How to Grab an Expiring Domain Name

How to Grab an Expiring Domain NameYears ago, when domain names expired they would drop, or become available for hand registration by anyone. Whoever was the quickest to register a dropped domain would be the new registrant. That is how many of the largest domainers, like Frank Schilling, built their enormous portfolios.

Today, the story is different. Domain name registrars realized that they could auction expired domain names to the highest bidder and generate additional revenue. If no one wanted the domain names in an auction, the domains would then drop and become available for anyone to register. Much of the time, however, domain names are successfully auctioned.

Because auctioning domain names is not the core competency of most domain name registrars, they partner with an auction house.

When Domain Names Are Auctioned

A domain name that reaches expired status and is not renewed by the owner will be listed at an auction service (see FAQ for exception to this rule). The domain name does not immediately go into auction, but is immediately listed on the partnered auction service with an auction scheduled for the near future. Such a domain name will be exclusive to that specific auction service.

For example: If the domain name is registered with Moniker (the registrar) and the domain name reaches expired status, within a few days of expiring the domain name will be listed at (auction house partner to Moniker). Domain names are exclusive to one auction service, as an auction cannot take place at two locations.

Joining the Domain Name Auction

If you – as a business owner, entrepreneur or webmaster – want to register a domain name that is about to expire, the procedure to follow for the best chance of purchasing the domain name is outlined below.

1. Determine the Domain Name Registrar

Most major domain name registrar have an exclusive auction partner. In order to determine the auction partner, you first need to figure out who the domain name registrar is.

The domain name registrar for a domain name can be determined through a WHOIS lookup. Take, for instance, If you wanted to purchase this domain name, you can visit and find out that the domain name registrar is Moniker (see figure below).

How to Grab an Expiring Domain Name

Sample Results from WHOIS Lookup

2. Determine the Auction Partner

Once you know the name of the registrar, you can look up the exclusive auction partner using the table below.

There are three major auction houses:

  1. Go Daddy Auctions (
  2. NameJet (
  3. (
Domain Name Registrar Auction House Partner
Go Daddy Go Daddy Auctions
Wild West Domains
Ascio Technologies NameJet
Network Solutions (NetSol)
1&1 Internet None
Bulk Register
Melbourne IT

(Missing a registrar? See FAQs on what to do next.)

Always track your expiring domain name at the auction house that is partnered with the registrar on record for that domain. It is your best chance of acquiring the domain name.

Note that expired domain names at registrar resellers, such as through the Go Daddy Reseller Program, will be auctioned at the same auction house partner of the registrar.

3. Play the Odds

If you fancy yourself a gambler, you can take your chances that no bids will be placed, wait for the domain name to drop, and hand register it for about $10 at any number of domain name registrars.

But unless the domain name you want is undesirable to anyone else (e.g., it does not include real words or have a high search volume for the words), the odds are not in your favor. With over 210 million domain names registered and an active, worldwide domain name investing community, it is highly likely that someone else will also find interest in the domain name you are watching. As such, skip to Step 4.

4. Backorder/Bid on the Domain Name

If you really want the domain name, place a backorder at the appropriate auction house before the domain hits the expired date of the registration (or before the end of the “expired period“, which can vary between registrars from zero to 45 days).

A backorder allows you to monitor a domain name status and be notified of the start of an auction. To place a domain name backorder or bid, you will first need to sign up for an account at the auction partner you identified in Step 2.

Not sure how much to bid? Start by learning how to value generic domain names.

If the domain name has already expired and has not gone to auction at the partner auction service, then you will need to use a drop catching (backorder) service.

Frequently Asked Questions About Auction House Partners

Question: Shouldn’t I bid on the domain name at all the advertised drop catching services, like and others?

Answer: No. While this was the best process years ago, today most major domain name registrars are exclusively partnered with one auction house. As a result, the domain name will either sell at the partner auction house or be dropped.

If a domain name is dropped, then a drop catching service like will work fine. At, you only pay if they are successful at catching your domain name. But if you are going to pay $60 for to catch it, why not just go to the auction and bid on the domain name – you will have a better chance of obtaining it.

Question: The domain name I want is not expiring for a while. Can I enter an auction bid now?

Answer: Many auction sites will allow you to backorder the domain name for free. Follow the process above to find the domain name registrar and auction partner site. Then sign up for an account at the auction partner site and enter a backorder. But remember, the domain name may transfer to another registrar at some point so refer to Step 1 above periodically.

Alternatively, you can monitor a domain name for free at a number of locations. offers a free domain name monitor tool, as does (both available with free member registration). Once you receive an email notification that a domain has changed status from active to expired, you can follow the process listed above to enter a bid at the auction partner site.

Question: Are there exceptions to the rules and processes listed above?

Answer: Yes. For a vast majority of domain names that expire (greater than 99%+), the rules and processes listed above are valid. However, there appear to be exceptions to these rules. For example, registrars “warehouse” or take for their own domain name portfolios some domain names, and other domain names a renewed even past their expired or redemption periods. In addition, there is at least one registrar that does not have an auction partner, allowing expired domain names to simply drop and be available for hand register.

