How A Domain Expires
Before you move into the specifics of domain backorders, it’s important to understand how the domain name expiration cycle works. Many people who are unfamiliar with domains don’t know that domains do not expire when the WhoIs record says they do.
If the domain owner does not renew it by the official WhoIs expiration date, the domain is labeled “expired”. For about 30-45 days after expiration, the domain is in a period where all services are shut off, but the owner still has the ability to renew the domain for the regular registration fee. There is no guarantee for the length of this time period, it is controlled by the different domain registrars. If a domain enters this period, it is likely that the owner may not be planning to renew it, but since the owner can re-register without penalty, it can also just be a sign of laziness or forgetfulness.
After the 30-45 days are up, the domain enters the “redemption grace period” or RGP. During this phase, all WhoIs information begins disappearing, and more importantly, it now costs the owner an additional fee (around $100, depending on your registrar) to re-activate and re-register the domain. When a domain enters its redemption period, it’s a good bet the owner has decided not to renew. At this point the registrar may keep the domain name for up to 90 additional days or offer the domain for pre-release auction. The domain registrar may hold the rights to the domain for up to a period of 1 year and at the same time may delete the domain name and turn it back to free registration, in which case anyone can register the domain name again.
After the redemption period, the domain will enter the “pending delete” 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.
What Is Domain Backorder?
Domain backorder is also called dropcatch.
Domain backordering is a service offered by different companies that will let you to register a domain that will soon be expiring, in an attempt to capture the rights to that domain before someone else grabs it.
There is typically a period of time, which is unpredictable but normally around three hours, in which the domain is deleted from the registrar’s database, and then it becomes available for someone else to register. The domain is actually not yet available when you place it on backorder. Although the current owner cannot renew the domain at this point, if you are planning to buy it, you have to wait until it drops. Once the domain drops, unfortunately its age resets to zero. Even though this doesn’t effect the domain’s qualities, links, etc., many people consider a domain’s age an important metric.
You can backorder any domain name that you want regardless of whether it is a brand new name or one that was registered years ago. The thing to keep in mind when planning to use the backordering option however is to only backorder domains which you know will be expiring within the next few days (usually pending delete).
You should also keep in mind that not all expired domain names can be acquired when backordered. The owner may renew them before they are permanently deleted by the registrar or they may possibly be on HOLD status pending the outcome or settlement of a trademark or other dispute. In cases like this the registrar will hold the domain. This is why you need to fully understand the process of backordering and the best domain names to place a backorder on.
Do You Need To Backorder?
Manually trying to catch a domain during the drop is basically 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. However if you’re going after a domain that no one else wants (usually lower quality domains), manually registering it after the drop is the cheapest option, except you don’t know if there is anyone else that is planning to snatch your domain.
Backordering a domain is recommended for those who really want a particular domain name and are absolutely sure that it is the domain name for them. Backordering a domain with the different services allows someone to monitor the status of a domain name. Backordering a domain also means that the person who placed the domain backorder will be notified when an auction for that domain name is about to start.
Your alternatives to backordering are the following:
- Re-registering a deleted domain
- Bidding on a domain at an expired domain auction like GoDaddy
- Buying an active domain on a regular auction
It is important to know what status the domain is in (I went over this at the beginning – expired, redemption grace period, pendingdelete).
If the domain is marked “expired” and NOT “RGP”, then you have to check for dropcatcher/registrar relationships. Most places call it something like pre-release and have an agreement with a dropcatcher/auction site, like NameJet, SnapNames, Pool. Figure out which one has pre-release rights and backorder there. THE DOMAIN WILL NOT ACTUALLY EXPIRE IF SOMEONE HAS BID ON PRE-RELEASE, it will be renewed and pushed into the auction winner’s account.
If the domain reached RGP (redemption grace period) it is going to drop eventually unless the owner renews it. You can try to contact the owner and buy it that way. It’s risky, but it’s the only thing happening at that point.
PendingDelete is the last stage of the process. It will be deleted from the registry within 5 days and whoever orders it fastest will get it. This is where dropcatcher services come in, as they have the equipment needed to snatch such a domain. The original registrar has ZERO advantage at this point.
The “Domain Backorder” Process
“The Drop” is a three hour period of time in which the domain is deleted from VeriSign’s database (for .com and .net domains) and released back into the system for free registration.
