Most of us have all registered (or at least tried to register) a domain or two or 500. More than 400,000 domains are registered every single day which explains why most of the good ones are taken. More often then not, trying to register a domain name is a daunting task. A good domain is an important aspect of the branding process and many of us struggle finding a domain that fits our business and is easy for our customers to remember. Rather than trying to come up with a new domain name, consider looking into dropped domains.
Dropped domains– When an owner fails to renew a domain before its expiration date, it goes through several phases before it gets released to ICANN and is available to be registered by other users. Once the domain passes its expiration date, the domain goes through a couple month process which I’ll explain below. Dropped domains are a great way to get a domain that might have some age, backlinks, pagerank, popular keywords or aesthetic value, which are all important for SEO.
The domain expiration process
If the owner of a domain chooses not to renew a domain beyond its expiration date, it has to go through a few steps before someone else can register it:
- Domain goes into “expired” status. Once the domain has entered this status, the owner has 40 days to renew it (without penalty) before it becomes available.
- If 40 days have passed and the owner still hasn’t made an attempt to renew the domain, it goes into a “redemption period“. Once a domain enters the “redemption period”, a fee is now charged to renew the domain. Not just a typical $10 registration fee, it’s more along the lines of $100 or so depending on the registrar. During this phase, all of the who is information associated with the domain will be deleted.
- If the registered owner still hasn’t registered the domain, it will go into “locked” status and will remain there for a period of 5 days. Once this 5 days is up, the domain will officially drop between 11am and 2pm PST from the ICAAN Database and will be available to register.
Once the domain expires…
It’s not necessarily as easy as just going to GoDaddy or Network Solutions and registering the domain. There are three major services out there that have servers that will pound the database to grab highly sought after dropping domains. There is almost no chance that someone will be able to grab a domain before they can due to the power of their servers. Those three services are:
Warning- It’s not all smooth sailing when picking up expired domains. Look out for a few things including the potential that a domain could have been banned by Google for spam or black hat activity. Also, use a popular tool such as www.linkpopularity.com to verify that there are no bad links coming back to the domain. The last thing you want is a domain that has 500 adult links pointing to it. Good luck finding those treasured domains!