Question: I like the original creation date (1995) of a particular domain name I am watching. Will it be maintained if I buy the domain name in auction?

Answer: Domain names that sell through auction partners will maintain their original creation date. Domain names that go Pending Delete or Pending Deletion, will have a creation date that coincides with when the domain is next registered.

Question: What is the auction house for TLDS, LLC DBA SRSPLUS?

Answer: If you search “srsplus” you’ll find the registrar at Visiting that site, it says (under their logo) that they’re powered by Network Solutions. Knowing that, you can just look at to see who Network Solutions uses as their auction partner.

If you *really* want to be sure the auction partner is NameJet (because it’s a name you cannot afford to lose in the drop), you can email the technical support team at SRSPLUS and ask them if they follow the same expiration/auction procedures as Network Solutions. Be specific and ask, “Will the domain name, (fill in), expire and be available for auction on as the process is listed at”

Question: Can you tell me how I can find the auction house for

Answer: Unfortunately not. There are about 1,000 ICANN-accredited domain name registrars around the world. Most do not have an auction partner; it’s only the largest registrars that do.

To find out if has an auction partner, you will need to contact technical support and ask them if they have an auction partner for expired domain names such that you can follow the procedures listed at to register the domain name (fill in).

Question: Can I contact the registrar and negotiate to buy the domain name directly?

Answer: Registrars are not set-up to negotiate the selling price of expiring domain names. Their technical support team likely won’t even know what you’re referring to, let alone who to refer your inquiry to. It’s likely your offer won’t even be worth their time to handle. Unless you know the founder, president or chief operating officer of the registrar, you won’t even be able to have a dialogue about it. In addition, depending on how they interpret the ICANN registrar rules, it may not even be possible.

Question: So what do I do if I cannot find the auction house of the registrar?

Answer: If the domain name fully expires and then “drops”, your best chance of registering it is to use one or more of these automated domain name backorder services.

What did I miss, get incorrect or need to clarify? Please tell me in the comments below.

[Peer review thanks: Justin Godfrey]
[Photo credit: banky177]

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102 Responses to “How to Grab an Expiring Domain Name”

  1. Jonathan Denney says:

    Thank you very much for this insightful article!

    Quick question. I’m eyeing a domain name that was registered with Tucows domains and expired on 2/7/15.

    I went ahead and set the minimum bid ($69) with Snapnames, because your article said that was the appropriate service for that registrar. Fortunately, the domain name isn’t the type to be very appealing to other domainers, and only the .com is taken.

    If Tucows says their grace period for .com’s is 40 days, no one else bids and the owner doesn’t renew, would I still have to wait about 75 days to use the domain?

    Thanks! :)

  2. Jay says:

    Hi, my domain was dropped yesterday and is registered by some as sponsoring registrar for one year ie it expires on 26feb 2016 now. On NameJet I saw it available for $350. Should I buy that or wait until it drops back for public sphere.

    • If it dropped and was picked up by someone else, it may not ever drop again. Who knows.

      If you will receive more financial benefit from owning the domain name than the $350 cost, then you might want to buy it.

      Otherwise, how badly do you want it?

      I can’t answer any of those questions for you. Good luck with your decision.

  3. Steve says:

    I think something must have changed since the article was written:

    I followed the steps in your article and backordered a domain expiring on with as instructed. I was notified of pending delete, but no auction.

    I’m still he high bidder, but the name is now registered to some squatter whose domain redirects to The domain is not available on snapnames either.

    Whois shows:

    Sponsoring Registrar IANA ID: 1198
    Whois Server:
    Referral URL:
    Status: ok
    Updated Date: 08-feb-2015
    Creation Date: 08-feb-2015
    Expiration Date: 08-feb-2016

    According to NameJet technical support:

    When domains are in Pending Delete status, the domains are in process of being deleted and made available for free registration by the Registry itself.

    As the domain was fully released, we attempted to procure this domain for you however it looks like another company was able to get this domain before us by just a few milliseconds.

    We apologize, however we were not able to get this domain for you at this time.

    I own the and the trademark on the root of the name.

    It’s unclear who I would contact. The domain redirects to a link farm.

    Any advice (and an article update) would be appreciated.

    This may hold a clue:

    It’s unclear if eNom holds a private auction before releasing domains to NameJet or if the auction is done by NameJet — in any case the technique described seems to be incomplete or obsolete — at least for eNom.



    • Hi Steve,

      The response from NameJet was appropriate and likely correct.

      If you bid at NameJet *after* the domain name moves to Pending Delete status, then it’s too late for NameJet to take advantage of their relationship with eNom and take control of the name. So then eNom thinks, “no interest from NameJet users; we’ll just drop it” and it goes through the regular deletion process — where the fastest fingers can register it. In some cases, investors don’t want to pay the $59 or $69 fee at NameJet and if there are no bids they can likely get it for $18.99 at Pheenix or using other dropcatching services.

      Sorry you didn’t get the domain you wanted. I’ll update the text above to note this additional information.


      • Steve says:

        Hi Michael,

        According to my email logs, I placed the backorder on 1/6/15 — well in advance of the change and at above minimum bid as suggested by NameJet’s FAQ.

