Tens of thousands of domain names expire every single day. That alone is pretty interesting when you consider the $ involved in simply registering a domain name. Lets say, some 85,000 domain names (which is a pretty accurate estimate) are released from the registries each day. $10 per domain on average, for 1 year registration and that is $850,000! Now consider that many of these expired domain names have been registered for years, some even for 20+ years! Also consider that some of these domain names were sold in the aftermarket before, with some selling for hundreds, some thousands and even some for tens of thousands and yes, some even more!
Expired domain names are interesting! So how and why do domain names expire?
Domain names require an annual renewal fee and if not paid in a timely manner, they reach several phases of expired status. Some domain names are auctioned at a registrar like GoDaddy for an example and some reach PendingDelete status and are released from the registry.
I think most domain investors see a domain name in an expired list and simply see it as that. An expired domain! Most do not look at the domain name any further. What was it used for prior? Who owned it? Why did it expire anyway?
I do a lot of research and general “further looking” and sometimes the history of an expired domain name is pretty interesting.
So what are some common reasons a domain name expires?
- The past owner didn’t need it any more and may not have considered it to be an asset or something they could “sell”.
- Bounced email notification of the domain expiring
- Expired email address associated with the domain / account
- Expired credit card on file for an “auto renew” feature
- Lost in the mix
The last one is often a reason some very valuable domain names expire!
Let me use an interesting and some what valuable domain name today for a real life example. I would claim this expired domain as “lost in the mix”.
Unsubscribe.com which is currently on expired domain name auction at GoDaddy. The current high bid is $5,585 with 8 days remaining in the auction. View auction here.
Unsubscribe.com was owned by a company called Unsubscribe Inc, which offered a social monitoring service. The registrant details (the email address associated with the domain is important) was listed with an email of support@UnsubscribeInc.com .
Unsubscribe Inc. was acquired by a company called TrustedID in November of 2011. TrustedID took ownership of the domain name which has been registered since 1998 according to whois records. At the time of TrustedID taking ownership, the renewal was paid until January 2, 2016. In July 2013, TrustedID was acquired by Equifax. Nothing changed in whois records for the domain.
UnsubscribeInc.com is a bit more unclear of ownership due to whois privacy being on the domain name since it was registered back in May, 2010. When the domain was registered, renewal fees were paid out for 5 years, marking expire date of May, 27, 2015! This domain name was NOT renewed at or near the expire date. It was auctioned on GoDaddy.com with no bidding interest. The domain name then followed the PendingDelete process and was released from the registry and available for anybody to register.
The email address associated to Unsubscribe.com was listed with the UnsubscribeInc.com domain, which expired and would be non-functional as of May, 27, 2015! No renewal notifications would arrive for Unsubscribe.com and both domain names useed different email addresses than the “other” TrustedID owned domains. In the end, the domain names were Lost in the mix of one company buying another and expired! Clearly Equifax may have felt they didn’t need them, but I would error on the side that they likely never knew they even owned them!
Potential Crime in the works?
To note, UnsubscribeInc.com was registered TODAY (1/29/2016) and since Unsubscribe.com is “valuable”, recently brought to the attention that it expired and bidding has passed $5.5K with over 8 days let in auction… it appears to have caught the attention of somebody who is using privacy at NameSilo and the DomainManager.com service with potential bad intent.
Since Unsubscribe.com is associated with the UnsubscribeInc.com email address… somebody can register that domain name now that it’s available, set up the firstname.lastname@example.org email address, rest the password for the Unsubscribe.com GoDaddy account and potentially renew the domain name! Basically stealing it for the registration cost of the email domain and the $85 late renewal fee on Unsubscribe.com! There would be a few hoops to jump through, but since this person has access to the email@example.com email… it will make renewing the domain much easier!