The first thing that you need to determine is which domains will be expiring within the next few days. You need to get as much detailed information as possible about which expiring domains you can and should choose to backorder.
The next thing that you need to do is to place your backorder BEFORE that domain actually expires. The dropcatcher will then attempt to grab that domain for you at the exact moment that it drops.
Once the domain is successfully caught there are two things that could happen:
Instant win – If you were the only person to backorder a specific domain name then you will instantly own that domain.
Private Domain Auction – If two or more people backordered the same domain before it dropped then the domain will go on a private auction among these backorderers for 3 days. Only those who have placed a backorder on the domain, with the registrar who successfully caught it, will be allowed to participate in the auction.
Backordering domains on Namejet, Pool and Snapnames is completely free. You ONLY PAY if the dropcatcher successfully secured the domain for you. There are some other services that charge you to place the domain name backorder, regardless if they caught the domain.
If the domain you want ends up in a private auction, then you must win the auction in order to get the domain. The winner is the person who places the highest bid. Once you have paid the highest bid price, then you must pay the acquisition fee. Backorder prices also include one-year registration fee for the domain that you won.
Tips For Successful Backordering
If the domain you want ends up in a private auction after you backorder it, you will have to beat the bidders in this auction that have also backordered the domain. If this is the case then you will have two decisions to make:
You must determine how much you are willing to pay for this domain
You must also determine when to place your bid. This can be done immediately or you can wait until time for the auction bidding to end and place your bid right before the auction is over. “Auction sniping” is an excellent strategy if a handful of bidders are involved in the auction. You should make your highest bid exactly 6 minutes before the domain auction closes. If a bid is placed that will change the auction’s price during the last 5 minutes of the auction, the closing time will automatically be increased an additional 5 minutes from the time that the last bid was placed.
Domain Backorder Services
It is highly recommended that you do NOT use GoDaddy to backorder your domains!! If you really want the domain, order at the 3 big ones, SnapNames , NameJet and Pool.
The only exception is if the current registrar turns out to be GoDaddy or one of its subsidiaries, then simply try to get the domain in the expired domain auction, however this is not a backorder. (A quick WHOIS on the domain will tell you the current registrar.)
SnapNames will catch most of the big names, NameJet has some success also , GoDaddy never catches a name that was ordered at one of the big ones and they will charge you a fee regardless if they caught it or not.
Additionally, all domains that are successfully backordered through Godaddy will go in a PUBLIC auction. This service allows anyone to bid auction style on the domains. Since this is a public auction the possibility of more competition is highly likely and could drive the price very high. You may have to pay much more for the domain than you are willing to pay.
Many domain name registrar sites have domain backorder services that make it easier for users to keep track of the status of domain names and place bids once they expire and become available for auction.
Many services also include a “no result, no pay” policy, personalized alerts for certain domain names or relevant keywords, and other domain monitoring features. All these services hope to make placing domain backorders and securing backordered domains easier and less time consuming.
These services save customers a lot of time and also raise their chances of successfully securing an expired domain they backordered. Also, most domain backorder services work using the latest in dropcatching technology.
Best Domain Backorder Companies
There are several of domain backorder companies online, but which ones are the best for you?
There are currently three major companies which specialize in domain backordering. It is highly recommended that you place the backorder for your desired domain name on ALL THREE of these sites if you really want to help your chances of receiving that soon to expire domain (you don’t pay if they don’t catch it). The only danger is that you may be competing against yourself.
The three services that we currently recommend are:
There is a very good chance that one of these three companies will get the domain that you want.
All three of these services use a network of registrars to hit the Verisign servers at very frequent intervals and grab as many requested domains as possible. They do however know how to grab these domains without getting banned for hitting the server too frequently.
Of course many domain registrars will offer you a backordering service but most will simply waste your time and money because they are not nearly fast enough with their process to get the domain that you want.
List of Domain Backorder Sites
Free backorder; only pay upon successful registration, com: £39.99.
“Unlike some backorder services, we don’t mess around with auctions or charge more for sought-after domains as we only allow one person to backorder a particular domain at one time. If we fail to secure the web address when it drops, we’ll keep trying for you next time – at no extra cost.
