Tracing Why A Domain Name Expires Can Be Interesting

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”. 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. 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 [email protected] .

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. 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 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 was listed with the domain, which expired and would be non-functional as of May, 27, 2015! No renewal notifications would arrive for 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, was registered TODAY (1/29/2016) and since 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 service with potential bad intent.

Since is associated with the email address… somebody can register that domain name now that it’s available, set up the [email protected] email address, rest the password for the 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! There would be a few hoops to jump through, but since this person has access to the [email protected] email… it will make renewing the domain much easier!

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10 thoughts on “Tracing Why A Domain Name Expires Can Be Interesting

    1. I didn’t teach anybody how to “scam”. I simply figured out what the person is potentially doing and pointed out what may be happening! I sent two emails to GoDaddy and spoke with somebody on the phone! Sometimes these things need to be brought to light, so they get fixed!!!

      1. I agree with you Jamie! Good point and awesome research. I am pretty new in this industry so it was great to have your opinion in mind in regards of domain investing and keeping records. Cheers Mate!

  1. Jamie, you do fantastic research. I would bet whoever registered today will not be able to renew You mention a few hoops have to be jumped but those hoops are more like mountains. A person might be able to get the password to the account but not both the password and username. Again, great investigative work.

  2. I would think that it would be difficult to snag the name, but these scammers are clever and probably already know how to snag expiring names in this manner.

    I think your post simply acts as a cautionary tale about keeping emails up-to-date, especially domain-based ones.

    Good job!

  3. I believe the main reason for expiring domains is that many investors are attracted to this industry with the view that domain investing is an easy way to make money. The reality is that end user demand is relatively anemic as industry portfolio turnover is typically around 1% (before the launch of new TLDs). Anyone want to speculate what the portfolio turnover of aftermarket (not registry held) new TLDs was in 2015? Ten million registrations vs how many DNJ reported sales that were not registry sales….

  4. Seeing the quality of service I have experienced at registrars is lacking, I think someone should screw them over every once in a while just so they know what it’s like. Come to think of it resellers / investors in domains many times suck as well. I get offers on some of my names far below market value at common auction prices. Someone offered a whole I can’t go over $150 just last week for the domain name of the largest radio station in it’s market. Gee thanks a lot. I’ll do that one scumbag. And a 3 letter word domain I own I received a whole $500 offer for last year. Wow, that’s a great deal for you freakshow seeing the huge volume of search on it. I think the worst was for a domain I have been offered $30-40K on 7-8 times and some investor offered a whole $400 for it. Wow, how generous of you loser squared.

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