Good domain names are hard to come by.
While there are other permutations available, nothing beats getting a .com attached to it, being the most popular website top-level domain.
But when you see a domain has expired, don’t jump on to the domain registrar’s site yet.
Did you know that when a domain name expires, it’s still not available for others to use?
When Do Expired Domains Become Available?
According to the Internet Corporation on Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), the regulatory body that handles Internet domain names, an expired domain name becomes available to use by others after 80 days from the end.
This provides the current owner enough time to renew or redeem a domain name he had before registered but forgot to rebuild after the determined period with the registrar.
What is the Process from Domain Expiration Until it is Registered Again?
From the first day of expiration, a person who registered a domain is given up 45 days to renew his registration without any penalties.
After these 45 days, that person is given 30 days to redeem the domain name, but this time, penalties may be charged by the registrar to redeem this domain name.
After this redemption period, a domain name will be made available for registration in five (5) days.
Note that ICANN prescribes this period.
But, some registrars have been circumventing this regulation, and with the sheer number of registrars all over the world, the ICANN can only do so much in policing these companies.
So it would do you good to set up your monitoring to check the availability of these domain names.
Can I Make Sure I’ll get a Domain if it Expires?
You can get an expired domain name registered to you if no one else has expressed interest over it.
But, if a domain name you want is in demand, you can expect any of the following scenarios:
- The domain registrar may offer the domain name to the next person who requested for it. You may have to wait for your turn, or you may not get it if someone ahead in the queue gets it.
- The Registrar may opt to auction the domain name to the highest bidder. Remember that registrars are businesses also, so it would be for their benefit to auction off domain names in demand.
To make your domain name lookout easier, there are domain snatching services on the web that allow you to check the expiration of domain names.
How Do I Snatch an Expired Domain?
You can snatch an expired domain only when it has become available by the registrar.
You can avail of the services of domain snatchers if you want a more automated process of getting domain names.
Drop Registrars will track when the domain name you want expires and its grace period lapses.
How do Drop Registrars work?
Drop Registrars, or domain snatchers, are web services that track domain name expiration, especially after the grace period has lapsed.
Particularly, these registrars wait for a domain name to be dropped from the list of registered domain names and register them on your behalf.
Since auctions can also happen when domain names are drop, Drop Registrars can also handle the bidding on your behalf.
You set your highest bid, how the bid increments will be, and the Drop Registrar will do the rest.
Once a Drop Registrar has secured you a domain you are after, it will notify you of its success.
Drop Registrars often have tie-ups with existing domain registrars, which helps them get first dibs on domain names that are up for taking.
Should you decide to avail of the services of a drop registrar, consider looking for one with ties with domain registrars.
Note as well that the cost of drop registrars may sometimes not include the actual registration of the domain. Consult with them on their fees so that you may gauge if you need their services.
What is the Grace Period for Domain Name Renewal?
The grace period is the time a person may renew a domain before the domain is released from registration and made available to anyone who wishes to buy.
The grace period is divided into two (2), with a total of 75 days:
The first phase is 45 days long. For this period, the owner of the domain may still renew his registration without having to pay any penalties.
The second phase starts at the end of the first phase. For this period, the owner of the domain has 30 days to renew it before it is deleted.
Who Owns the Domain During the Grace Period?
While domain names are never owned by the person who registered it, all rights over the domain name are retained, until the end of the grace period, or if waived.
Is my Website and Email Operational During the Grace Period?
Your domain name and email from the registrar are disabled from the first day of the expiration of the domain.
This will be reinstated as soon as the domain registrar processes your renewal application.
Why Can’t I buy an Expired Domain?
If there’s an expired domain name that you want to buy, but couldn’t it’s because of the following reasons:
- The domain name is still under the grace period.
- This means you need to let the grace period of the previous owner lapse before you can buy it.
- It might be for auction. This means you cannot buy it yet, as the registrar may have put the name on auction, and you need to take part to buy it.
- There is still a long list of people who may want it. This means you have to join the waiting list before you are offered the domain name.
Another reason for the unavailability of a domain name despite its expiration is the possibility of the name being involved in a trademark case.
If this would be the case, your chances of getting this domain name are slim, as whoever wins will most likely get the right to use that domain.
Should you want to buy an expired domain name, you may consider getting in touch with the person or organization that currently has rights over it and ask if you can buy it.
You may find information on who has rights over a domain via whois.com.
Should you decide to buy the rights, note that this agreement will not involve the registrar, and may cost you more than what it costs.
How Do I Spot for Domain Names that Will Expire?
One way is to look at their WHOIS information.
WHOIS lists down who registered a domain name, their location, and date of expiry of the domain name.
You can also seek the help of drop registrars to help you secure these domain names you are targeting.
What Should I Look for When Buying an Expired Domain Name?
Should you decide to buy an expired domain name, you need to look into the following:
Check the Quality of the Domain:
You may check a domain’s quality by doing a Page Authority and Domain Authority check.
Log on to the Open Site Explorer to check on the stats of a domain.
Check if the Domain Name has been Banned by Google:
You may be able to get high ratings, but if it’s banned by Google, then it’s still no good.
On Google, enter cache:[your desired domain name] and see how it looks like on search engines. If it does not come out, it means its banned.
Just because it’s banned, it does not mean it’s not worth it.
You may still buy the domain name, and appeal to Google to lift the ban so you can use it.
Check if the Domain Name has Been Banned on Adsense:
If it’s banned on Adsense, chances are you won’t be able to use the domain name when you integrate your search engine marketing efforts with it.
To check if a site has been banned on Adsense, you can use tools such as bannedcheck.com, isbanned.com, bannedchecksite.com, or iwebtool.com.
Check the Website’s Archives:
Go to archive.org and check how the website was used before.
This should give you an idea of how the website associated with the domain name was used, especially if the domain name has been blacklisted.
If you see a lot of red flags based on the quality you see on these review sites, consider getting another domain name.