Of course as the web got more popular and more people began to see the value of good domain names things began to get a little harder.
Expired Domain name Companies
In this discussion I will be mainly concentrating on the .com TLD as this is the biggest and by far the most valuable extension available. As we speak the total number of registered .coms has crossed the 70m mark and so you can imagine, finding a good quality generic domain name can be a slow and painful process.
All 3 and 4 letter combinations (that includes numbers) have gone and the majority of English dictionary words to. This is why you should consider the world of drop catching expired domain names.
I still believe that there is hope and if you are armed with the right knowledge and time you can still pick up expired domain names that in my opinion are grossly undervalued.
The allocation of .com domains are controlled by a body called ICCAN, (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) formed in 1998 as a not-for-profit organization with contributing members from all over the world. The duty of organizing the release of the domain names was handed to Verisign, a company that has become very rich on the back of its contract with ICANN.
The process of domain name registration changed dramatically with the introduction of drop catching companies that help you acquire expired domain names but more about that later.
Lets look at the basic process involved with registering a domain name.
Registering a domain name
A person as the right to register a domain name for a time period ranging from 1 -10 years. If the domain name is not renewed by the required date it then enters the position known as the grace period. The original owner still has the chance to re-register the domain but must do so within a set time period. During this time the domain name is still unavailable to register.
If the domain name is not re-registered in the allotted time it is made available to the general public and becomes one of the many expired domain names in a process now known as the drop.
It is very unlikely that even if you knew when a expired domain was about to drop that you would get it by simply trying to register it. There are several companies that specialize in this field and can afford to implement sophistication drop catching software to help in the process, they even have contracts with registrars such as Network Solutions to allow first choice of all available expired domain names.
The most popular companies in the field are: Pool, Snapnames and eNom and I would advise you to set up an account with all three of them to ensure you have a better chance of getting the domain you desire. All the above companies allow you to backorder any and as many of the currently registered domain names and this service is totally free.
You will find that they can supply you with a list of pre-release and pending delete names and this can run into the thousands.
This is where the money is, consider this expired domain names list like a gold mine, all you have to do is dig out the nuggets and hope nobody else has spotted them. Of course you will find that you are not the only one to have spotted these little gems and so the domain is often placed into a closed auction and sold to the highest bidder.
These are closed auctions so you must do your homework and get your bid in before the drop or you will not get the chance to bid in the auction for that domain.
You should find that the price you pay in these auctions is significantly cheaper than dedicated auction sites such as Sedo and Afternic. The art of course is knowing the worth of expiring domain names before the auction starts and stick to your target. Many people get carried away in this situation and let the process become personal, this is a big mistake and only leads to over inflated prices. Set your budget and stick to it.
So remember, if you have your heart set on a particular domain name or want to get into the domain name acquisition business you must involve the big expired domain names drop catchers in your plan or you could be watching your dream name disappear for another 1-10 years. Trying to manually capture good quality domain names is near on impossible these days so be warned.
Also if you are interested in a particular expiring domain name it might pay to check which registrar the domain is with as they may have their own agreements with different companies in terms of expired domain names, drop catching, for instance, Network Solutions has an agreement with Snapnames for all its domains and Godaddy has setup its own drop service.
So make sure you check the registrar just in case it is not covered by the big three.
Good luck and happy hunting.