Today I am sharing another personal experience, and this one is truly a first.
I have never purchased a new gTLD domain name before. Personally, I am just not a fan of them. Why? for one main reason: Most people do not know they are domain names when they look at them, and that is a HUGE problem if you plan on using the domain name commercially. If the majority of people do not know it's a domain name, they do not think of visiting it.
Let me back up a little bit.
What are new gTLD domains?
Most of us are aware of .com domain names, maybe .net and potentially .org domain names, all of which bring us to specific websites. The "endings" are considered legacy TLDs. TLD is an acronym for Top Level Domain. There are many different kinds of domain names: ccTLDs (Country Code Top Level Domains) like .US is the ccTLD for the United States. .CA is Canada, .TV is Tuvalu (not television, that just makes commercial sense, same as .AI that is often used as artificial intelligence but its really a ccTLD for Anguilla).
We live in a big world and the highest percentage of registered domain names is .com. People have long said that the .com space is “running out” and “all the good ones are gone”. Yes and no, mainly no! So, ICANN, the governing body of domain names introduced hundreds of new generic top-level domains. Basically dot-whatever somebody may want or dream of: .club, .link, .fun, .email, .loan, .lol, .app, etc. can be created by paying the ~$180K application to own the gTLD. These are essentially all-new businesses by somebody willing to pay the money to own the TLD and manage it. Literally hundreds of them were introduced and more will be over the years to come. A flood of them!
Okay, now that I explained a little bit of what a new gTLD is, let's get back on track of my experience in buying an expired one.
It was messy, with a lot of unknowns. The only reason I wanted this domain name in the first place was for fun! An email address, that’s it.
By the time I had realized I had wanted this specific domain name (I decided to keep the actual domain private) it was already past the point of any “partnership” registrar/auction house deal. For example, expired GoDaddy registered domain names go to GoDaddy Auctions during a specific time frame. GoDaddy also has other registrars like eNom, PDR, Tucows, Reg123, Wildwest Domains, etc. that send expired domain inventory to its auction service. So, this domain was past that point.
I was certain the domain name was going to go PendingDelete status at some time soon. I just had no clue when. It did and similarly followed what a .com domain name would do. It was around 75 days from expiry that the domain name was removed from the registry.
I wanted to "drop catch" this domain name, meaning I wanted to pay a fee for a service to register the domain name on my behalf, the second it was released from the registry. That was the plan or what I felt was the best option to obtain this domain name.
That was the problem, I searched and searched and could not find a drop catching service for this specific gTLD. A few registrars offer a select few new gTLDs for back-ordering but I couldn’t find any for the specific one I wanted. I even asked people within the gTLD space about back-ordering, who also did not have a clear answer for me of where to back-order it. There simply was no place to do it.
My game plan changed from using a drop catching service to figuring out when the domain name was going to drop and then hand registering the domain at either Uni or GoDaddy. I timed it out 5 days from the WHOIS status update to PendingDelete and figured out the date it would be released. That was going to be the day it dropped and available to be registered by anybody. I was ready.
Since I had about 2 months’ time invested in this process already, the specific time the domain was going to drop was unknown. .com & .net domains start being released from the registry in an order they were registered, between 1:00-2:15 PM Central Standard time daily. Again, I could not find this specific information regarding the gTLD I was interested in.
The day I expected the domain to drop had come and I was ready! I started doing domain availability checks early in the morning at the registrar. Nothing. I did it at random times and finally, the domain was available to register! Sweet! All my hard work was going to pay off and the fun was able to start.
Ah, something seems wrong. $1,100? Not the $0.99 it stated to register the domain? Technical glitch? Old user listing? I’m not sure, but I see it says $1,100 in my cart. Hmm. I check a different registrar, $1,200? Odd. I check a third registrar $899?
Everything seems even odder than before as I am seeing different prices at each domain registrar I check. What is going on? A light goes off in my head. These must be past owners’ listings, but why is the price different?
A second light goes off in my head, registry premium domain? That is a thing, the registry sets a premium price on certain domains it chooses. It was a registry premium domain!
I had no way of knowing this prior. Nothing "on the domain" told me it was a registry premium status domain. Nothing in WHOIS stated this.
It is still available to register at the time I’m typing this. It is still in a wide range of prices at different registrars from $899-$1,200.
I will not be doing that process again anytime soon.
If you are in need of buying a specific domain name and are not sure how to go about it, please speak with an experienced Uniregistry Broker (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Uniregistry's Buyer Brokerage service may be a good fit for you. Experience matters.