee required plus ongoing investigation fees.

    It is yet another excuse for the big boys to extort money from those who make the mistake of allowing their domain name to lapse.

  927. MRoss says:

    Mike – thanks so much for a fantastic article…a domain I’d like is set to expire in about 5 weeks time. However, about a year ago, I contacted the registrar for the site and (being a noob to domain snatching) offered $100 for the domain, not having any idea what would be a decent offer — and the owner “counter offered” $155,000!

    Now, what are the chances that was a legitimate counter offer (possibly indicative of the level of interest in this site) and not just some ‘eff-you’ type response? Is there any way of finding out the popularity of a particular domain? Right now there’s no actual site at this domain, just one of those “related searches” pages…
    Any insight would be welcome!


  928. Robert B says:

    I have a different situation. Somebody grabbed and used my registered trademark for their domain name, in addition to being a competitor of sorts. After a ‘friendly’ letter to them, I’ve seen that the domain name expired and is now in that 75 day period. So I can let somebody outbid me that didn’t do their homework, and hit them up with my attorney (heavy penalties, up to $100,000 I’ve read to step on a trademark!), or just bid the minimum and know whatever happens I’m going to get that name anyway. Any thoughts, anyone?

  929. Steven Chang says:

    Robert B, very easy, just wait for the new owner to get it, then send him a C&D letter and demand the domain to be turned over to you.

  930. Cullen Power says:

    Really interesting article. Thanks for the in depth summary of the whole domain snatching / pouncing situation. Some great education in there.

  931. Hod says:

    Is the article still relevant or the process has changed?

  932. Chip says:

    This was super helpful as we are trying to get a domain name that appears to be abandoned, but matches our biz perfectly. Thanks for the information. I learned a lot from the comments too, so adding this:
    The domain I want is registered with enom, who you mention. When I went to backorder it they jumped me over to NameJet, whose website says: NameJet has the exclusive rights to auction expired domains from Network Solutions and eNom. The minimum bid is now $69, but that is cool. Naturally things change in the this world. Here is hoping!

  933. Nick says:

    Thank you for this article. It helped me successfully get my domain which was in redemption period when I first was hooked. At first, I figured I’d just wait for it to delete and snatch it myself… LOL. However, after reading your article I hired Pool (I also wasted some money on Godaddy backorder) which got the domain for me.

    Thanks alot.

  934. Nick says:

    @Hod. Very much up to date!

  935. Alan Hall says:

    Hey Mike

    I thoroughly enjoyed reading your blog. Thanks for posting this all those years ago, it certainly has been one fascinating story, proven by the posts that continue to appear 7 years later :)

    Best Regards

  936. Taiwo says:

    A friend of mine had a domain registered on godaddy. the domain exired 25th August. Can he renew this domain without paying extra charges? He claims godaddy requests him to pay $100 for renewal. Can this be true? I thought since he was the domain nam admin, this would not be required. He says he has a mail from them. Can this be true please?

  937. Karan Batra says:

    If I reserve a bid through any of these 3 domains – do I have to make the Payment right away or I have to make the Payment once I obtain the domain

    I understand that I have to provide my Credit Card Details but when will they deduct the amount ??

  938. MV says:

    Matthom said, near the top of the comment thread,

    > The domain name that Mike secured is irrevelant.

    I think he meant “irrelevant,” and actually it’s not really for him to say. It’s relevant if someone thinks & says it is. Just maybe not to Matthom.

  939. Donna says:

    Fantastic post. I now understand the whole mysterious process… I was going to try to snag it myself. Ha. I’m wondering about contacting the current owner (it just expired) to have them renew the name and sell it to me (assuming they don’t want it any longer). Their business is now closed, so I think it’s a possibility. Could they just transfer ownership to me (I would make a reasonable offer to them)?

  940. newspeak says:

    Hi Mike,
    Thank you for your informative article. I have a question for you. There is this .com domain which is currently on redemption period and should likely be available again within a month.

    I was wondering which is the best way to get it at a reasonable price. I don’t think it’s a highly valuable domain, it shows to have very bad ranking and has 0 exact same searches according to adwords. Why it is valuable to me is very simple: I have a project responding to this name. I already own the .net domain and would love to have the .com.

    I discovered the domain was going to be available thanks to an email I received by a backorder site. I did some research and these guys have a bad reputation on the web.
    I did further research and found that more reputable (at least in theory) companies should be the likes of snapnames, pool, namejet, godaddy, etc. just as you pointed out.

    I am a bit suspicious using these drop cathing services: what if they shill bids? What if they make it go into auction even if I’m the only person interested? What if I raise attention and interest to the domain by backordering?
    I just would rather wait for it to be deleted and available again to register it manually.