        On 2/4/16, I received this message from NameJet:

        Dear NameJet Customer:

        We are happy to inform you that a domain name you Backordered as a Wish List item is about to become available and is entering a Pending Delete status.


        I’m still baffled as to the process here — hoping to document it for others.



        P.S. I sent you the domain name via private email

        • Hi Steve,

          Thanks for sending the domain. I did a historical lookup on and see the record’s expiration date BEFORE it expired.

          Here’s what I see (without domain name details):

          This means that you would have needed to have your NameJet backorder in by November 20th. There may have been some time after that point that it might still have worked, but I’m not sure of the exact details…you’d need to contact NameJet for those.

          Does that explain it?


          • Steve says:

            Hi Michael,

            That’s at least an explanation, but both NameJet’s instructions and FAQ do a good job of hiding the fact that they couldn’t really auction the domain.

            When I backordered, the whois looked like this:

            Registrar WHOIS Server:
            Registrar URL:
            Updated Date: 2015-01-02T04:32:17.00Z
            Creation Date: 2009-11-20T22:40:40.00Z
            Registrar Registration Expiration Date: 2014-11-20T22:40:40.00Z
            Registrar: ENOM, INC.
            Registrar IANA ID: 48
            Registrar Abuse Contact Email:
            Registrar Abuse Contact Phone: +1.4252982646
            Domain Status: clientTransferProhibited
            Registry Registrant ID:
            Registrant Name: REACTIVATION PERIOD
            Registrant Organization:
            Registrant Street: 15801 NE 24TH STREET
            Registrant City: BELLEVUE
            Registrant State/Province: WA
            Registrant Postal Code: 98004
            Registrant Country: US
            Registrant Phone: +1.4252744500
            Registrant Phone Ext:
            Registrant Fax: +1.4259744791
            Registrant Fax Ext:
            Registrant Email: REACTIVATION-PENDING@ENOM.COM

            It looks like maybe it went in an eNom internal auction?

            In retrospect, I’m assuming I should have put in an offer on eNom directly?

            It might be worth updating the article to state that after the Registrar Registration Expiration Date, the instructions don’t hold — if that’s the case.

            It looks like there’s another layer to be explained.

            Thanks again for your help.


  4. James says:

    There is a name I want, which I know they will not sell it. They are not using it. This could be a long process. I want to find out how to be there to get it right when it expires. Any tips?

  5. projebox says:

    Thank you very much for the helpful information about the domain expiring,

  6. elevator says:

    Tim! I am afraid if the domain is a good one; you may miss it if you are waiting for it to drop before catching it. Sorry this is from my own point of view.
    I think Mike will need to advice you further. Cheers.

  7. Tim says:

    I lost my domain from Moniker (partly due to their email policy – which sends you so many emails that it’s easy to miss the crucial ones about renewal).

    Its about to go into delete and I’d like it back if i can, But Im only a student so funds are limited. I’ve already registered a .org version of the name.

    Can I please get your help? (And feel free to just refer to my question numbers to save time!)

    1) If I place a bid at an auction house, does that mean that I cant then go the alternative route: i.e just register the name thru the process of just letting it drop into the open public sphere – because I would have already bid on it? (Im sorry if this is a dumb question!)

    2) Is the auction house for moniker still snapnames?

    3) Am i right in assuming that you said there is only one auction house allowed to offer it? Is that still true?

    4) before it drops into the public sphere, it will always go thru an auction right? so it only goes to the public sphere if there are no bidders?

    5) My overall impression/summary:
    * if you think name could be popular, best to put in a bid at the relevant auction house
    * if not, then you could take your chances and let it drop completely and then go for it when its publicly available, either by:
    – using a drop-service (which prevents the risk of u missing the day)
    – just keeping an eye on it, perhaps with the help of DomainTools or the like

    Does that sound about right?

    • Hi Tim,

      1. If it’s a desirable name, it may not make it to fully dropped and available for hand registration. You take your chances by going that route.

      2. Yes, but if you missed the auciton and it’s already pending delete than it’s too late for SnapNames. Go

      3. Yes

      4. No. Some domains don’t have auction partners.

      5. Yes.

      Good luck!

  8. Erick says:

    Thank you very much for the helpful information about the domain expiring, i have got a lot of information on this topic.

  9. Steve says:

    Hi Michael,

    This is a wonderful resource and has been very helpful as I try to understand the nuances of buying expired domain names.

    I read the article, FAQ, and accompanying comments and I did not see this addressed.

    What happens if a registrar does not have an auction house partner? I’m asking specifically about Eurodns. Does Eurodns still run auctions or is the only way to secure the domain to try to backorder it?


    • Hi Steve,

      The very last Q&A answers your question:

      Question: So what do I do if I cannot find the auction house of the registrar?

      Answer: If the domain name fully expires and then “drops”, your best chance of registering it is to use one or more of these automated domain name backorder services:

      Best of luck,

      • Steve says:

        Thanks Michael! I emailed eurodns’ support team about the best process for securing the domain since they don’t have an auction partner. The support team wrote back and asked me to share the specific domain name. Is this safe to share with them? Why would they want to know it?

