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Exploring Domain Name Backordering and Its Benefits

Exploring Domain Name Backordering and Its Benefits

Domain name backordering allows you to reserve or “backorder” an expired or deleted domain name that is not currently registered. When the domain becomes available again, the backorder service will automatically register it on your behalf. Backordering can be a useful tool for securing valuable domain names or making sure you don’t miss out on a great opportunity. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore what domain name backordering is, how it works, the major backordering services, the pros and cons of using them, and tips for making the most of backordering.

What is Domain Name Backordering?

A domain name backorder, also sometimes called a dropcatch, is when you place an order for a domain name that is about to expire or has recently expired. When a domain registration lapses and the owner does not renew it, the domain goes into a grace period where the original owner can still renew it. After the grace period expires, the domain enters a pending delete status before finally being released by the registry. This whole process can take around 45 days.

Backordering allows you to get in line to register the domain as soon as it becomes available again. Backorder services use automated technology to attempt to register expired domains on behalf of their customers the moment they drop. This allows you to stake your claim on a domain without having to manually try registering at the exact second it becomes available.

How Domain Expiration and Dropping Works

To understand backordering, it helps to know how domain expirations and dropping works. Here is an overview of the key stages:

  • Expiration Date: This is the date when the domain registration expires unless the owner renews it. Around a month before this date, the registrar will send expiration notices reminding the owner to renew.
  • Redemption Grace Period: After the expiration date passes, the domain enters the “redemption grace period” which typically lasts around 30 days. During this time, the original owner can still renew the domain and keep ownership.
  • Pending Delete: If the domain is not renewed during redemption, it will enter “pending delete” status. This period usually lasts 5 days. The domain is still in the control of the registry. Backorder services can start attempting to acquire the domain for their customers during this phase.
  • Dropped: After pending delete, the domain is “dropped” by the registry and released for general registration. This is when a backorder service will actually register the domain on behalf of the customer with the successful backorder.
  • Available: Once dropped, the domain is available for anyone to register on a first come, first served basis. Backordered domains get first priority. The whole process takes around 40-45 days.

Major Domain Name Backordering Services

There are a number of reputable services that offer domain name backordering and drop catching:


SnapNames is one of the largest and most well-established backorder services. They have been offering backordering since 2000 and have over 2 million domains under backorder. SnapNames offers automated and manual backordering options, the ability to backorder on multiple extensions like .com, .net, .org, etc., proxy bidding for sought after names, and integration with the NameJet domain aftermarket.


The largest domain registrar GoDaddy provides backorder services to its customers. You can backorder expiring names for a $24.99 fee per year. GoDaddy has strong brand recognition but more limited backorder capabilities compared to specialized services. Still, the convenience of managing everything under your GoDaddy account makes it an option.


DropCatch is a popular domain marketplace and registrar that offers comprehensive backordering services, including the ability to set up automated keyword saved searches. DropCatch has a large network of affiliated registrars it uses to increase success rates for catching dropping domains. They provide access to over 40 extensions.


Pool focuses exclusively on offering backordering and drop catching services. They have been operating since 2005. Pool provides automated and manual backordering options with unique features like scheduled ordering and pooling with other customers to increase success rates. Their network includes connections to over 300 registrars to catch dropping names.


SnapNames is one of the largest and most well-established backorder services. They have been offering backordering since 2000 and have over 2 million domains under backorder. SnapNames offers automated and manual backordering options, the ability to backorder on multiple extensions like .com, .net, .org, etc., proxy bidding for sought after names, and integration with the NameJet domain aftermarket.

Pros of Domain Backordering

There are many potential benefits to using a domain name backordering service:

  • Secure Desired Expired Domains: Backordering allows you to stake your claim on an expired domain you want before someone else registers it. This is extremely useful for securing valuable branded domains when they lapse.
  • Gain Good Generic Domains: You can set up automated keyword searches to backorder good generic domain names (e.g. cloudhosting.com) that expire but align with your business. This allows you to inexpensively build up a portfolio of good domains.
  • Earn Revenue from Domaining: Domainers use backordering services extensively to snap up domains they think have aftermarket value to sell at a profit. Backordering is integral to domain name investing.
  • Alternative to Buying Expensive Domains: Backordering provides opportunities to get domains without paying premium registrant prices. Just because a domain currently costs $500 doesn’t mean you should pay that if it may drop soon.
  • Level Playing Field Against Drop Catchers: Individual customers backordering domains levels the playing field against drop catchers trying to snap them all up. Backordering helps real end users get domains rather than just large portfolio owners.
  • Automated and Hassle-Free: The automated nature of backordering services means you don’t have to manually keep checking and trying to register domains as soon as they drop. The backordering system handles the hard work.