    It is really not an interesting domain name, and I don’t think anyone would care to have it.
    But what if the domain is already being watched by the domain industry sharks?
    I did a whois research and my desired domain nameserves point to, which appears to be an auction site. What if I decide to wait for manual registration and I miss the chance to get it?

    I’m willing to spend the 60/70$ fees these sites require, but not really more than that.
    Suggestions? Thank you very much. I’m a bit confused and undecided.

  941. B. Oliver says:

    Just a thought: When a name goes in to expire, then it actually gets dropped:

    if you are the only bidder, you “should” get the name. If there is more than one bidder, it creates a bidding process and more time to lose it.

    I would never use more than one service. It would see you as three separate bidders, thus why it might have stayed on the auction market and ran up to over 300 dollars. I suppose it is possible that you might have bid against yourself, because I don’t think you know who you are bidding against.

    I like SnapNames. I also use Moniker as my registrar, their sister company. I suppose they are all good.

    Domain Hobbyist, since 1999

  942. B. Oliver says:

    Donna, that is the last thing I would do. Just sayin. If it has expired, pick a registrar and register it.

  943. Godaddy Sucks says:

    I had a domain with now defunct when they went under and Godaddy “acquired” rights to become the replacement registrar. They immediately set my domain to “Redemption Period” and wanted me to pay $80 to retrieve my own domain. I tried unsuccessfully to prove to them that I was the owner of the domain (because they would not tell me what information they wanted in order to prove it – for “privacy” reasons). So I will NEVER use Godaddy again and I CONSISTENTLY tell this story wherever I can in order to get my insignificant “dig” into them; at least it makes me feel a little better.

  944. Wisdomtooth says:

    Did I miss something?

    How does 40 + 5 add up to 75??

    many thanks

  945. Dean Williams says:

    Your a fool. You got ripped off my friend, jeeze!

  946. James Bro says:

    In a few months a domain name is set to expire that I’d like to get. It’s just a persons name, neither particularly common nor uncommon.

    Is it a complete waste of time to Backorder it at GoDaddy? It’s not registered there nor at any of their affiliate companies.

    Is it better to just see if it expires?

    If it expires does it always go to TDNAM auctions or only if there is no backorder on it?

    Thank you!

  947. Mike D. says:

    Dean: Yes yes, quite a fool I am. Do you’re homework please.

  948. newspeak says:

    What I suggest is that you check the website ranking and use google adwords tool to see if there are searches of the exact name and surname. If the site is ranked and there are a few google searches, there might be someone else trying to catch the domain.

    Then ask yourself a question: is getting that domain really important to you? Does it give you an advantage professionally or economically?

    If the answer is no, don’t even bother using a dropcatcher. Just wait and see what happens.

    If the answer is yes, think about it. And make your decision.

    My answer was yes, and I chose NOT to use any dropcatcher service. I got my domain the day it became available. Paid 8 euros to register it. Bam.

    But the site I was interested in was not ranked and google adwords tool showed it had no exact searches within the previous month.

  949. B Oliver says:

    Just went through the process with Snap Names, still like them the best. Got the name, 69 dollars. It is a high profile two word com. The two words are Antique And Picker. You can figure it out. I was surprised it hit drop, and took a total of 76 days beyond drop date.

    Tips that the drop would proceed, no site, no directive, no nothing. It went to dead air. No rank. Then name however was awesome for us. The best name we could have! Was it worth the snap names process? You bet! Might it have expired and I could have saved 60 dollars? You bet? Was I willing to take that chance? No way!

    A totally active site that has an expiry come up will probably get renewed. If you have a suspician that it will expire and want to get in on it, a reserve bid is the best! We put our silent bid in 60 days prior to expire, and as it rolled up to date, we got it. Very few notifications, Snapnames is a silent winner for sure.

    I think it helps to have a domain name to support your business. If you do not build and maintain your website, might not be your thing. I however do not rely on facebook or twitter. The search engines are still free with a little effort, and websites work. It just takes effort after you excitedly get that domain name! Get a wordpress. It works great and is easy.

    Great page! Solid fun discussions!

  950. B Oliver says:

    Hey James Bro. Do you have a Go Daddy account now? Yes, maybe. If you put in a bid with Go Daddy, there is a chance it will hit a list, and others will see it as something of interest.

    Why I like Snap names; this recent acquire on the previous thread went totally unlisted, except at Go Daddy, for some ridiculous 300 dollar amount as opening bid!

    Go Daddy is interested in seeing highest bids for most income. The snap system gets all the money if they are fastest and pays the base fee to register it for you. They are simply first. I again like Moniker, a simple registrar for around 9 bucks a com. They have the snap names as a sister company, nice pair up. They also can sell your names through the snap names system, so you can sell too.

