Domain names, like real estate, are nowadays valuable possessions. Some of them being the envy of millions. In contrast to regular domain name registration process, acquiring an expiring domain name involves a different approach.
A domain name expiry date is not always what it seems to be according to a domain registrar. And the domain does not become available for new registration at the time of its expiry. In reality, it goes through a 40-day grace period during which it can be reclaimed by the initial domain holder. During the grace period, visitors attempting to enter the expired website are redirected to the homepage of the domain’s registrar.
If the domain holder has not re-activated the expired domain within the grace period, the contact information in WHOIS registry is deleted and the domain in question enters the redemption period. During that time, the domain is not yet available for sale to other parties and the initial holder of the domain still has a chance to keep the domain for a fee payable to the registrar. When the domain goes into the redemption stage, it can be expected that the domain holder is no longer interested in keeping the domain.
The next stage that the expiring domain goes through is the ‘locked’ phase lasting for about five days. If, during that time, the initial holder of the domain does not renew it, the domain officially expires and is removed from the ICANN domain database. It is then released and becomes available for purchase to anyone.
It is close to impossible to track and snatch the expired domains of choice and some domainers choose the option of placing a back order with domain registrars. This method, however, does not guarantee a successful purchase of the domain you want.
To maximise their chances, some domainers turn to companies specialising in snatching domains. They focus on the 3-hour drop period of expired domains during which domains are being deleted from the database and released into the domain ecosystem. Attempts at registering the domain manually during the drop period seems useless when competing with power servers of the domain snatching companies such as SnapNames.com, NameJet.com, Enom.com or Pool.com.
Each of the above companies functions in a different way, but generally the domain applicant registers with the company, provides credit card information and agrees to pay a fee (approximately $20.00) plus the amount of the winning bid upon the availability of the expired name. The fee is waived if the domain applicant does not receive rights to the domain.