Can I snatch up an expiring domain at GoDaddy without losing my soul?
November 11, 2013 3:12 PM   Subscribe

There is a domain that would be nice to have, but it has been registered for a very long time. I just recently decided to check on it, and it seems to be expiring. The site now shows a GoDaddy landing page that says it expired around a month ago. So, would it be advantageous to use their auction site, since they seem to currently have some control over the domain?

The whois data for the site now shows some GoDaddy information under some of the entries (it seems to have expired around a month ago). So, I looked on their auction site and clicked my way through (without searching for it explicitly) and found that it was set to expire in a few days on their auction site. There is no "buy now" price, just a field to enter a bid (but no other bids).

I own some of the other variants, and not long after noticing the domain had an expired splash page I actually got an email from some shady online domain broker too (to which I didn't respond).

I fled GoDaddy long ago, and would normally avoid using them at all costs. It just seems there is a window of time between when an owner let's a domain expire but before it is released back into the wild when it would make sense to use them. On the other hand, it seems that the owner could list it there as a way to check for demand with nothing binding, and then just decline any low offers. This isn't the type of name that would have much appeal beyond me, so I'm just trying to determine a strategy here.
posted by This_Will_Be_Good to Computers & Internet (8 answers total)
Best answer: Days after expiration Action
Day 1 We make the first of three billing attempts to renew the domain name. If the billing fails, the domain name expires. The domain name can be renewed by the registrant at no extra cost.
Day 5 We make the second billing attempt. If the billing fails again, the domain name is parked. The domain name can still be renewed by the registrant at no extra cost.
Day 12 We make the third and final attempt to renew the domain name. The domain name can still be renewable by the registrant at no extra cost.
Day 19 The domain name can be renewed by the registrant for the cost of a one-year renewal plus an $80.00 redemption fee.
Day 26 We add the domain name to an expired domain name auction.
Day 36 The expired domain name auction ends. If there are no backorders and no bidders in the expired domain name auction, we list the domain name in a closeout auction.
Day 41 The closeout auction ends.
Day 43 We assign the domain name to the winner of the expired domain name auction, backorder, or closeout. If there are no bidders, we return the domain name to the registry.

Of course if you bid on it then there is a very good chance of attracting counter bids from domain speculators (even if you bid at the last minute/second), I think you may have a better chance of snagging the domain by just waiting for it to expire completely.
posted by Lanark at 3:29 PM on November 11, 2013 [2 favorites]

If this helps your decision making any, the chance of you grabbing it manually when it expires is essentially nil.
posted by humboldt32 at 3:30 PM on November 11, 2013

... this has been my experience. Cross-posting not intended to contradict Lanark's opinion on the matter. ;-)
posted by humboldt32 at 3:32 PM on November 11, 2013

I used godaddy's domain backorder service to buy an expired domain. It was about $20 and pretty painless. Nobody else wanted it, so I didn't have to deal with a bidding war. I'd suggest trying to get it this way & sidestep the auction aspect if possible.
posted by belladonna at 4:24 PM on November 11, 2013 [1 favorite]

Is there a large amount of demand for this domain? We were looking at a domain name that was expiring and we got a number of emails (and actual letters) from domain name services saying A: We should join in this auction and B: we should pay them to pick it up for us.

Subsequently ignoring all these emails, the domain expired, went back to the registry as per Lanark's guide, and we picked it up in the usual way quite cheaply. You would be able to do the same if nobody else decides to go into the auction process.
posted by solarion at 4:28 PM on November 11, 2013

Be aware that if you have already registered variants of this name under other domains, the price will go up because they know you have an investment in the name. We recently had to purchase the .com of our new company name and it was several grand because they knew we had already bought a variant on .com and the base name in everything BUT .com.
posted by L'Estrange Fruit at 4:56 PM on November 11, 2013

Domains are worth what someone will pay for it, and if someone thinks you can pay a lot for it, that's how it will go. There are lots of people who 'mine the drop' and make oodles of money doing it.

If it's a noteworthy domain, someone will probably try and grab it. If it's important, I might try that backorder service, but going against someone in an auction might be tricky/expensive. If it's reaaaaaaally important, and you are willing to pay, you can talk to a domain name consultant(!) like this guy.

Lastly, lots and lots of people renew their domains within the redemption period (the 45 days after expiry). The original registrant has first dibs regardless of any go daddy auction/back order business.
posted by Sleddog_Afterburn at 7:20 PM on November 11, 2013

Response by poster: I just wanted to post a quick follow-up in case anyone else stumbles upon this. So, based on Lanark's answer and that GoDaddy calendar I decided to wait until the last minute of the auction period and submit a bid. My though was that this domain was already registered and expiring within GoDaddy's ecosystem, so if I could snatch it up by playing by their rules I would have a better chance and be able to acquire it more quickly than if I had to wait for them to release it back into the wild.

First, during this whole period I didn't respond to any emails from shady domain companies. I also didn't go to the domain to drive any traffic. I also noticed that if you click on a domain on GoDaddy's auction site, it would register views. So, I would only search for my domain by searching for letters within the name (i.e., I would find it on GoDaddy by searching for "omai" withing "mydomain" using their advanced search tool). That may have been a bit paranoid, but I wanted to lay low.

So, I waited until there were 4 minutes left in the auction and submitted a bid. I read somewhere that if you wait until 3 minutes, it would auto-extend the auction. Well, apparently my bid extended it a few minutes anyway outside that window. There was a bit of confusion where it said the opening bid would be $12, but then it said I would need to bid $15 when I tried $12. I am not sure what was going on there -- and it made me think that someone else was bidding. So, there were a few tense minutes where I thought I might be up against a robot. In the end, I won the auction with my $15 bid.

But then there is a strange period after you win the auction where the domain still isn't yours -- that period of time between day 36 and day 43. The owner could still renew during that time period, so I thought it might be some sort of scam to assess whether there is interest in their domain and then try and bleed the auction winner after the owner reclaims the site. However, the days anxiously passed and right on that final day the site went blank and the domain appeared in my control.

Now, it is apparently mine but I can't transfer it away from GoDaddy for something like 60 days. But I was able to post a little Hello World splash page to convince myself that it was mine.

I have no idea if this was the best strategy, but it worked and it was cheap.
posted by This_Will_Be_Good at 12:14 PM on November 25, 2013

« Older Chess engine that would always resign   |   Does this card game still exist on some form? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.