The expired domain name process is pretty interesting. The basics of the process are pretty simple: You own a domain name and without paying the renewal after owning it for a year (or however long you paid registration), the domain name expires. The process after it expires is where it gets hairy scary!
Since every domain name registrar is different, the TOS is likely the best place to read what will happen to your domain name. If you do read the TOS, you will like get scared by what you read.
I have seen a massive range of things that happen to domain names that expire.
I have seen domain names expire one day, and the very next day be Pending Delete and dropping for the registry. Since most domains stay in the PendingDelete status for 6 days, this one and done is interesting to me.
The majority of domain names follow the drop cycle in place by ICANN but those domain names follow a very interesting and most of the time different process on the way to reaching the PendingDelete status, if they even reach that!
Domain name registrars like Register.com and Tucows often take their pick of what domain names they wish to keep that hit expired status. They do give the past owner a chance to renew, but do not give others the chance at owning the domain name through an auction process like the Majority of domain name that hit expired status. This cherry picking will very likely include the Best of the Best expired domains.
The vast majority of expired domain names get “auctioned” in some way. NameJet.com uses what they call a Pre-Release section for expired domain names that are registered with “partner” registrars like eNom, Network Solutions and the crap domains Tucows decides not to keep for “their” portfolio!
NameJet also offers “PendingDelete” status domain names, which can technically be “grabbed” by just about anybody during the “drop”.
Then you have other services like SnapNames, Pool, Godaddy and many other domain name registrars that do a wide range with expired domain names.
So what do I think about expired domain names and the massive wide range of things done with them?
In no way should any domain name registrar have the right to do what they wish with the domain name. This includes “keeping it” without allowing anybody else the chance to become the owner. This is just not right and NEEDS to be STOPPED!
Any and All expired domain names that the past owner has not renewed should enter a public auction. I am all for “exclusive” auctions since domain name are unique are fine, but these auction services need to be monitored as well.
Since bidding members are very private and little data is public, who says this “person” bidding against you isn’t the domain registrar or auction house it self. Since when you win an auction, you pay the auction service…. if the auction service is bidding against you, you pay Real money if you win, they are playing with the house money that is not really cash!
The bottom line, the expired domain name process needs a lot of work, because it’s shady as hell!
Now let’s say you bid on a PendingDelete domain name and your order was the only one placed. The domain auction service captures the domain name… in the TOS, it states if you are the only one to place an order and they obtain the domain name, you pay the fee you placed your bid at and you become the owner of the domain.
Now what happens if the auction service / partner registrar uses your “order” as a beacon of a “good domain” and captures the domain but doesn’t inform you via your account that they captured the domain name?
Since only one bid was placed and many members bid on A Lot of domain names every day / week, and auction services do not capture every domain an order was placed for… would this go “missed” by the one person placing the backorder bid?
I am not saying this happens, but this thread at NamePros might open your eyes a little to something many people may not of even thought would or could happen.
I understand that mistakes happen but the auction process and capturing expired domain names happens Daily… so mistakes should not happen like this.
Without the pressure from the member who placed the lone backorder for the domain name, the domain name would of never made it to the person who it should IMO, although the partnered registrar did capture the domain name!
Since the domain name Whois system, which I call “Who Do You Want To Be” needs work as well, it is very easy to hide who the owner of the domain name really is and the registrar could simply use “privacy”!
So are domain name registrars partnered with auction services keeping domain names members placed orders for, for themself? It is possible…. and the potential is there for sure.