    All of these services are two different companies however, so you are not confused with all the pop ups and screens, and are the least expensive and one of the oldest registrars out there.

    I do not work for Moniker or Snap Names, but since 1999 with Network Solutions / Verisign, to 2007 with Moniker, when I manage other peoples domain names in GoDaddy, it is way too commercial, busy, and difficult for the average person to navigate and monitor renewals. I found it a pain!

  951. Kostas says:

    Great post. I my self am trying to grab a domain and landed to this article. I have a couple of questions though. The domain i want is under GoDaddy, is it better then to use the godaddy backorder instead of messing with and others?
    Also, where does the auction money go??? Pool or Godaddy or enom gets to keep all of it (minus tax I suppose)???

  952. B Oliver says:

    Kostas, pick a name drop company and use that one. I use Snapnames, and have an account there. They are my favorite. Whomever you use, if you already are set up with an account and credit info, they are probably who you would use. If you do not have one, I do not recommend GoDaddy to create one, unless you have names there already. is probably better than GoDaddy, and is probably the better choice not knowing them. I am not a fan of GoDaddy for any reason.

    The amount you bid goes to that backorder company, whomever you choose. If you bid 100, and it is a 9 dollar name such as Moniker charges, then they get the 91 dollars if they win it for you. Very profitable for them, and you being the first, is profitable for you.

    The amounts that are bid are only in consideration of whom else bids in that specific company’s pool, example: if there are three in Godaddy, the highest wins.

    If there is three bids with the highest at 200 on Godaddy, and a 69 in Snapnames, and if snap names wins and is first, Godaddy does not make a dime and loses out.

    Good Luck! A Backorder somewhere is indeed Highly Recommended. Just have to pick one.

    I got into this thread and get emails, so sorry if I seem to be stepping on toes, but do like this conversation. I am sure others have different experiences. These are just my thoughts.

  953. B Oliver says:

    One more comment on the above thread. If three bid at GoDaddy and is up to 200, expect an extended auction so the three that have bids in GoDaddy can bid against each other to drive it up.

    Again Godaddy has all profit to see, and the people have to compete for the name. GoDaddy would then secure it and see it go to auction among their own pool.

    If it jumps to 1000, then GoDaddy sees all of that money less registration cost, again very profitable for them to continue the battle.

    So as a result, the larger the pool potential, the worse it can be for you.

    Lastly, It does not matter where it is expiring. All name drop companies have an even chance. It goes to “available”, and whomever is first gets it. It just depends on timing of the computers. That can go any direction, not sure any have an advantage there.

    Snap companies even use several partners to secure it for them as a network of partners, so don’t be surprised if it ends up with some registrar you do not know, yet you own it. I just bought one and it ended up in a European registrar. They were first and had a partnership with Snapnames. Wait 60 days then you can move it anywhere you want.

    In the mean time, you might be required to learn the new registrar dashboard for a short time, so you can set the IP address and start using the name, then you can move it after 60 days to be with the rest of your domain names, whomever you use as a registrar.

    Again hope this helps, and makes sense. I do love snatching up expiring domains. It is freakin’ exciting! You will love the process, especially when you win!

  954. Kostas says:

    Thanx guys!! I appreciate this. Both comments were very helpful. It is indeed very exciting as a process. I myself at my line of business deal with live auctions but this is totally new field for me and surprisingly a little weirder and less easier or transparent than I thought.

  955. King_Hermy says:

    Extremely helpful.What a busy article.

  956. Rich says:

    Hi Mike,

    I’ve just followed your advice to the letter, the domain I want to snare expires in just 2 days (I’ve been waiting 8 years for this lol)

    Annoying as the company who have it don’t even use it and it currently has a default holding page from the current registrar, I’ve been in touch with them previously to see if they want to sell it directly, but after a couple of emails they seemed to vanish – Turns out the admin contact for the domain has left the building and his emails don’t redirect to anyone – Fingers crossed they miss the expiry reminder email!!

    I guess I’ll be reporting back in around 35-75 days ;)

  957. wendy says:

    Wow, this is a lot more information than I was looking for, but very interesting. I just bought a name on godaddy from their auction site (although it was buy it now.) I was thrilled to get it. When I bought it, however, I didn’t realize it was an expiring domain, so it technically isn’t mine yet. I have to wait for a few more days for the “status date”. But I think the “status date” is the 40 day mark. So, from what I’ve read here that the owner could still keep the name with no penalty in the next few days. So, even if I get the domain given to me in a few days from now, it won’t necessarily be out of the clear for another 40 days. Oh, my … /fingers crossed/

  958. Sirjohn says:

    Thanks for the great info.
    I just wanted to add from my own experiance for new commers if you have to pick a company to register domains or transfer of back order go with the one who is big reputable and has 24/7 customer service.
    It might cost you few bucks more but believe me its worth is. I used to have a big domain registered with a Canadian small company and every time I needed to speek to someone I got the answering machine.. Speed and quality is very essential to me in this business.
    I used only once SnapNames and was able to retrive it.
    I have over 200 domains registerd with only few companies mostly with Go DAddy.
    Love them they are so proffesional, aveilable 24/7, discount pricing, plus I love Danica .
    Im my oppinion DA Best.

