I Want a Particular Domain
August 19, 2009 9:28 AM   Subscribe

What is the best way to go about getting an expired domain?

I set a calendar event to notify me of the date a domain whois said would expire, and when I checked back the owner had (not yet) decided to renew. I tried to grab it, but was told it wasn't available, so I did the research and found out he has "about a month" to change his mind, and then for "about a month" he can still redeem the domain for a higher fee. I did find out that in 75 days it is free to grab. There was some info about "drop" registrations, whereby newly available domains are purchasable for a few hours a day, etc. This is just a long intro to explain I have looked into the process. What I want to know is what way to go about this where I will pay the least amount of money and stand the highest chance of getting it? Any pitfalls I should be aware of?

If he's not going to use it, I would like to take control.

Should I contact him and ask him to renew and transfer it to me? I'd be willing to pay a nominal fee here. Or should I wait and risk someone beating me to the punch during one of the drop periods or when it is totally up for grabs?

My fear is that if I express interest he'll ask more than I am willing to pay, but if I don't I'll be beat out by someone faster. Also, if I could get it transfered I wouldn't have to wait the 2.5 months.

So what's the best way of doing this? It's registered through godaddy (if this matters), and he wasn't using it for any significant web facing services (one short hosted video and lots of google ads). The content never changed for the 6 months I checked in on the site. It's been expired for four days now.

What's your best advice?
posted by cjorgensen to Computers & Internet (9 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: I never realized there's a month of safety given, this might be a GoDaddy-specific feature (domain security, for a cost).

The situation is wholly unknown. Maybe he is squatting on the domain, waiting for someone to offer money for it. Maybe he has/had a project in mind, and hasn't worked out the details to get something to host. I think the safest thing, for you, would be to wait for the domain to fully expire. It might be a bit of a dick move to the other guy, but being a nice guy might backfire for you.
posted by filthy light thief at 9:53 AM on August 19, 2009

I would contact the current owner of the domain. Express interest in transferring it to you.

Explain that you would be happy to pay the renewal and any transfer fees associated with it. Do not say you will pay him extra. Let him bring it up.

At worst he can say no. If he asks for extra money (for what?), determine if it's a price you can pay.

How bad do you want the domain?
posted by royalsong at 9:53 AM on August 19, 2009


A few years old but the upshot is that there are three companies that are setup to automatically grab an expired domain before you have a chance. Each one charges a non-trivial amount of money and there is no way to predict which one will actually end up with it.

It is possible that some of the companies and their pricing might have changed but doubt that it is significantly.
posted by prak at 9:54 AM on August 19, 2009

I believe that a recent change in the policy for five-day domain name grace period has obviated the business model referred to in the article linked by prak.
posted by exogenous at 10:36 AM on August 19, 2009

Best answer: Previously & Godaddy issues being on godaddy, your best option is probably to contact the current owner.
posted by Lanark at 10:40 AM on August 19, 2009 [1 favorite]

My fear is that if I express interest he'll ask more than I am willing to pay, but if I don't I'll be beat out by someone faster.

If the domain expires it will likely be set up for auction. If it is a decent name expect to pay big bucks then. I would approach the owner and start to offer him 50% of what I would be willing to pay. Well possible that he will get greedy, renews the domain and requests an insane amount and just keeps sitting on it.
posted by yoyo_nyc at 11:26 AM on August 19, 2009

This is going to be more anecdotal than anything else, but do not use GoDaddy. I did a domain backorder with them over the last few months and the domain I wanted is now a link-farm...
posted by cgomez at 2:05 PM on August 19, 2009

Response by poster: It's not what I would consider a decent name. It's three words and is long. It would be for a stupid stunt site. A joke to amuse myself and some few others. I decided to contact the person. I didn't offer money, since honestly, the joke isn't worth more than $100 to me including all renewal and transfer fees. So yeah, I'd throw $50 his way for his trouble, but otherwise I guess I'll have to check back in about 71 days.

I'll have to see if he renews it now.
posted by cjorgensen at 2:15 PM on August 19, 2009

Response by poster: Yay! I got it. There was never a response from the original holder. Today is day 75 or 76 since it expired. I am now the proud owner of socialmediamonkey.com!

posted by cjorgensen at 10:21 AM on November 4, 2009

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