In this article we'll discuss the six types of expired domain names, as well as their advantages and disadvantages.

  1. Pre-Release
  2. Closeouts
  3. On Hold
  4. Redemption Period
  5. Dropping
  6. Deleted

Before continuing with this article, we recommend you first familiarize yourself with the domain name expiration process.

Pre-Release Domain Names

A pre-release domain name is one that has not been renewed by the original owner before its expiry date, and is being sold by its registrar in an open auction to the highest bidder. The term "pre-release" is used because the domain name is being made available for sale before it is released to the registry, where it would eventually drop and become available to anyone through a backorder.

  • Advantages: Unlike dropping domain names, pre-release domain names do not have their WHOIS creation date reset when you acquire them. Also, you have a chance to acquire all pre-release domain names because they are sold in an open auction, whereas backorders can often miss out completely.
  • Disadvantages: Because pre-release domain names are sold in an open auction, they are typically more expensive to acquire.
  • Close Date: There are two important dates to consider for pre-release domain names: start date; and end date. The start date refers to the date the auction will start, and in some cases, the cutoff date for placing a pre-order. The end date refers to the date the auction will end. SnapNames and NameJet use a start date, while TDNAM uses the end date.

Check out our article on how to buy a pre-release domain name.

Closeout Domain Names

A closeout domain name, also known as a "firesale domain name", is one that has not been renewed by the original owner before its expiry date, has not been bought in a pre-release auction, and is being sold by its registrar at a discounted BIN (Buy it Now) price. The term "closeout" is used because it is the last chance to buy the domain name from the registrar before they release it to registry, where it would eventually drop and become available to anyone through a backorder.

  • Advantages: Unlike dropping domain names, closeout domain names do not have their WHOIS creation date reset when you acquire them. Closeout domain names often offer the best value relative to their purchase price. For those with limited resources, success is dependent on speed, and not the size of your bank account.
  • Disadvantages: It can be difficult to pinpoint the exact time a closeout domain name will be available for purchase.
  • Close Date: The most important date and time associated with this type of domain name is its closeout close date.

Check out our article on how to buy a closeout domain name.

On Hold Domain Names

An on hold domain name is one that has not been renewed by the original owner before its expiry date, and has been placed under the REGISTRAR HOLD or REGISTRY HOLD statuses. Although the majority of domain names under these statuses are legitimate expired domain names, there may be some that are the subject of a legal dispute.

  • Advantages: Since an on hold domain name can only be acquired by contacting the owner, the deletion process can be circumvented by arranging a sale with them directly, thereby reducing the competition to acquire it. Also, a domain acquired directly from the previous owner does not have its WHOIS creation date reset.
  • Disadvantages: Because the owner will need to pay a redemption fee in order to renew the domain name before selling it, the acquisition costs will need to account for the redemption fee (usually $100, but this varies depending on the registrar or registry). Also, by attempting to acquire the domain name directly from the owner, they may be alerted to its potential value.
  • Expiry Date: The most important date associated with this type of domain name is its expiry date (the date on which their original registration expired).

Check out our article on how to buy an on hold domain name.

Redemption Period Domain Names

A redemption period domain name is one that has not been renewed by the original owner before its expiry date, and has been placed under the REDEMPTION GRACE PERIOD or REDEMPTIONPERIOD statuses.

  • Advantages: Since a redemption period domain name can only be acquired by contacting the owner, the deletion process can be circumvented by arranging a sale with them directly, thereby reducing the competition to acquire it. Also, a domain name acquired directly from the previous owner does not have its WHOIS creation date reset.
  • Disadvantages: Because the owner will need to pay a redemption fee in order to renew the domain name before selling it, the acquisition costs will need to account for the redemption fee (usually $100, but this varies depending on the registrar or registry). Also, by attempting to acquire the domain name directly from the owner, they may be alerted to its potential value.
  • Expiry Date: The most important date associated with this type of domain name is its expiry date (the date on which their original registration expired).

Check out our article on how to buy a redemption period domain name.

Dropping

A dropping domain name is one that has not been renewed by the original owner before its expiry date, and is scheduled for deletion from the registry. The term "dropping" is used because the domain name is being dropped (deleted) from the registry.

  • Advantages: Unlike pre-release domain names, dropping domain names are not sold in an open auction, which generally results in a lower acquisition cost.
  • Disadvantages: Due to the competition for many dropping domain names, the success rate in acquiring one is lower. Also, all dropping domain names have their WHOIS creation date reset when dropped from the registry.
  • Drop Date: The most important date associated with this type of domain name is the date on which it will be dropped from the registry. The exact time of day it is dropped is dependent on the registry.

Check out our article on how to buy a dropping domain name.

Deleted

A deleted domain name, in the context of expired domain names, is one that has been deleted (dropped) from the registry. The term "deleted" is used as it references an expired domain name that has previously been deleted/dropped.

  • Advantages: A deleted domain name can be acquired for the standard domain name registration fee, which is lower than all other acquisition methods.
  • Disadvantages: It can be time-consuming to locate deleted domain names that are still available for registration.
  • Delete Date: The most important date associated with this type of domain name is the date on which it was dropped/deleted from the registry.

Check out our article on how to buy a deleted domain name.

Have you registered any expired domain names? Let me know in the comments.

Johan Johansson is a web developer at Pixelmade, a Vancouver web design + internet marketing firm.You can find him on Twitter and Google+.