Cons of Domain Backordering

Despite the many benefits, there are also some potential downsides to backordering that should be considered:

  • No Guarantee of Success: There is no guarantee you will actually obtain the domain you backorder since it depends on beating out other bidders.
  • Can be Expensive for Popular Domains: Backordering coveted domain names often involves paying higher fees, auction bidding, or entering pooling agreements that drive up costs substantially.
  • Locks up Money in Multiple Bids: Having backorders open across multiple domains means having a lot of money continually tied up that you may never get back.
  • May Still Lose to Competitors: Large drop catching competitors with huge domain portfolios still win many of the best dropped names, despite backordering services.
  • Some Risk of Landing on Uncooperative Registrars: A backordered domain could end up in the hands of a registrar that makes transferring or selling the domain difficult.
  • Requires Due Diligence on Renewals: You need a process to check renewals on won domains to avoid losing them unintentionally after securing initially.
  • No Recourse for Mistakes: If a backordering service fails to catch a dropped domain you ordered, there is typically little recourse to correct mistakes.

Tips for Backordering Success

Here are some tips to increase your chances of successfully obtaining domains using backorder services:

  • Leverage Automated Backordering: Use automated backordering instead of manual to maximize speed and likelihood of beating other bidders.
  • Focus on 1 or 2 Main Services Initially: Stick with the top established backordering networks first while you learn the ropes before trying out newer or smaller ones.
  • Understand the Major Auction Sites: Learn howNameJet, SnapNames auctions, DropCatch, and others work if bidding on coveted names going to auction upon drop.
  • Be Selective About Names: Don’t overbid on every domain and spread yourself thin. Be selective and focus on names that align strategically with your goals.
  • Pool Backorders with Others: Pooling your backorders with other customers on the same domains boosts your chances of winning names.
  • Use Whois History to Identify Expiring Names: Research domains dropping soon by looking at their previous owners and expiration history in Whois data.
  • Leverage Add-On Services: Use services like domain monitoring and alerts to identify upcoming expiring names aligned with your interests.
  • Have Funds Ready in Accounts: Make sure backorder service accounts are pre-funded to avoid losing domains you want due to payment issues during the tight drop catching window.
  • Register Imperfect But Related Names Too: Don’t obsess over only one perfect domain name – consider marginally different names using prefixes, suffixes, hyphens etc. that may be easier to obtain.

Evaluating Domain Quality for Backordering

Not all expiring domains are worth going after. When assessing domain names for backordering, look at these key quality factors:

  • Inherent Memorability: How memorable is the wording – does it roll off the tongue and stick in your head? Memorable domains drive direct navigation traffic.
  • Brevity: Shorter domains like thrive.com are better than longer ones like thrivingbusinesssolutions.com. Conciseness makes them easier to remember.
  • Misspellings: Names with potential common misspellings like flix.com (for flicks) capture traffic even if users get it slightly wrong.
  • Associated Words: Does the domain naturally bring to mind associated words and concepts related to the niche it targets? This boosts relevance.
  • Prefixes/Suffixes: Domains using meaningful word prefixes or suffixes like smartphone.pro clearly convey a niche.
  • Hyphens: While generally less preferable, hyphens in domains like eco-friendly.com can connect disparate niche keywords.
  • Word Combinations: Compound word domains can target multiple search phrases and concepts at once in a natural way.
  • Numbers and Special Characters: Generally avoid domains using special characters or numbers unless they spell words, like thenumber1.com.
  • Distinctiveness: More unique, distinctive names are better than overly generic ones with lots of competition already.
  • Brandability: Can the domain work as a brand name and appeal to a business audience when used in marketing and communications?

Backorder vs Aftermarket Purchasing

Should you try getting a domain using backordering or buy it on the domain aftermarket? Here is a look at how these domain acquisition approaches compare:


  • Backordering tends to have lower fees, often $60-$100 per domain name for an annual backorder. Buying on aftermarket often costs hundreds to thousands.


  • Backordering depends on catching the domain when it drops with no guarantee. Buying gives you immediate control and ownership.


  • Backordering requires waiting an unknown period for the name to drop. Aftermarket buying lets you acquire the domain now.

Domain History

  • With aftermarket domains, you can research current and past owners, traffic stats, and history. Backordered names have unknown histories.

Market Competition

  • High demand aftermarket domains can have multiple competing bidders. Backorders have more focus on speed over price.


  • Backordering has inherent risk of failure to catch the name. Aftermarket buying provides immediate domain ownership.

Cost Efficiency

  • Backordering allows potential to get names very cheaply. Aftermarket tends to have higher buy-it-now pricing.

