Anyone wanting to register a domain name that has recently expired will have a few different options they can explore in order to try and get it. The first and most basic would be a hand registration. A user see’s that a domain they like has recently expired and they’d like to get. The user decides he (or she) will just wait a little while and then try to register the domain again, hoping it’s now available. At one point in time this first option may have worked for that person, but this day in age I would say this particular user will never get the domain they like. That’s because the domain industry is so lucrative and competitive now, only domain names at the bottom of the barrel are available minutes after they’ve dropped. Those wanting to register an expired domain in 2019 really need to choose one of just two paths if they really want any chance for success. Those two options are either drop catching the name themselves, or submitting a backorder request for it and hoping that company can successfully get the domain name for them. What’s the difference between them? Which one is more successful? Those are some of the questions I’ll be answering in this post!
What is Drop Catching?
When someone decides not to renew their domain name it becomes expired. Expired domains go through a particular cycle before they drop and become available for new registration again. Drop catching is the process of monitoring those names and strategically trying to register them the exact second they “drop” and become available again. Drop catching is a big business because of the value some expired domains have. If there is a domain that you like and it’s recently expired, odds are you won’t be the only one to notice and want it. That’s why drop catching is so important! If you can be the first one to grab it once it becomes available for new registration, you could either develop that domain or flip it for huge profit.
Drop Catching Software – There is software on the market that gives users the ability to try and drop catch expired domains themselves. DesktopCatcher is the most popular of what’s out there, and tends to be the most successful as well. The software works by using publicly available domain registrar APIs (like DynaDot) to automatically send continuous registration requests for your desired domain(s). You will need to use websites like ExpiredDomains.net to determine what day your desired domain will drop. But, then you just enter it into the software on that date and fire it off! It will sit there and constantly try to register the domain for you whether you’re at the PC or not. Ideally, once the name drops DesktopCatcher registers it through one of the registrars you have selected and you’ve now acquired the domain (likely within seconds of it dropping) for the standard registration fee, which is usually less than $10. This option is great for domains like new gTLDs, ccTLDs, and common extensions if the name isn’t going to be very competitive. Obviously using this type of software is going to beat the first option I mentioned above (hand registration) every single time. However, the chances of it beating a domain backorder service (such as DropCatch) are still not very likely.
Domain Backorder – Unlike using software yourself to try and register an expired domain, backorder services have their own software and setup which they can use for you. Do a quick Google search for “domain backorder service” and you will find dozens of companies which offer them. However, most won’t be anymore successful than the software I mentioned above. That’s because even these companies don’t have the arsenal needed to register lots of expired domains each day. DropCatch and NameJet are the two most successful domain backorder companies out there and probably the only ones you will ever need if wanting to register a domain that’s recently expired. The nice thing about domain backorder requests is that the company will do everything for you. They’ll monitor which date the domain drops, and they’ll do everything in their power to try and get it for you. The downside is, costs can be significantly higher. Domain backorders can start as low as $15 or so, but if multiple people request the same name then the domain will go into auction and the highest bidder will win. That means many domains that are caught via backorder will end up going for several hundreds (or thousands) of dollars more than their initial price. Still, most domains in the COM and NET extensions (especially the most premium ones) will need to be backordered because they will likely already have been backordered by someone else. Yes, demand for expired domain names really is that high!
So, what makes a domain backorder company like DropCatch so powerful? The answer to that is domain registrars. Let’s take a quick look at the dot-com extension. The extension itself (.COM) is owned by a registry, for .COM it’s VeriSign. When a registrar wants to sell .COM registrations on their website they must go to VeriSign and complete everything required by that company to become an accredited registrar. Sites we normally use to register domains (like DynaDot, GoDaddy, NameSilo..etc) have all done this process. Upon joining VeriSign that registrar is then given certain terms they must agree to, limits they must stay within..etc. The way DropCatch and NameJet have created so much power is by setting up thousands of registrars with VeriSign, and then keeping them private to use up all possible limits themselves. Software like DesktopCatcher uses DynaDot and several other publicly available registrars. These companies are slower (even with their API) because they are just one registrar and must stay within the VeriSign limits while keeping access available to customers and other visitors. DropCatch will setup 1000 registrars and not create websites around them, which means they do not have to worry about customers at those registrars. They can then sit back and do nothing with those registrars other than use up their limits for nothing but drop catching.