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Buy offers being made directly to (former-ish) owner during lapsed domain's "recovery period". Scam, or windfall?
August 15, 2011 11:10 PM   Subscribe

Buy offers being made directly to (former-ish) owner during lapsed domain's "recovery period". Scam, or windfall?

A while back I chose to let a domain's registration lapse. GoDaddy, its registrar, apparently put it up for auction soon thereafter.

Google turns up evidence that it generated a bunch of bid activity, and that the auction was scheduled to close weeks ago. The domain is no longer in GoDaddy's auction database. I have no idea what the closing price is, or if there even was one.

WHOIS says its mine for the moment. GoDaddy's control panel confirms it's expired and I can still recover it. The placeholder page says it's expired and "pending renewal or deletion".

Meanwhile I've gotten direct offers via email. The domain is still in the (expensive) recovery period. The offerers are savvy to that. They're also savvy enough to have reached me via contact info not in WHOIS.

a) Scam?

b) Why would it have been auctioned long before ending the recovery period?
posted by nakedcodemonkey to Computers & Internet (3 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
Per ICANN, the registrar for a domain name must delete a domain within 45 days of either the registrar or the registrant terminating the registration agreement (typically because the registrant fails to renew the domain). Note that the registrar's agreement with ICANN permits a registry a great deal of flexibility as to how they handle domain expiration, so long as the domain gets deleted with 45 days. GoDaddy has a domain expiration timeline that explains when and what they do following a domain's expiration.

Once GoDaddy returns a domain to a registry it is free to be acquired by anyone else (including a number of companies that compete to purchase recently deleted domains which look like they might have value and then turn around and auction these domains to interested parties). In this case GoDaddy auctions the domain during the deletion grace period as way to capture additional revenue from the domain, rather than allowing this revenue to go to other companies. Presumably if you choose to exercise your right to redeem the domain before day 43 of GoDaddy's timeline, GoDadddy informs the winner of the auction that despite their winning bid, the domain is not available.

So while I don't know if those contacting you might be attempting to scam you, I can imagine at least one "legitimate" reason you (as a GoDaddy registrant who has allowed a domain registration to lapse) might get contacted during the domain expiration grace period. I suspect if the bidding for your domain was fierce and the winning bid was significantly larger than your cost to recover the domain (i.e. $80.00) a losing bidder might contact you and offer to pay you $80.00+$X (but presumably less than the winning bid $W) in return for you exercising to right to recover the domain and then transferring the domain to them (thereby cutting out the winning bidder). One reason they might do this is so that they can offer to sell the domain to the winning bidder (who has already demonstrated a willingness to pay $W) and pocket the difference ($W - $X - $80.00).
posted by RichardP at 12:14 AM on August 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


It's certainly possible that one of more of the people contacting you may wish to scam you, but thus far this is not a scam. It's a pretty common occurrence.

RichardP is pretty much on spot. These folks are likely the losing bidders in the auction and are hoping they can convince you to "redeem" the domain name and sell it to them directly, thereby circumventing the Godaddy auction results and snagging what they perceive to be a valuable domain name for less than the market price.

I work in this field. If you would like more targeted advice feel free to contact me via email or memail.
posted by FlamingBore at 7:13 AM on August 16, 2011


@FlamingBore, offer much appreciated
posted by nakedcodemonkey at 11:50 AM on August 16, 2011


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