Ultimate Guide to Drop-Catching Domains
So you've explored your sources and found the perfect SEO-rich dropped domains for your new sites — congratulations!
Now, you need to secure the domain name and make it your own.
You could try simple hand registration, but with more and more people building websites these days, you'll likely face fierce competition vying for your preferred domain name.
Fortunately, services exist that can help you snag desirable domain names the second they expire and before your competitors even know what hit them.
We call these companies "drop-catchers."
In this post, we'll explain the "drop-catching" process for abandoned domains as well as share our top picks for drop-catching services.
When you reach the end of the article, you'll know how to use the tools at your disposal to secure the domain name of your dreams.
A Closer Look at the Expired Domain Names Cycle
Before we get into the nitty-gritty of drop catching, let's talk about the process that a domain goes through to get to the drop-catching stage:
1. The Domain Expires
When someone purchases a domain, they have to pay to renew the domain registration before a specified date in order to keep it.
If the owner doesn’t pay the renewal fee by the expiry date, then most registrars will give them a redemption grace period (RGP) of around 30 to 90 days after expiry to make the payment.
After giving the owner a second notice at the end of the RGP, though, the registrar must delete the domain registration, which means that the domain name expires.
2. The Domain Goes to Auction
When the RGP ends, the registrar will list the expired domain name for sale at auction.
In the case of most auctions, the domain will go to the highest bidder.
3. The Registrar Drops the Domain
Geez there are a few steps here, so when do domains drop? Well when domains finish the auction period without a bid, registrars delete those domain registrations.
At this point, drop-catching companies can help you grab a domain name before it leaves the registry.
If you don't act, then the registrar will re-release it to the general public for registration.
Why Use an Expired Domain?
You may be wondering what’s so bad about letting the domain registration drop.
You could just register it as a brand-new domain, right?
You could, but then you’d lose all of the SEO value that the existing domain would’ve brought to your site.
That SEO link juice is what makes an expired domain so valuable.
You could use this advantage to build a high-authority site, redirect traffic to affiliate websites to boost your marketing income, or resell the domain name for a profit.
What Is a Domain Drop-Catch?
A practice also known as domain-sniping, domain dropcatching helps you get the expired domain you want the second it becomes available.
In short, drop-catching involves monitoring domain names as they make their way through the expiration process and then using automated systems, trying to register them right when they drop.
These systems act quickly. Some even catch the domain within a fraction of a second after its removal from the domain registry.
In a market rife with competitors, you want to have a drop-catching tool in your arsenal so that you can grab the domain before anyone else.
The Drop-Catching Process
Domain-sniping works differently from registering new or expired domain names because it depends on instantaneous actions.
Domain-catching software uses public domain registrars’ application programming interfaces (APIs) to automatically send registration requests for the domain or domains you want.
When you acquire the domain name, the drop-catching service will register it through one of the registrars you’ve selected and then place it in your account.
Generally, the price of domain-catching doesn’t cost much more than the standard registration fee, typically less than $10. Of course, you’ll only pay if the drop-catch succeeds.
Related Option: Back Orders
Another way to secure a domain name is placing a back order, which can help you strike even earlier.
A backorder service has its own software that gives you the first opportunity to obtain the domain name before its deletion.
Unlike the practice of drop-catching, though, domains with multiple backorders will go to a private auction.
A back order works more like an “option” than a “future,” the latter of which would require you to keep the domain name if you remain the sole back-order registrant or win the auction.
For instance, some registrars will give you 30 days to purchase the renewal before returning the domain name to the market once again.
However, keep in mind that backorder prices vary greatly.
If you’re the sole bidder, you may only have to pay a price of $60 or $70 for the domain, but that price increases exponentially when you have to make counter offers in an auction.
Popular Backorder and Domain Drop-Catching Services
To drop-catch domain names, you need a dedicated dropcatch domain service. Fortunately, you have several options for drop-catchers at your disposal.
A drop-catching company dedicates its servers to securing the domain names you want.
Many of these companies use some of the same resources, but you may like one more than another.
Remember, you could place a backorder yourself, but using one of the following services will improve your success rate.
Let’s take a look at some of the best places for backorders and drop catching. At Spamzilla, we support all of the following services.
Perhaps the best-known domain drop-catching service, the DropCatch company works with a massive list of domains waiting for deletion and re-indexing: a number that's roughly 600,000 at any given time.
However, because so many people use this service, you’ll likely run into some competition for domain names.
Dynadot also runs a relatively well-known domain-name drop-catching service with a variety of useful tools to help you catch quality domains.
In addition, the service charges rather low prices for some of the best top-level domains: $14.99 for .com, .net, and .org domains.
When you acquire domains—either through back-order auction or drop catch—Dynadot automatically adds them to your account.
One of the top three domain registrars, SnapNames excels at providing users with exclusive lists of domain names organized by category, daily deals, and an impressive back-order service with a variety of alert tools.
If you express interest in a domain name, the service will let you know when it expires as well as when it drops, which makes domain monitoring a breeze.
You’ll also receive access to premium backordered domain auctions, state-of-the-art drop-catching technology, and ultimately, 30 million domains.
Another popular registrar, NameJet, lets you add multiple domains to your own domain name backorder list.
After that, the service will do all of the work for you, including daily monitoring and personalized alerts whenever there’s an update on a domain’s availability.
In addition, the service provides a wide variety of pre-released domains that you won’t find anywhere else.
Of course, we’d be remiss to omit GoDaddy from our list.
Arguably the most widely used domain registrar around, GoDaddy provides its users with backorder credits that they can apply to any domains of their choice.
Each back order costs $24.98, which includes registration costs as well as daily monitoring.
Find Dropping Domains on Spamzilla
Hopefully, this post has provided you with a good idea of sites, resources, and tools you can use to catch expired domain names before registrars drop them.
Before you can even worry about drop catching an expired domain, though, you have to find one. At Spamzilla, we add 350,000 domains to our list every day.
Sign up today to start using our domain search and analytics tools!