The following expired domains centric post focuses on some of the aspects, methods and tips that you might find useful when on the hunt for grabbing an expiring domain name. If you're new to this side of the dropped URL sector, a quick look at the expired domains section of the weblog would be warranted, as some basics are covered there that will help in understanding some of the aspects of this article. By overviewing the category you will find info on the domain deletion cycle and other various online expired domains resources (expired domains search providers, expired domains list services and software platforms) that will be beneficial in your expired domains acquisition process.
First things first....the following information is provided as is and to be used at your own discretion. I've said it before in many a post about the expired domains market, there is no sure fire guarantee that even with the best resources that you'll end up with the prize. There are simply too many variables. The competition for some of these expired domains is staggering, with domain players shelling out thousands of dollars frequently just to participate. Of course this doesn't happen in all instances, but it does in some. In a few cases, this arena relies more on the battle of bank accounts than domain smarts.
That being said here's the lowdown...
Backorder with the top Drop Catchers to cover all the bases and increase the odds!
They are what you need in order to get the deleted prize your after. In this competitive climate timing is everything and when it comes to the conversion from expired domain name to available domain name, the whole process can last less than a second, and this area is known as the battle ground of the drop catcher.
A Drop Catcher (Domain Backorder Provider) is a service that tries to register expired domains on behalf of their clients the instant they complete the deletion cycle to become available again for registration.
These expired domains dot grabbing specialists (click backorder domains for a comprehensive list of the top providers) use various domain aquisition software applications through a network of registrars in hopes of catching dropped domains from various registries (for .com and .net, the registry is Verisign).
This intricate expired domains snap procedure unfolds between 1-2 pm EST every day with an onslaught of registrar based registration prompts to the registry to wrestle as many coveted domains as they can.
It's believed that the more registrars at a drop catchers disposal to propagate the registrations, the higher the likely hood of actually getting the domain.
SnapNames, Pool, Club Drop, DomainAlert and NameWinner are arguably the best drop catching vehicles currently in use by domain pros active in the drop market. Using all of these services, while still not locking your chances at the 100 percentile range, will no doubt increase domain acquisition odds significantly.
The majority of these expired domain name snipers use a pay for performance model, so users really only pay the greenback unless they retrieve the domain. The initial 30-60 dollar fee in auction bid platforms of course increases if more than two participants have engaged in a bidding war on the same expired domain.
Here's a rundown of the top of the drop, giving a 2 cent view from this DN bloggers perspective. Some pro's and con's...and other insights.
DomainAlert Pro is the only first come first served model among the notorious five, where users pay an $18.95 fee upfront. No two users using this system can backorder the same expired domain, and unsuccessful domain backorders are re-assigned for free until expired domains of users choice are caught.
Pro - For first timers this is the most cost effective expiring domain catching platform available with some teeth behind it's bite. Target expired domains in the early stages of the deletion cycle by various registrar partners and with some luck you can walk away with a deleted gem for less than 20 bucks! This platform also seems to show great results in catching prime .orgs, .biz and .info's.
Con - It's been rather dismal from this domainers past experience when going after high end .com and .net expired domains with this drop catching unit..
DomainAlert has only three known registrars in it's repertoire to register domains on it's clients behalf. Pool has over 60...do the math. Their first come first served structure can also be a notch on the negative, with only one slot per user for one domain, there's not much else to do, but tlook for altenative means to acquire domain if the backorder domain slot is already filled.
Overall Rating: Hands down most cost effective of the dot grab lot and appear to do well for recently dropped low end traffic and new extension domains.
Pool is a drop catching expired domains juggernaught that was a late starter out of the blocks (only two years online), but has proven to be the one to beat in the drop market when it comes to the expired domain name grabs of choice. This service offers a fee for performance based model, in a nutshell users only pay if their domain target is caught. A 60 dollar fee is enacted if no one else has backordered using their system, but if more than two Pool members are after the same expired domain, a 3 day auction ensues. This is where the 60 dollar initial cost can skyrocket to 3, 4 and even the 5 figure range for specific highly sought after TLD's.
Pro: Has one of the largest registrar bases under it's wing, reportedly over 60 in tow. A must when on the hunt for any URL that isn't under an exclusive guarantee arrangement.
Con: High cost factors rule out the bargain basement expired domains hunter. This is where the big boys swim, if your heading in for a dive make sure your credit cards at the platinum level.
Overall: A backorder domains slot with Pool is a must have if you're serious about acquiring any dropped domains, but be prepared to pay.
