Get Back Your Expired Domain Someone Swooped in and Stole
Something went wrong and you accidentally let your domain expire, and you forgot to renew it within the grace period.
Lo and behold, someone swooped in and purchased your domain right after it expired. Your precious domain, that probably represents your brand, is used in marketing, emails and much more, is now owned by some random guy in China! Take a deep breath, as this is a very common issue and has happened to a lot of people on the internet, and some people have been lucky enough to get their domain back... all it takes is a little work!
The reason your domain got purchased immediately after it expired was not personal, the purchaser was not specifically targeting your domain. There are companies out there that are constantly monitoring expiring domains in order to grab up domains as soon as they come available in chance that they get a good domain that already has traffic coming to it that they can monetize in the future. They might put an advertisement landing page there, or funnel the traffic to another site, either way, they are using your hard work to generate traffic to your site to their advantage and making money off of the traffic that was intended to be yours!
Grabbing An Expired Domain Within the Grace Period
Now here's the kicker... there is a 75 day grace period after a domain expires that makes the domain available to the general public. During this time the "domain grabber" uses this to evaluate your domain to test for profitability. Generally, if they don't see your domain being valuable enough to actually purchase, they then drop the domain, and re-make it available to the public! If they do so, you want to be the first to grab the domain so this process doesn't happen again!
Steps to Get Your Domain Back
- Immediately stop trying to visit your URL on the web! The more visits to your domain during the testing phase, the better it looks to the "domain grabber"
- DO NOT perform WHOis searches over and over on your domain. Perform one initially, then copy down the information. This can be detected and act as an indicates to the "domain grabber" as if the domain is profitable to them, as they know they could sell it in the future to the original owner
- Immediately put your domain on backorder using a domain backorder service!
- There are many backorder services that will try and snatch your domain as soon as it becomes available to the public. These are very similar services as what the "domain grabber" used to steal your domain after it expired in the first place. These services use a network of servers to ping the Verisign servers frequently to test if your domain is available or not, if and when it becomes available they will buy it right away. However, you must agree to pay for the domain name up front and an associated fee for the service, this is usually higher than the traditional registration fee.
Recommended Expired Domain Backorder Services
- Pool.com - This is my personal recommended site, as I have used them before on this exact same issue with GREAT success! The fee for using this service is $60, and this includes 1 year of registration. They will only charge you if they are successful in getting your expired domain, which makes it a win win for you!
- SnapNames.com - Very similar to Pool.com, I have heard nothing but good things about this backorder service. Their minimum bid to get back your domain is $69.
- Within 90 days you may notice that you got your domain back, if so, congratulations, you dodged a big bullet! After 90 days, unfortunately, you may be in for a long and expensive journey in order to get your domain back.
- There is still hope on the backorder system, as come next year around the same time it expired originally, the "domain grabber" might have felt the domain ran it's course if it's not worth renewing for another year, in that case they will let it expire. That being said, keep your domain in your backorder service for multiple years, just in case!
- The next step would be to manually reach out to the purchaser in hopes you can buy the domain back. This is a hope of the "domain grabber" as generally they will try and charge you an arm and a leg for the domain. To get their information, perform a WhoIS search to try and get their contact details. Click here to perform a WHOis search on your domain.
- Repeat step 6, if you have legal precedence for the domain, try using that in your contacts. Unfortunately, a lot of these "domain grabbers" don't care and won't budge!
- Good luck in getting your domain back, if you have any questions, please comment on this blog post.
What if multiple people are trying to get my expired domain after it becomes available?
If multiple people have backordered your domain, you will go into a 3 day bidding war (if you have used one of the above services to backorder your domain) This will give equal opportunity to all interested parties to grab the domain. At the end of three days if you are the highest bidder, you will be awarded the domain! This is unlikely to happen unless your domain is very powerful and generates large amounts of traffic (in which case, why'd you let it expire!!!!).