  959. Richard says:

    There are instances when expired domain owners don’t mind to renew them. Well, I think registering with a service for domain name snatching is the best, easiest way to determine whether the domain is already expiring. Good to know a post like this is available. At least I now have the idea what to do whenever I encounter circumstances like this one. I am also curious what really happens once your domain name expires. I will, however, get back to this post then when time comes I got to face this dilemma. Hopefully, I’m expecting you will continue to article updates about this topic every now and then.

  960. Dylan says:

    Wow….this is one of the most informative blog posts I’ve ever encountered. I’m so glad I read this (I’ve spent over 2 hours reading through all these posts).

    What about just contacting the person who has the domain you want, offering THAT person some money,
    instead of all these slimey domain peddlers?

    I’d much rather give $100 to a PERSON with a FAMILY,
    and bills then any of these jerks!

    Thanks for the post, and all of the continued interest in this very complicated process!

  961. John says:

    if you woke up Saturday morning and placed a bid for $500, how come it ended up only $369? I was wondering if nobody tries to attain the domain, do those companies still pound the servers? or do they only go after the names people have brought to their attention? In other words, is there a chance that the domain would have been open and available if you hadnt tried enlisting these companies?

  962. Jonathan Scialpi says:

    I think the domain must be thw one that we are on now. Think about it, “Really valuable because I wanted it”. That means that its not a domain that we all would consider vauable. If you look at “”, you will realize that the name mike is included. Therefore it is specifically valuable to him since its his name and also because MIKE is a common name :)

  963. wendy says:

    @jonathon, no. i believe he addressed this already. i think it was

  964. mitesh soni says:

    your article was really nice one thanks.

  965. Theresa says:

    Well written article loved the humor and I get to watch the process next. Don’t know if I want to bid. May just back order and see how it goes. I think it’s all unfair Verisign should have gone through with it. Those who see it first have the right to grab it without the “Drop Process” That should be eliminated and these vulture companies can find other ways to make money. The web would “Clean Up” and eliminate dead wasted sites companies sit on, don’t care about them they clutter up the web for PROFIT.

  966. Chetan says:

    thanks for the real advice. Hope i can snatch PR 1 domain..

  967. Jessica says:

    I wish I found this a week ago, when I anxiously waited to hear the results of my godaddy backorder and found out I didn’t get the name, but the company that did get it is willing to consider a minimum offer of $2500 for it. I thought I’d get a chance to bid at auction if more than one person wanted the name…learned a lot from the article but unfortunately too late for this time around. Thanks!

  968. Graeme Smith says:

    what a really informative post. kudos to you for sharing my friend.

  969. Jr says:

    Ceo of and vp of design at Twitter. Looks like he did well.

  970. PD says:

    Hi, Thanks for a great post, but let me tell you my experience. I’ve had my eye on a domain name (unused) for several months, which was due to expire on 1st Feb 2014. After reading this and other blogs, I went ahead today and placed a ‘backorder’ with Snapnames (as the domain’s registrar is I did this on the basis that this information is not made public as all I am doing is registering an interest to buy if and when it becomes available. Obviously it’s crucial when using a backorder that you are afforded protection from the domain owner finding out, otherwise why would I? (see this blog for further information on this topic So as far as I was concerned, as of this afternoon I would wait until the expiry date (in less than a month) and then, providing it hadn’t been renewed by the owner, Snapnames would be working on my behalf to secure the domain. Just now (i.e, two hours after placing this backorder, I happened to recheck the ‘Whois’ info on the domain and I find that the expiry date has been extended by 12 months, to Feb 2015! Now, call me a cynic, but the coincidence is just too strange. How, within two hours of me ordering a backorder with a reputable firm (Snapnames), did the domain suddenly extend its expiry date by 12 months? (I have screenshots of the ‘who is’ details before I ordered the backorder (just a few hours ago) and just now. I find it difficult to believe that the owner of this domain, suddenly, just after I placed a backorder, renews his unused domain, UNLESS either a) the owner is somehow informed of this ‘backorder’ or b) the auction house &/or the Registrar have taken it upon themselves to extend/renew the domain. Am I being paranoid or is there something very strange at play here? I would welcome any insights to get to the bottom of this. Many thanks.

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