"Expired Domains" refer to domains whose previous owner failed to pay its yearly renewal fees. As a result, intermediaries are trying to sell off such domains. Expired domains often have legacy traffic and search engine ranking stemming from its previous site.
Why do domain expire?
Ownership or precisely the control of domain names is granted for a limited period of time. It is a subject to appropriate registration or renewal fees being paid. Once the owner of a domain name declines to pay the renewal fee to maintain their registration, that domain name will expire, and may eventually be deleted and returned to the "pool" of unregistered names.
How often do domain expire?
Originally domain names were registered for a fixed period of 2 years, most Registrars now offer the option of registering a domain name for a period of 1-10 years, sometimes with substantial discounts for extended registrations
A domain name that is approaching its renewal date is said to be "expiring soon" and a domain name that has passed its renewal date is known as its "expiry date", if the renewal fee is not paid is said to have "expired".
Why are expiring domain so valuable?
Expired domains solicit a lot of interest since they form a new supply of domain names returning to the market. In addition, many expiring domains have existing traffic and search engine ranking stemming for its previous site. If you search for all domains sorted by pagerank on upname.com, you will see that many of the high-pagerank domains for sale are actually expired domains.
Who is selling expiring domains?
Uusually the current registrar is auctionning off domains that are expiring before it deletes. GoDaddy for example auctions hundreds of expired domains every day. Once a domain name has expired and been deleted, it is available for registration by anyone. It is at the exact moment of deletion that the real battle begins for the control of the newly-available-names, a battle that can only have one winner.
What is the domain name expiry and deletion cycle?
The domain expiration cycle is the process in which the domain name is expired, and then it is made available for registration. Once a domain name has passed its expiry date, a number of things happen. First, the domain name is put on hold, the name server information is deleted or modified so that the domain name will no longer appear to the website it is associated with. Second, the domain name is put in the registrar's deletion queue for processing, the procedures for handling expiring domains vary significantly from the registrar.
For how long are domains considered “expiring”?
Some registrars give customers a short time in choosing or deciding domain names within ten days before the expiry date. Others hold on to names for longer periods such as 30 to 45 days. Still others don't release domain names back into the pool at fixed intervals but some in large batches at irregular intervals.
Can a domain be taken out of expiring status back to regular status?
Yes. Most registrars have a "grace period", they will inform customers by email after domain names have expired.
During that grace period, the original owner of the domain name can pay to renew their domain name, if paid by the owner it can be remove from the "on hold" status and will be activate again. Some registrars may impose an additional administrative "penalty fee" to renew domain names during their grace period. If the domain name owner renews the name during the grace period, then the domain is updated to its regular registered status.
Can a domain drop without expiring?
Yes, but this is rare. Some registrars will delete the name immediately following the end of the grace period. Some will hold it for additional time-period before releasing it. And some will change the ownership information on the domain name so that it becomes registered to the "Unpaid Names Department", and some hold the name for an extended period of time before it can be deleted.
Can I simply wait for the domain to delete to get it for free?
This is unlikely. It is true that once a domain name has reached deletion, it is about to return to the domain market and it will be available for registration. However, if the domain name is considered valuable, it will be auctioned off during the expiring phase. Even if it didn't find buyers during expiring phase, there are many interested parties lining up to try and grab it within seconds of a domain deleting.
Which expiring names are the most valuable?
One assumes you're hunting down expiring domain names for one of two reasons: to use the name or to invest in the name for possible resale later. If you're hunting for names to use in building a site or service, you'll already have a list of criteria as to what makes a good name, including suitability to the product or service it is intended for, length and memorability.
When hunting for expiring names, you also need to bear in mind who the previous owner of the name was, and why they were using the name for their business. Generally, expiring names can be considered "fair game" in that they are available to be registered by anyone. You wouldn't wish to violate the legal department of a giant corporation such as Microsoft or IBM even if you eventually proved to be in the right place.
A little research into who the previous owner of an expiring domain name and why they were using the name for, can be both rewarding and reassuring.
Can I wait for the domain to expire and they register it?
Probably no. While it is possible to manually "grab" or register some expiring domain names at the moment they become available, the competition surrounding the most desirable names has become so heated that manual methods alone are unlikely to do the trick.
An entire mini-industry has sprung up around the grabbing of expiring domain names while none of the solutions below provide the right solution to the problem of securing expiring domain names.
The biggest firm in the expiring name acquisition game, and perhaps the most well known, is SnapNames.com. For a fee of $69, they provide customers with a "SnapBack" on the domain name of their choice. SnapNames will attempt to register domain names with SnapBacks placed on them at the exact second that they become available, and be patterned with a number of Registrars, both large and small, to help boost their chance of success. Other players are Pool.com and more recently NameJet.com, although they secure a much smaller share of domains being deleted than SnapNames.