In general, backordering has more uncertainty but provides opportunity to secure names more cost effectively. Buying established domains on aftermarket comes with higher costs but less risk. Assessing your budget, goals and risk tolerance can help determine the best strategy.

Should You Use a Domain Backordering Service?

Here are some key questions to consider when deciding if domain name backordering is the right strategy for you:

  • How critical is securing specific domain names? Backordering has uncertainty, so is ideal mainly when you must have a specific name versus alternatives.
  • What is your budget? Backordering can be low cost but auctions for premium names get expensive. Know what you can spend.
  • Are you comfortable with some risk? There’s always a possibility of not securing names. Accept that risk level.
  • Do you have processes to track domains? You need to ensure renewals on won names so they don’t inadvertently expire later on.
  • Does your desired domain portfolio align with expiring domains? Backordering works best for generic names – branded domains rarely lapse.
  • Do you have time to research expiring domains deeply? More research identifying worthwhile target names boosts success likelihood.
  • Can you balance focus across multiple target names? Avoid overextending with too many backorders spread across dozens of domains.

If your situation aligns well with the backordering model, it is likely a domain investment strategy worth exploring. But weigh considerations like these to determine if it is a fit.

Getting Started With Domain Name Backordering

If you want to begin backordering domains, follow these steps to get started the right way:

  • Select 1-2 backordering services to focus on initially rather than spreading efforts across too many platforms. Good options to consider first are SnapNames, GoDaddy Domain Backorders, or Pool.com.
  • Fund your account at the backordering service so there are no payment issues trying to register domains that drop. Deposit at least $100-$200 to begin.
  • Setup automated backordering to maximize your chances of grabbing names as soon as they drop. Automation is faster than manual ordering.
  • Create a target name list – research and build out a list of 10-20 domain names expiring soon that you want to try to obtain.
  • Learn auction platforms like NameJet that your backordering service may use for contested names. Understand how to bid effectively.
  • Consider pooling agreements to boost your odds for high-value domains by teaming with other backorderers interested in the same names.
  • Use Whois lookups to research domain expiration dates, current owners, and history to identity quality targets and their availability.
  • Make a plan for won domains so you have a strategy for what to do with successfully secured names to extract their value.

Start conservatively with this measured approach as you get familiar with the backordering process. As you learn more, you can scale up over time across more services, domains, and advanced strategies.

Alternative Domain Name Acquisition Models

Domain backordering represents only one of many routes to obtaining a desired domain name. A few other options include:

Make an Offer to the Current Owner

For registered domains, you can contact the current owner directly and make an offer to purchase it. Many owners are willing to sell for the right price.

Use a Domain Broker

A domain broker acts as an intermediary to negotiate deals between buyers and sellers. They usually charge around 10% of the sale price but can facilitate deals.

Participate in Domain Auctions

NameJet, GoDaddy Auctions, Sedo, and others run domain auctions where you can bid for domain names publicly. Auction bidding however tends to drive up prices.

Look for Private Sale Listings

Check places like Sedo’s private sale listings for domains owners are looking to sell apart from auction. You can sometimes find good deals.

Wait for the Domain to Expire Naturally

If a domain is likely to expire soon but hasn’t yet, you may opt to just wait for it to lapse normally before trying to register.

Attempt to Acquire Through UDRP or Lawsuit

In cases of clear trademark infringement, brands may file UDRP complaints or lawsuits to get ownership. But this costs time and money.

For maximum flexibility, understand these secondary domain market dynamics in addition to backordering. This provides multiple options to secure the names you want at reasonable prices.

Key Takeaways on Domain Name Backordering

Backordering domains provides an opportunity to obtain names as they expire, but requires some expertise and diligence to be effective. Keep these key conclusions in mind:

  • Backordering success depends on automated systems beating the competition. Human reaction times are too slow.
  • Focus on 1-2 major backordering services first while learning the process before expanding more broadly.
  • Be selective about quality target names and don’t spread efforts too thin across too many domains.
  • Whois lookups to check domain history and expiration dates are critical for identifying future targets.
  • Have sufficient funds in backorder accounts ahead of time for immediate domain registration when needed.
  • Monitor new won domain names closely and set renewal reminders so they don’t inadvertently expire later and get lost.
  • Some expired domains go to auction upon dropping where you must outbid others to secure the name.
  • Registration is not guaranteed – have alternate strategies in case targeted names aren’t successfully acquired.
  • Balance the risks and costs of backordering compared to alternatives like aftermarket buying to align with your budget and goals.

The availability of good domain names is only going down over time. Backordering provides a way to opportunistically acquire names without necessarily having to pay premium prices if you approach it strategically.

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