Dropcatching an Expiring Domain at the Right Time

There are three parts to catching an expiring domain: finding a good list of expiring domains, checking when a domain you want on that list drops, and then actually back ordering a domain. The days of being able to hand register an in-demand dropping domain are long gone, so you’ll likely have to team up with a backordering service to get the domain you want.

Getting a List of Dropping Domains

As far as getting raw lists of dropping / dropped domains, there are two sites I know of

  1. justdropped.com
  2. dnmeter.com

You can also get a raw list of GoDaddy closeout domains from GoDaddy’s ftp server: ftp://auctions@ftp.godaddy.com (no password, just click ‘ok’).

Getting the WHOIS Information to Check Drop Time

To snipe a domain, you first need to find out when it drops. You’d need access to the whois central database (only accessible to registrars and their resellers) as it’s updated constantly, not once a day like public whois.
You can also install a program on a linux server called ‘whois’ or ‘jwhois’. If you’re on a centos server, you can install it like this:

yum -y install jwhois

Jwhois can give you all the important whois details like give you the creation date, expire date, nameservers, registree, etc. You can easily check hundreds of domain names a day using this tool. Beware of the limitations: for example, .org domains are limited to 4 lookups per minute.

To dropcatch an expiring domain, you’d ping whois until you get a “not found” reply.
Then you’d immediately send out a reg request to modest-sized registrar on this list: http://www.icann.org/registrar-reports/accredited-list.html. The smaller registrars will be less likely to be sniping against you. Don’t want to store your sheep with wolves, sort to speak.

Finding a Domain Backorder Services

  • NameJet and SnapNames are the two big services. Prices start at $69, which will increase as the listing goes to auction if there is more than one interested party.
  • GoDaddy has a backordering service at about $20 per backorder. GoDaddy offer better value at less than a third of the price compared to Snapnames. I’ve heard some complain that their succesful backorders then get funneled into GoDaddy’s Auction marketplace, but this didn’t happen when they caught the last domain for me. They are a notably weaker service – if someone on SnapNames / NameJet / Pool is trying to catch the same domain, they’ll beat a GoDaddy sniper a majority of the time.
  • You can also find domain dropcatchers that don’t advertise by looking at who has registered a freshly dropped domain (check approximately an hour after the drop time). The best way to gauge the droptime is to note when Dynadot quits accepting bids on the dropping domain (about 15 minutes after that, the domain will drop). But some of these outfits look shady: BackorderZone / intrust domains / Bellnames / Dropwalk / Backorderzone.com are all owned by Epik and have been accused of being scam artists, so buyer beware. (They charge $49 per backorder, fyi).
  • Dynadot itself is actually one of the cheapest registrars at which to place a backorder. It costs about $17 to get a domain, but the success rate is low when compared to NameJet / SnapNames / Pool.

Software to DropCatch Domains

Snatcher II is currently shut down, with a new version out in 2013 (under the name Snatcher 3, SiteSnatcher or DropKit). Product description from a user:

Snatcher is a drop catching software that can catch domains in “PENDING DELETE” status. It’s best to review the daily pending delete lists and find a domain you want. Then I would check Namejet or Snapnames to see if there are a bunch of bidders. If there isn’t then you stand a chance to grab it via Snatcher and register it through Dynadot (about $10 vs $59-69 to grab it via NameJet).

Every day (including weekends) .net/.com domains drop at 2 PM EST while .org domains drop at 9:30 AM. So normally I’ll sort through the lists and find one or possibly two I want to try to grab. Then set Snatcher to AUTO run when they begin to drop. The domains will drop (what seems to be randomly) beginning at 2 PM EST (for .net/.com). This sometimes takes 45 minutes before your domain will actually drop.


Software support has not been good. Update: he’s selling his entire business on Flippa.

Desktopcatcher.com $100 w/ coupon

Looks good: application currently supports four different registrars’ APIs including ResellerClub, Internet.bs, NameSilo, and DynaDot.

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