        • Hi Steve,

          I don’t know why they want to know it. Maybe they just want to provide excellent support. The only way to know is if you ask them.

          If they have no auction partner, you take your chances and use all the back order services you can…commensurate with how badly you want the name.

          Good luck,

  10. Ciaran says:

    Hi Michael

    Great article thank you. I am watching a domain and its registrar is SAFENAMES LTD. How do I find the auction partner for Safenames Ltd?

    Thank you


    • Hi Ciaran,

      I do not know. Sorry.

      Try contacting their customer support group to ask. See the answer above to the question, “Can you tell me how I can find the auction house for”

      Best of luck,

  11. NoRules says:

    Hi Michael!

    Great article, but when i checked a domain of, at the bottom of their website, it says: “ is a proud part of”

    I checked “Rightside” and in the “Brands” section are: eNom / / NameJet

    So…, the Auction House Partner of is NameJet or as you wrote.

    Thank you.

    • Excellent investigation and question, NoRules.

      I verified with NameJet that should be associated with them. I also updated the chart above. Thanks for your question.

  12. Jeffrey says:

    I won an expired auctions at for $110

    I paid and 5 hours later the domain was stolen from my account and i was issued store credit back! They said the original owner paid the renewal fee AFTER i won the expired domain auction. Is this normal? Can the expired domain really be taken back after i paid?

    Very disappointed with Godaddy and would much appreciate your opinion Michael

    Thank you for all you do!

    • Hi Jeffrey,

      It may seem like GoDaddy stole your domain name, but they didn’t. It’s just their auction process happens before the domain name technically expires.

      If you read their process here (, you can see that they auction a domain name — in my opinion — too early.

      “On the 25th day after expiration, [GoDaddy] put[s] your domain name up for auction with a domain name industry auction service.”

      In addition, “On the 42nd day after expiration, [GoDaddy] cancel[s] your domain name. We delete all services associated with the domain name.”

      Their process works in such a way that those who “forgot” or even wanted to see what value their domain name reached in auction could pay an extra fee and have their domain name renewed (subject to the domain name registry rules…they’re all different).

      Many of us have also won auctions only to have the domain name renewed and the auction fees refunded. It’s never a good experience, but you’re not alone.


      • Jeffrey says:


        Thank you for the impressively quick response! I feel better already. Now that i know this, I will consider expired domains auctions a ‘chance’ at getting the domain. Rather than a sure thing.

        I can’t thank you enough for this site and your passion for it. I’m addicted to learning about domaining, and your site is the most valuable source of information AND inspiration for me.

        Thank you

        • Alex says:

          Something similar happend to me in an auction a couple of weeks ago, I won the item, I paid for it, got an email with receipt and all, and then the next day they took it away from me and got the refund.. I know it sucks…… Some auction sites take a lot of time to upgrade their auctions, and this complicate things to, u can win an item in sedo, and still be listed in go daddy or vicceversa, sometimes it takes them days, I once called go daddy and told them, “hey! That domain in auction is mine” , “oh, sorry we haven’t upgraded”..

    • Fahad says:

      The reply by Micheal is right in this case but there is definitely some malpractices by godaddy. Many times i have seen the domain to be not deleted by godaddy even after the 42nd day,

  13. Josh Rachlis says:

    Some jerk stole my .com domain name after I had owned it for 10 years and accidentally let it expire, and he’s trying to extort lots of money from me for its return. On the site where it says who owns it, it says “Domain Status: clientTransferProhibited”. What does that mean? The domain expires on September 26. He’ll probably automatically renew it, like he has for the past couple of years. But in case it becomes available, I want to grab it. I’m the only person in the world with my name, and I posted at a blog for 10 years with that domain name. So I’m really upset I don’t have my own name anymore.

    • Hi Josh,

      It’s unfortunate that your domain name expired, but just like if you didn’t pay your mortgage payment your lender may repossess your home. I’m sure there are better or more accurate analogies, but that’s the first one that came to mind.

      The domain name registration/renewal/expiration rules are clear:

      There’s even a grace period for getting the domain name back under registration after expiration, but once it passes the domain is gone. And there are companies and individuals that look for aged domain names with traffic and backlinks so your expired domain name was likely something desirable to them.

      So what do you do now?
      1. Negotiate with the company that has the registration to buy it back
      2. Wait for them to let it expire (which may never happen)
      3. Cut your losses and move on with another domain name

      If you want to reach out to me privately (michael at the domain name listed above) and reference this thread, I’ll see if I know the domain name owner and might be able to facilitate something. No promises, but I’ll see if there’s anything I can do.

      Sorry it happened to you.


  14. Khawaja Ali says:

    great this is a life changing article now people become aware to the registration of expire domains and they will get pre- ranked domains….. thank you very much Michael for this post

  15. Cesar says:

    Besides Dynadot, and Godaddy expired domain auctions you can also try using No waiting and you can skip the process of bidding on domains.