“You only pay the backorder fee if we were successful in securing your desired domain for you.”
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 Pool.com grabs your name for you, they send you an e-mail telling you they’ve been successful. This includes the 1-year domain registration.
In the case of a domain backordered by multiple users, a short 3-day auction (with the exception of .CO auctions which will last 5 days matching the reserve phase) will take place and the winning bid will replace our standard fee.
The longest running expired domain service, SnapNames has a large base of registrar partners. SnapNames has an partnership with Network Solutions which allows them first shot at any and all expiring domains that are currently held by Network Solutions. It charges $69 for successful pending delete backorders, unless there are multiple bidders, at which point there is an open bid auction between them.
SnapNames is of the three most popular and well-known web domain registrars. SnapNames comes with lists of exclusive domain names found only on their website, daily deals on domain names, and lists of the most popular expired domain names on the market. It also comes with search features, allowing users to see which domain names are taken or available, and even has categories for different domain names that makes finding the right domain for one’s business easier and more efficient. Categories include entertainment, technology, home and garden, food and drink, finance, and health. SnapNames is especially recommended for people looking for the perfect domain name for their business and brand.
NameJet is known for its direct-transfer partners including Register.com and NetworkSolutions, which give the site great inventory. Successful pending delete orders cost $69. The site holds private auctions if there’s more than one bidder for the same domain.
NameJet is also one of the three most popular and well-known web domain registrars.
GoDaddy.com is arguably the most popular and well-known web domain registrar around. Backordering domains on GoDaddy is easy. Users buy backorder credit, then place the backorder in their accounts, by clicking on the “Domain Backorders” tab in the “My Products” section, and apply it to the domain name that the user wants. Domain backorders on GoDaddy cost $24.98 each, including registration costs, and also comes with daily domain monitoring and up to one year of free membership. GoDaddy also works with every different type of domain.
All backordered domains go through the process of auction. The first person to place a backorder on a particular domain will be given the opening bid through their backorder purchase with no additional cost. Users will also be instantly notified when multiple people are interest in and bidding on the same domain name, and when the domain name expires and becomes available for auction.
Since it was founded in 2008, DropCatch has used its dropcatching technology to secure over a million backordered domain names for its users. It has over 750 domain name registrars, most of them set up specifically to capture expiring domains. Placing backorders through DropCatch is free. Customers are only charged if the backordered domain has been successfully secured for them. DropCatch also comes with daily lists of currently expiring domain names and downloadable reports and search features to make it easier for customers to search for valuable domains and to check on their status.
There are two potential outcomes for when a user backorders a domain on DropCatch. If that user is the only one to backorder a domain, they pay $59 and the domain name is theirs, but if multiple people place backorders on the same domain, then the domain goes to a public auction. The auction will last 3 days and the highest bidder will win.
Earlier called BackorderZone, NamePal allows users to place proxy bids for unavailable domain names through domain auctions. Their backorder services come with keyword monitoring features, pending domain statistics, and the ability to bulk add domains. NamePal also allows users to better manage their domain. Their domain management service, a part of their domain backorder service package, has automatic updates for NS and WHOIS domain registries and post-delivery billing.
Users can backorder as many domains as they want at no cost. They only have to pay once NamePal successfully secures an expired domain for the user. Account holders don’t have to pay any monthly fees, as backorders come at the best individual prices for the domain backorder market.
Aside from participating in expired domain auctions, CatchTiger also allows users to sell their domain names through its Market Place platform to a relevant audience of potential domain name buyers. Though it is a Dutch based domain backorder service provider and company, it works with many different international domains, including countries in the EU like .NL, .BE, .EU, .UK, .FR, .IT, .CH and .LI.
Lastly, CatchTiger offers personal alerts that will let users know when their favorite domain name is available and up for auction. All users will have to do is let CatchTiger know which domain name and relevant keywords they should watch out for. Users will first receive an email when their preferred domain name becomes available, saving them time and raising their chances of successfully securing their perfect dream name. Users can have an unlimited number of personal alerts added to their account on CatchTiger.com.
Powered by the same company that runs FreshDrop, Pheenix charges $21.99 for .com backorders. Domains that are caught with more than one backorder go to a public auction. Discounted backorders are available but are usurped by full-price backorders.