If you’re dying to use a domain name someone else already has, you might be able to place a bid on it. The act of bidding for a domain name in a virtual auction is called a domain backorder.
While the term “auction” might conjure images of chaos and frenzied spending, the actual process of bidding on a domain name can be simple and not so costly.
Let’s cover some basics.
Domain Life Cycle
Domain names are borrowed rather than owned. That means the purchase of a domain name comes with an expiration date, and the domain can thus change hands repeatedly.
If you search for a domain name on a registry and it’s available, you can pay to use it for anywhere from 1-10 years. This registration period marks the first phase in the domain life cycle.
After a domain is registered, it stays on the registrar for 60 days before giving you the option of transferring it to another registrar.
The next phase begins after expiration. Once a domain registration period ends, there is a 24-hour window during which it will become deactivated. In those 24 hours, you can choose to renew the registration for the domain at the same price you previously paid. Depending on the registrar used, expiration can last up to 45 days.
At the end of the expiration period, the domain enters a grace or redemption period. During this grace period (typically 30 days), the information attached to the domain name will be deleted by the registrar.
This makes recovering the domain name excruciatingly expensive for the person attempting to retrieve it. However, it also makes snatching the domain name during this period fabulously cheap for anyone else.
But wait. You can do better. By waiting until the last few days that a domain is scheduled for deletion (the registrar will provide this information during your search), you can snag up the domain name you want for even less. This last phase in the domain life cycle is called the pending deletion period, and it lasts five days.
After the Domain Life Cycle
It’s important to know that you won’t pay unless your backorder is successful and you outbid others in the auction for a deleted domain. Once you secure your dream domain name, you will pay a registration fee, which varies by site.
The lesson to be learned here is to wait until the right time in the domain life cycle to place your bid. You should increase your chances by trying multiple sites at once because you won’t pay until you successfully acquire a domain. Moreover, searching across different sites simultaneously ensures you stay in the loop for domain names about to drop.
How to Register
You don’t have to stress about keeping tabs on more than one registrar on your own when you’re looking to drop-catch or search for cheap backorder domain names. Though you theoretically could, it would be nearly impossible for you to track everything yourself.
There are plenty of domain backorder free services to choose from, and they do the monitoring work for you.
The process to backorder domain free of charge generally looks the same across backorder service providers.
First, you search for a domain name. Second, you choose the option to backorder. Next, you wait. The backorder service will tell you when you can snag up a domain and then pay for it.
When the domain you want becomes available, the service will register for you (given that you outbid others).
Free Domain Backorder Providers
Here are a few of the top sites through which you can backorder for free or pretty close to it.
Pool not only allows you to backorder multiple domains for free and monitor them closely, but the site also offers a low registration fee of $60 per year. If you are competing against others, the auction period on Pool can last from 3-5 days.
DropCatch offers free domain backordering. Similar to Pool, this site also charges a one-time fee for registration only when you’re successful. The DropCatch fee is $59. If there are multiple backorders on the domain you want, the auction period here is three days.
One of the best-known names in the backorder business is GoDaddy. A GoDaddy domain backorder is a very low price of $24.98, which includes registration and other fees.
GoDaddy is especially convenient if you’re looking to buy more than once. By joining GoDaddy’s Discount Domain Club, you can pay a monthly fee of $19.99 to get new domains as well as a membership for the site’s auctions. This domain backorder package is hard to pass up for repeat buyers.
Dynadot requires only a $5 minimum payment balance to place a backorder request. Like with other backorder website domain options, you have the choice to bid when there is an auction. If you bid during the last five minutes, the auction is extended an additional five minutes. This process can repeat 20 times before the auction “end time” is called.
Now that you know how to place a free domain backorder, you can start registering on different sites and playing the waiting game. With any luck, you will score your dream domain faster than you can type domain backorder free.