  16. John says:


    I’m looking at a name on NameJet that expired on Network Solutions. Is there any benefit/strategy to backordering sooner rather than later or vice versa?

    If I backorder will it show that there’s a bid or backorder activity to the public?

    And I just want to make sure, there’s no cost if I don’t place the winning, right?

    I’m thinking about backordering now but before I do, I wanted to ask your opinion.

    Thanks for the awesome blog + podcast. You are my favorite source of info.

    • If you backorder it now, you’ll have no chance of forgetting to place your backorder. That’s pretty much the only benefit.

      If you place your backorder a day or two before the deadline, then your domain is likely to be selected for a promotional email that NameJet sends out with the “most backorders”. Sometimes all it takes is one backorder to be selected for their email newsletters.

      If there is already one or more backorders, then it’s likely going to get selected for promotion anyway, so go ahead and put in your backorder so you don’t forget.

      Ideally — with no backorders placed yet — you’d wait until a few hours to an hour before you need to get your backorder in to prevent being highlighted.

      If you are the only one to place a bid, then you will win it and it will cost you $59 or $69 (whatever the minimum bid is for the domain of interest).

      If you place the minimum bid and it goes to auction, you’ll only pay if you’re the highest bidder / winning bid.

      Hope that helps.

      • john says:

        That helps greatly. Thank you so much.

        The domain’s minimum price has jumped from $69 to over $150 in the last day but no bids are showing. Do you know what’s happening here?

        Thank You!

  17. joe says:

    Hey there, I was wondering if you knew wether the current owner of a domain name is alerted if I place a bid on it through I would just rather they not know I am trying to obtain it. Thanks in advance!

    • Once a name goes to auction at NameJet, it’s past the point of reactivation by the last known registrant. In other words, if the last known registrant wants it, they have to bid for it just like everyone else.

      This is not the case at GoDaddy Auctions, however. There, GoDaddy starts the auction before the domain names has fully expired and the registrant does have the ability to pay a one-time restoration fee to restore ownership. This is particularly frustrating to those bidding in the auction, as you may be the winning bidder and pay your winning bid price only to find out a few days later that it was restored. You then have to wait for a refund from GoDaddy.

      Other auction marketplaces may work differently as well. No two have the exact same rules or processes.

  18. Rob says:

    Hello. Thank you for the article. I have a question about the biddng. The domain name I want has expired and is showing on Snapnames. However the starting bid price is the same as the price listed by the owner for sale. $1900. Is that typical ? Any thoughts on how to place a lower bid. Thank you

    • No, that’s not typical. Without knowing the domain, I can’t provide any insight. Sorry.

      • Rob says:

        Michael, thanks for the response. The domain is ****.com. I appreciate your help.

        • I removed the domain name from this post to maintain your confidentiality.

          According to the Whois history — you are correct — it appears the expiration date was “2014-05-21″.

          But today the expiration date was updated to “2015-05-22″, which means the registrant renewed the domain name.

          If you look closely, here’s what the whois indicates:

          As such, it’s likely not going to drop. It’s a valuable domain name and YummyNames knows that, which is why they’re keeping it in their portfolio.

          YummyNames, the portfolio company of the Tucows registrar, will often renew domain names only on the expiration date in the hopes that they might sell the domain name before that day and not have to incur the registration fee for another year.

          You can either wait them out (maybe one day they’ll drop it, but unlikely), negotiate with them to purchase it, or find another domain name.

          Wish I had a more helpful answer for you. Best of luck.

  19. Lisah says:

    Hi Mike,

    Great article and super helpful!

    I’m trying to purchase a domain that has listed as the registrar. According to your chart, snapnames is their auction partner. The domain is on backorder there (expiry date is in November).

    However it is listed as on auction for early June at GoDaddy and some other sites make it seem that you can bid on it right now.

    What’s my best chance of getting it?

    Thanks so much,

    • Hi Lisah,

      Thanks. Glad you found it helpful.

      Remember, the process documented above is ONLY used when a domain name expires and is auctioned off. If it never expires (i.e. the domain name registrant continues to renew it before — or even after — expiration), then all it’s a moot point.

      So, it’s listed for auction in June at GoDaddy. I can see that being the case. Many registrants will list their domain name at many marketplaces (GoDaddy, Sedo, and others) in hopes of selling it before expiration.

      Your best chance of getting it is contacting the current registrant and negotiating to buy it. After that, your best chance is buying it in auction or finding it listed with a “buy it now” price at a marketplace. Your other option is to find a broker who can negotiate on your behalf (if the domain name sells for a few thousand or higher…brokers likely won’t have the time or inclination to negotiate smaller deals).

      Hope that helps.


      • Lisah says:

        Thanks Michael, for the speedy response and clarification!

        I’ll try contacting the seller directly.


  20. Elizabeth says:

    Hi Mike. I have backordered a pending delete domain at SnapNames, NameJet and Pool that has Godaddy as the registrar. Should I backorder at Godaddy as well? Does Godaddy have a better chance of catching the name? If they do will it go into a public rather than private auction so I could still bid on it even though I didn’t backorder it with them?