SnapNames is a former first come first served expired domains backorder pioneer, that has recently changed to a pay for performance auction bid format. This notorious catcher made headlines in expired domains circles last September when it forged an alliance with Network Solutions to become it's exclusive auction partner for all of it's expired domain names warchest. SnapNames users pay 60 dollars for domains caught that aren't backordered by other domain prospectors using this platform, but for domains that targeted by two/or more, end up in auction usually for a 72 hour period.
Pros: Their partnerships with notables Network Solutions and BulkRegister to name a few have catapulted them back into the expired domain names market significantly.
Cons: High end expired domains grabs equal high end prices for users.
Overall: Have to be used for highly targeted domains. Besides exclusive partnerships they have an impressive registrar base for snagging deleted domains.
Club Drop, eNoms expired domains snatching subsidiary and auction house boast an over 25 registrar compliment. Club Drop changed it's reseller only policy to incorporate retail clients as well in 2004. Have noticibaly done well in major catches by aftermarket domain sales measures and are favored by many domain name industry pros that are active in the expired domains drop sector.
Pros: Consistantly appear to do well at scoring some big domain acquisitions which have seen the expired domain names unit gain some hefty 5 figure sales in recent months.
Cons: More money for better performance measures have been implemeted and bid restrictions for non verified bidders limits bid incrimints.
Overall: A favorite among domainers with above satisfactory results and very efficient in the drop.
NameWinner, the deleted domain names pit stop for registrar heavyweight Dotster, was one of the first drop catching services online to incorporate the bid auction model which has become the norm for the lucrative expired domains market. This TLD wrestler announced in late 2004 that Dotster expired domains would be exclusively auctioned by them.
Pros: NameWinner has reportedly partnered with over 20 registrars in it's quest to reign supreme in the drop game.
Cons: Very volatile pricing structure in this domain authors opinion. Where presumed mid level domains fetch sky high bids.
Overall: Having a NameWinnner backorder domains slot (encompassed with the rest as mentioned) will likely increase expired domain acquisition by leaps and bounds if utilized effectively.
It's D (Drop) Day.....let the games begin!
That prized URL has gone through the hurdles of the deletion processand it's now officially a deleted domain, which (hopefully) has been scooped up by one of the previously mentioned expired domain grabbing institutions, lying in wait at your beck and call. But if another domain prospector(s) has had their sites set on that same virtual web address.....it becomes a battle of who wants it the most and who's willing to pay to get it.
This is where frustration, excitement, anger, stress and about ten other emotions break out in a 72 hour roller coaster ride, which just happens to be the same amount of time for most expired domain name auctions. These humanistic traits tend increase significantly if your one of the close to 25% of expired domains backorder users that have waited patiently for only one name to snag!
In all honesty, this process has to be experienced to be believed, but if you're in contention at auction, here are some tips that will hopefully help:
Frequently check your expired domains auction - While some feel secure in setting a Proxy limit for bids (A proxy bid enables an auction user to set their maximum amount of payment they would make without actually being in auction. The drop catcher in this case raises the bid on their behalf to counter other bids for the expired domain at hand. That is until the maximum is reached), keeping an eye on auction happenings would be considered prudent advice at best. In some instances the maximum you've set may not be enough. While this doesn't happen in the majority of cases due to the vast amount of domains becoming available daily (avg 20,000), there are some high caliber URL's that will fetch a high dollar figure. If your in an auction for such a domain, be prepared for a fight. This domainers been in a few tussles of this ilk and have seen domains leave auction at above secondary market prices.
Make sure you've got the funds - No money, no domain. Might seem "common sensical" to most, but "in the heat of the moment" bids without the proper capital backing, can leave one with out prized deleted domain, and in some cases blacklisted by domain backorder auction house.
Keep your cash flow in order and don't go overboard (best piece of advice in whole post)
The last minutes of the auction are the most volatile - Never leave the auction until the fat lady sings, never! The final minutes/seconds are the most crucial. When this domainer was but a newb in this very unforgiving marketplace, I'd lost a few high enders in the final minutes because I thought I'd actually won...only to realize I had been out bid (sniped rather) in the final stages...I'll use the word frustrating rather than the expletitive I'd like to.
You snooze, you lose. Every second counts.
Other than suggesting a blessing from preffered religious figurehead of choice to help in your endeavour, I don't know if there's much more I can add to this expired domains rant other than a heartfelt .....good luck!