buying back my domain
September 14, 2010 11:00 AM   Subscribe

How can I buy a domain name (which was originally mine) when it expires?

About a year ago, I lost my personal domain name when it expired and was purchased by some unknown party (long version of the story here). Short version: I lost the name when my hosting service didn't renew it, and was surprised that someone bothered to pay money for my low-traffic non-commercial domain.

I tried to contact the new owner, but never heard back from them. In the meantime I registered the ".org" version of the domain name, but I'd still like to have the .com back.

So, now it's almost a year later and the .com domain name is set to expire again and, if it is not renewed, I want to do whatever (though I'd like to spend under $100, if possible) will help me snap it up before it's purchased by another evil domain-name-buying-bot.

So, if this domain does indeed expire, what will be the best way to end up owning it again before someone else does? I'm interested in services, strategies, etc.

Whois tells me that the domain's current registrar is and that its current status is "client transfer prohibited."

Many thanks for any assistance.
posted by doubtless to Computers & Internet (10 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
That article is out of date. I wish people would stop linking to it.

eNom has a stake in NameJet now and all of their expiring domains go there. Order it on pre-release and if it does expire it'll go there before any other provider is eligible to get it in the drop (after it expires and goes through redemption). This, of course, assumes that it does, indeed expire.

It also assumes that it's not kept by eNom (which also assumes eNom isn't already the owner, which is may well be)- which is a very real possibility.

That is the singular best way to obtain this domain name with minimal risk of any other party getting it. HOWEVER, please note that NameJet publishes a "hot" list of domains which have backorders on them. So if you order your domain before the last possible minute you risk the possibility of it being publicized and another domain buyer noticing it.

Finally, as I said in your last post - it's no longer about tasting and there is still a good chance that the person who bought the domain name did so for resale purposes and if that's the case you'll be unlikely to see this expire.

If you'd like to discuss in further detail, memail me.
posted by FlamingBore at 11:31 AM on September 14, 2010

I was in the exact same situation about a year ago. I made an offer to buy it, but it was turned down. I was contacted a few months later when the domain came up for auction due to expiration at NameJet. I made the same offer -- was the only bidder -- and won. I think I had to wait another 60 days to transfer the domain.
posted by whiskeyspider at 11:57 AM on September 14, 2010

I should add that my bid was $100 or less, I don't remember exactly.
posted by whiskeyspider at 11:58 AM on September 14, 2010

I actually successfully used GoDaddy's domain snatcher for an expiring GoDaddy domain and was successful for only the minimum $10-20 above renewal price they required. After a few months I moved away from that festering suckhole of a registrar to my preferred registrar, Dyndns.

Looks like your squatter used eNom (or is the registrar themselves), so I wouldn't use the GoDaddy snatcher. eNom points at NameJet as a domain snatcher and unless there's other information to be had I'd assume they'd be the way to go if you're willing to pay the blackmail, though I'd wait till the dead last second before sinking any money into it.

When I used the GoDaddy one I had to put in a non-refundable earnest money. If I didn't get the item I could apply most or all of it (I forget) to another effort but there wasn't something else I wanted. Assuming that this NameJet sleaze operates similarly I'd wait till the dead last second to set up my offer. I honestly don't trust any of these bottom-feeders not to do what I'd have called "shill-bidding" back when I used to go to S&L auctions.

I think if I were you I'd just wait through the renewal time (which is actually past the listed expiration time - do some up-to-date reading on what the various delays are) before paying their blackmail. You've waited this long, what's another month or two? I'd avoid doing too many whois checks on the domain too, but I am paranoid++ and don't put it past the sleazy registrars to watch how many folks check a site to determine whether or not to renew/shill bid.
posted by phearlez at 12:00 PM on September 14, 2010

This happened to me a couple years ago.

1. Thought domain was on auto-renew. It wasn't. Domain expired.

2. Spammer company bought domain as soon as it expired. Registered it for a year.

3. Tried to buy domain from them. No dice.

4. When domain expired the following year, I just bought it on GoDaddy like nothing happened. I think after a big spam company has a domain for a year and they let it go, it isn't as likely to get bought up as quickly.

5. Maybe I just got lucky but this worked for me.
posted by somacore at 12:18 PM on September 14, 2010

I was in a similar situation a few months ago.

I own the .net, .org., and .info versions of some domain. (I never owned the .com, but I believe it was owned by a legitimate entity.) Just before the .com was to expire, some spammers sent an email to me letting me know how to buy the domain. Obviously, I didn't do that. Instead, on the day it expired, I bought it like any other domain through my registrar.
posted by aloysius on the mixing boards at 4:20 PM on September 14, 2010

Response by poster: Thanks everyone for the answers so far. I wish however, that after reading them I had a clearer sense of what to do. It seems like there are three options:

1) Pay Namejet to snag the domain as soon as it becomes available.

2) Just wait for the domain to expire and buy it like any other domain, without paying extra to try to buy it before others.

3) Use some other service (Not enom/Namejet) to buy the domain quickly as soon as it expires.

I guess I'm leaning towards options 2 and 3 now, since I suppose that Namejet/enom is likely to favor either itself or the large-scale domain squatter who has my domain. Moreover, the fact that I'm placing an order with enom may alert enom or its customer to the fact that I want this domain back, prompting them to renew a domain that they might otherwise have allowed to expire.

So, I suppose that I'll either just wait for the domain to expire and buy it manually, or place an order on it with some domain-name purchasing service other than Namejet.

However, I'm still not sure about this strategy and would welcome additional insight.
posted by doubtless at 5:40 PM on September 14, 2010

I got my domain I lost in a credit card fiasco years ago back this year using GoDaddy Auctions. Only cost US$ 10.
posted by ob1quixote at 8:48 PM on September 14, 2010

> eNom points at NameJet as a domain snatcher

How do you know who the domain snatcher is?

If I can piggyback on the question: I'm also trying to get a squatted domain that's going to expire soon. It's registered with Omnis, and I can't figure out which snatcher is best for grabbing it.
posted by The corpse in the library at 8:45 AM on September 15, 2010

Snapnames does URL backordering. it's $60 or so, but it puts a computer system in charge of monitoring and buying if your URL becomes available.

It's worked for me.
posted by markovitch at 9:04 AM on September 15, 2010

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