I often see forum posts from people bragging about new domains they’ve managed to register or drop catch after expiration. Why would anyone let their valuable domain expire? others would write. It’s a great question, and there are actually several different reasons behind it. Based on my own personal experience over the last decade, I wanted to explain over a half dozen reasons for why people and businesses let these domains expire and then get picked up and resold for good profit.
WhoIs Information Not Updated – It’s not uncommon for people to change around their email address every few years. Unfortunately, not everyone remembers to go and update this information at each domain registrar they use. This forces them to unintentionally miss the renewal and expiry emails that are delivered. To take this one step further, many registrants also use incorrect addresses or phone numbers which also prevents them from getting any other notifications from the registrar before the domain goes to auction.
Death – As morbid as it sounds, lots of domains expire because the previous owner has passed away. In many cases the family doesn’t even know the domains exist, or how to access them. In other cases the family didn’t really care about them or see any value in them. Either way, this always creates new opportunities for those scanning dropping and expired auction lists.
Corporate Acquisition – Sometimes when one company is acquiring another things can get lost or forgotten about. The new company taking over might lose track of domain names owned by the company it’s buying and that causes the names to not be renewed.
Company Shuts Down – Once a company closes up shop the owners may no longer look at the domain names as a valuable asset and just let them expire. This doesn’t happen as much anymore since most people see the value of a good domain these days. However, you’d be surprised to see how many domains will be dropping over the next week which were previously fully developed and working websites!
Domain Manager Was Fired or Quit – Large companies tend to hold thousands of domains and it isn’t out of the ordinary for some to hire someone who manages them. A domain manager might be one of just a few people who have registrar login credentials and authority to make changes. If the person responsible for domain renewals leaves the company, those domain name renewals will often be overlooked and forgotten about.
Ignored Renewal Emails – We all get overloaded with marketing and/or spam emails each day. Some people don’t do a very good job of catching up with their emails and this can cause their renewal emails to be overlooked, lost or accidentally deleted.
Don’t Want to Make the Effort – It may sound a bit silly, but sometimes there are hoops to jump through for a renewal to happen and the individual or company just doesn’t want to deal with it. This is especially true if the domain name is in some sort of redemption period.
Doesn’t Need the Domain Anymore – In my experience, this happens more with companies than individuals. Some businesses let their domain names expire once they’re no longer needed and there is nobody around with any idea on how to sell it. For example, if I wanted to buy a nice one-word .COM from a massively large company that has several divisions, there is very little incentive for for an employee to try and facilitate the sale. The company no longer needs it, so it just expires.
After purchasing expired domains in the past I’ve been contacted (numerous times) from people who did forget to renew. At times it’s been because they didn’t get the notifications (outdated emails) and at other times it’s been because they forgot. Either way, you would be surprised how many times I was able to quickly complete a sale back to them. That’s another reason scanning and investing in expired domains can be so profitable. While they are probably even more reasons some domains end up not getting renewed and auctioning for big bucks, the eight above seem to be the most common I’ve come across throughout my time in the domain industry.