    Thanks for any thoughts on this,

    • I, personally, haven’t found GoDaddy to be any better at grabbing domain names if the domains were registered at a registrar other than GoDaddy. (If the domain name was registered at GoDaddy, as detailed above, then they are the best place to back order the domain.)

      Having said that, if I really wanted the domain I’d pay the extra $21 for the GoDaddy backorder to have an extra chance of catching it. If GoDaddy doesn’t catch it, you can use the backorder to try to catch another domain in the future.

      Good luck.

  21. Harinder says:

    Hi Mike, Thanks for the great article. I am really inspired from you specially the way you conduct the interviews with the genius people and cover all the doubtful questions.

    I am wondering if you can tell me that who is the auction house partner for CSC Corporate Domains, Inc. ( or I wish to apply for a domain which is going expire in couple of months.


    • They appear to be corporate brand manager, like MarkMonitor. On their website they say, “We offer digital brand services to help protect brands online. We register and manage thousands of domain names, respond to online brand infringement and help monitor and clear trademarks in a global market.”

      Because they protect company brands, I doubt they have an auction partner.

      If there’s no auction partner, you can either wait and hope that no one else registers the domain name when it expires and is dropped and available for registration, or place a backorder at one of these backorder service providers:

      Good luck.

  22. Mark Wannabe says:

    Great feedback from Mark at “If you have ever seen a name registered with the Sponsoring Register 1API that is, also if you ever saw a domain being auctioned at that means it was backordered by more than one person at Hexonet so the domain goes to a private NameJet-style auction there.”

  23. Thanks for answering my query Mic..

    Although I have one query (this answer does answer it, but I have a doubt)… I just bought a domain which had the creation date as 2010 but after acquisition upon checking I found that it has been reset to 2014. So, from what I understand from your article, this could not be undone anyways because this particular domain’s status said as ‘Expired’ and I got it for under $10 from godaddy?


  24. Matthew says:

    This is great! Thanks DomainSherpa in the past i have only ever used GoDaddy auctions to find expiring domain names, but now i know the others it will hopefully helpme find even more quality expired domains! Thanks Again!

  25. Scott Mcdermott says:

    is there any difference in the procedures you documented or with the way the market works for less-profitable TLDs like .org, where many folks are non-profits or non-business entities that don’t have a ton of money? I would think this makes the auction and secondary market less interesting, and there’s probably a lot more drops without auction?

  26. Scott Mcdermott says:

    I am trying to find the auction house partnered with “Registration Technologies, Inc.” ( They appear ancient, but still active. I have attempted to contact them and received no response to my queries. How would I go about finding the auction house they are partnered with? Are you certain that all auctioning partnerships are exclusive?

    • DomainSherpa says:

      If you’ve reached out to them and they have not responded, they likely won’t respond to me either. If they’re a smaller registrar, then it’s likely they don’t have an auction partner as it costs capital to make the technological and business process connections between the registrar and auction house.

      There are likely exceptions to every rule in the domain name industry, but for the most part each registrar — if they have an auction house partner — with only have one partner from what I’ve seen.

  27. Alison says:

    Hi, I have been “stalking” a domain for my dad and it was to have expired today. Just Googled your piece this morning. The domain we want is registered with 1&1, which you list has having no auction house. Does this mean they eventually drop them? Or do you have any other tips?


  28. Dale Ehrgott says:

    Hi Michael,

    Great information, thank you. Any chance you know who does the auctions for domains that are under the registry? Thanks and have a good day.

    • Hi Dale,

      Were you aware that Dynadot has their own expired domain auction marketplace?

      “When a domain is not renewed by the registrant, it is auctioned off. The highest bidder for the domain will receive the domain into their Dynadot account.

      “Auctions last for seven days, and you can bid anytime during that period. You may also place a proxy bid for higher than the current minimum bid. If someone else places a bid, the system will automatically bid for you until your max proxy bid amount is reached.

      “If you are the highest bidder when the auction ends, you have 2 days to pay for the auction. Once you pay the domain is moved into your Dynadot account in about 4 days, provided it is not renewed by the original Registrant.”

      BUT, like GoDaddy auctions take place during the registrant’s grace period (40 days after expiration), so even if you win the auction for the expired name and pay the money it appears that Dynadot can cancel the order. See

      What happens after the auction if no user bids on the domain name and the registrant doesn’t renew the domain name during the grace period? I don’t know. I’ve put in an email to their support department to ask. I’ll update this post when I hear back.


    • Hi Dale,

      I heard back from Dynadot (excellent support response time), and once a domain name goes through their own auction marketplace, it is deleted and is eventually available for registration by anyone.

      Hope that helps you out.


  29. Zuheb says:

    Hi Micheal , Is the process same for 2013 or has changed somewhat. This article has cleared many doubts . Is there an article where i can find timelines about the exact dropping dates of each registrar. I think its different for each registrar.

    • @Zuheb, yes the process is the same today that it was when I wrote this article in 2011.

      I don’t have an article that identifies the exact dates and times of dropping domains at the registrar. It’s a good idea; I’ll find someone who is an expert on the topic to come on and discuss it.

      Thanks for commenting and asking your questions.

  30. Mac says:

    Hey Michael, I have a question. I owned a domain from 2006 to 2010 than I missed to renew it and someone booked it. Now when I see the whois data of domain it shows that that creation date is from 2006 till 2013.

    Now my question here is I am about to buy this domain as it is about to expire today, but I want to get it with creation date 2006 and not 2013. how can i do that? or is it like if i order it so it will dafault show its creation date 2006?

    Any help would be great. By the way excellent article.

    • Hi Mac,

      See the question above: “I like the original creation date (1995) of a particular domain name I am watching. Will it be maintained if I buy the domain name in auction?”

      In short, if you use the auction partner of the registrar then it will maintain the original creation date. However, if the domain goes through Pending Delete or Pending Deletion, the domain name will have a creation date that coincides with when the domain is next registered.

      Best of luck to you,

  31. Great post! This all great information for anyone looking to get into the domain game, which by the way is kicking butt!

  32. Boluji says:

    Wel done Mike.

  33. Boluji says:

    The article and the feedback are evergreen. Previously I do not have any flare for expired domains, but with this sky is my first steps to expired domains.


  34. Ross says:

    Hmm go to an auction and buy expired domain, simply :)

    • Hi Ross,

      Yes, but you need to know which auction company to go to to put your bid in. For example, if the domain name is expiring at GoDaddy, they run their own auctions. So putting in a bid at will do you no good — instead it will waste your time. And in some cases you need to put your backorder in with payment, so it will cost you as well.


  35. Mike Howard says:

    Great article. This will be quite useful to us to grab a domain name that our competitors have registered!

  36. ThemePremium says:

    How can I backorder a domain name that is in pendingDelete status but is registered by 1&1 (so no auction partner). Please reply. Thanks.

    • Hi ThemePremium,

      Sorry for the massive delay in responding.

      If a registrar has no auction partner, like is the case with currently, then you need to put in backorders with large companies that might be able to grab the domain.

      I suggest putting in a backorder at these locations:
      * (currently free to place a backorder, charged if grabbed)
      * (currently free to place a backorder, charged if grabbed)
      * (currently $19, but if don’t grab you can reuse on another domain — email support at GoDaddy if you have questions)
      * (new player in the backorder marketplace, I think it’s $19 to backorder)


  37. Drew Towers says:

    I read something very interesting the other day. It was a guy revealing a secret he had used to acquired hundreds of domain names… Here’s his basic plan.

    I’m assuming he would scrape to find domains that were about to expire, at which point he’d then filter the list for whatever he was looking for – brandable names, pagerank domains, high traffic domains, etc.

    Taking under the assumption they had abandoned their websites and did not care too much about them any longer he would cold call them using the WHOIS info in the domain and offer to give them 50 dollars just for re-registering the domain (which he would pay for) and then simply walking them through transferring it over.

    He claimed he had a 66% success rate with this method. (I think he had written a little more in-depth about it, but thats the basic run-down). I imagine it still works very well.

    I thought to myself, what a creative son of a b*. That’s thinking outside of the box. Boy do I miss the day when the aftermarket was just one great big river rarely fished (for lack of better words.) Now its just so saturated its lost its appeal. I am sure something new and exciting will come along though.


    Drew (@DomainSnatcher)
    and a shameless plug if you don’t mind:
    Download my Non-API Dropcatcher @

    • That’s awesome. For someone that’s willing to “dial for dollars”, I bet there would be a percentage that would convert. It’s a funnel, and the more you put in the top, the more you’ll get out the bottom. 66% success rate sounds high, but I have no data…one would have to try it and see. If anyone is interested, I’d love to interview you after you’ve made the calls and gathered the data!

    • Tommy says:

      66% does sound high but that is a great outside the box type method!

  38. James Banks says:

    Thanks mate, fantastic article by the way I’ll pass it on.

  39. Excellent, well written article! Thanks Michael!

  40. BullS says:

    The Justice Department needs to investigate this BS domain catching scheme as it only profits certain companies.

    It is like houses go to the auction blocks and certain companies get to bid first and the shiddy ones goes to the public.

    When the domains are dropped, it should be in the OPEN and anybody and everybody HAVE THE EQUAL OPPORTUNITY to hand reg.

    Plain and simple.

  41. Stan says:

    Nice article. I’d be interested in a different article that investigated the legal grey area that is
    expired domains and auction houses and the scam that Mike Mann eluded to in his interview.

    • @Stan: I agree. That would be interesting. Jamie has provided some interesting info as well, so clearly there is more to publish on this topic.

      Thanks for posting a comment. I’m glad you found it useful.

  42. Jamie says:

    “Any domain name that reaches expired status and is not renewed by the owner will be auctioned by an auction service.”

    “Some” domain names that reach expired status, would make the above statement correct.

    Thousands of domain names that reach expired status never make it to any auction service and are released by the registry. Many at that time are captured by a dropcatching service like SnapNames but many are captured by private entities and never auctioned.

    There is no easy way to explain “all” things about expired domain names. As you stated Michael, Network Solutions domain names go to the partnered domain auction service BUT, not “all” do… NSI customers have the option to opt-out of having expired domains go to auction. If a customer picks this option, the domain name would go through the drop process and go PendingDelete around the 71st day after the expire date. When it is released from the registry, the domain name is fair game to the major dropcatching services and the private ones. This still doesn’t mean anybody would grab it, and the domain may become available to hand register.

    Warehoused domains.. well that is another story and one that can also prevent an expired domain to reach public auction. Tucows, and more warehouse domains, so again, not “all” expired domains will hit the partnered auction services.

    Autorenew status is very confusing to many, so that often throws people off watching a specific domain.

    If a domain name is “force” deleted at GoDaddy by a customer.. that domain name will also skip the auction and go PendingDelete etc. also sends some expired domains to NameJet.. but they also warehouse domains.

    I could go on and on with different situations but expired domain names are very confusing and if somebody wants a specific one… I’d suggest contacting a domain professional to get the correct answers and best advice for a specific domain.

    • @Jamie: Great feedback. I appreciate you taking the time to go into the details of this article, because it’s the details that make it useful. So, thank you.

      Regarding my statement above, “Any domain name that reaches expired status and is not renewed by the owner will be auctioned by an auction service.”–it did overstretch. I’ve modified it to be: “A domain name that reaches expired status and is not renewed by the owner will be listed at an auction service (see FAQ for exception to this rule).” Then I added a FAQ to clarify. Please check my thinking:

      1. Some domain names don’t go to auction and are instead held by the registrar in their own portfolios (you called this “warehousing” by the registrar). This is probably less than 0.001% of the domain names….actually, probably even less. I suspect it would only be premium domain names with massive exact match local search quantities. Not surprisingly, I cannot find any information from registrars about their procedure, quantities of domains their keep, or ICANN’s rules (if any) about this.

      2. Some domains are listed on the auction sites, but then never go to auction. This may be because of #1 above, or relationships the registrar has with big-time domainers, or the previous registrant finally realizing the domain name expired, or … who knows? It could be a lot of reasons, none of which are documented.

      3. If a registrar doesn’t have an auction partner, expiring domain names simply drop.

      Other notes:

      * “Thousands of domain names that reach expired status never make it to any auction service and are released by the registry.” I think this is only if the registrar a) has an auction partner and b) nobody places a bid at the auction house. In that case, it drops normally and is deleted from the registry and available for anyone to hand register — including backorder services like or I’m not sure why a registrar wouldn’t list an expiring domain name at the auction house as it could lead to extra revenue for them. Can you, Jamie?

      * I would think that the auto-renew of domain names happens well before any domain name is listed at an auction house. That’s just my “common sense” thinking, which clearly may not be reality. :)

      * Great point you made: “If a domain name is ‘force’ deleted at GoDaddy by a customer.. that domain name will also skip the auction and go PendingDelete etc.”

      * You stated, “ also sends some expired domains to NameJet.. but they also warehouse domains.” I’ll look into this and clarify the article further when I hear back from

      Thanks again for all your input, Jamie.

      At the end of the day, this article is geared to startups, business entrepreneurs, webmasters and marketing professionals who need to understand the process, and I guestimate that the process listed in the article above accounts for 99%+ of all expired domain names. All of your points are valid and appreciated, but if someone is interested in buying a good, brandable domain name for their business, they should follow the instructions above to have the best chance of grabbing it.

      • Jamie says:

        1. “Some domain names don’t go to auction and are instead held by the registry in their own portfolios”

        Registrar, not registry.

        Warehousing: I have no clue to a percentage of warehoused domains but I know it happens. Tucows even admitted it on my blog “I know you don’t like that we’re allowed to select expiring names for the Tucows Portfolio rather than letting them all go to auction or drop but that seems to be something we have to agree to disagree about.” ~ Ken Schafer (1st comment)

        2. Many that are listed and never make it to auction, is because the domain name is likely renewed by the past owner. I think in some cases, the domain may be warehoused or renewed and sold by the past owner.

        Why a registrar would release a domain before sending it to auction… To make the registrar look good! :) It is a rare case when that happens. At NSI, a customer has to request that the domain is not auctioned. Not an easy, one click type situation, so not many do it.

        At GoDaddy, the domain would need to be force deleted, so again.. not a one click process but it happens daily.

  43. Ron Bar says:

    Great Article.It will help many people get into the domain game.

  44. Stan says:

    Nice article. I’d be interested in a different article that investigated the legal grey area that is expired domains and auction houses and the scam that Mike Mann eluded to in his interview.

  45. BullS says:

    Good strategy but not good enough. I have my own trick but not telling…sorry.

    “You can show them the gold but don’t show them the goldmines”

  46. Teresa J. says:

    Loving this article. I’ve been looking for a reference for the partnerships and have been in need of such an article for years. Thanks for writing this. I’m bookmarking it now.

  47. Brad Pineau says:

    Amazingly thorough. Well done.

    • Thanks, Brad. I appreciate your feedback.

      If you have any other registrars that you want me to add, please don’t hesitate to let me know. I’d like this to be a living document on the web for those of us who are tracking domains that we may want to use for a business.

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