In trying to fully understand the domain aftermarket, and where SnapNames fits in, one must understand the Drop. SnapNames dominates this part of the industry and was one of the first companies to get involved in grabbing domain names as they are deleted. It would be accurate to say that SnapNames pioneered dropcatching and opened the door to this valuable stream of domain names.
What is the Drop?
As a domain name moves through the lifecycle and passes through the Expiry stage without being renewed or purchased, it goes into the Deleting phase, where things get a little bumpy. The registrar puts the name on hold and it sits in domain name purgatory. The last 5 days of this phase, referred to as Pending Delete, is where domainers can start making moves to acquire the name before it gets deleted by the registrar and goes to general availability. This is the point at which it will take an act of God for the previous owner to get it back.
A domainer can download a domain name auction list of all the names that will “Drop” in the next 5 days, while it is in the Pending Delete phase. They can place orders on any they want, with any company who has a dropcatching service, and then it’s a waiting game to see who gets it.
What determines who gets the name?
So a name comes off the Drop at the exact moment when the registrar who used to manage it releases it out to the public. This is where SnapNames shows its might and flexes its muscles. Every dropcatching service that has an order for that particular name sends signals to the Registry that they want it. The technology is specific, and it is powerful. SnapNames patented its dropcatching technology, called the Snapper, and protects it trade secrets. After all, the secret sauce wouldn’t be so secret if everyone had the recipe, right? Several factors go into who manages to acquire the name when it drops, and it all happens in the blink of an eye.
SnapNames, having proprietary technology for this process, has the highest rate of acquisition in the industry. Chances are, if you order a pending delete name at SnapNames, SnapNames will get it for you. Of course, this doesn’t happen 100% of the time, and other dropcatching services will grab that name a nanosecond faster, but this is why it’s best to place orders for a deleting name several places to give yourself the best chances of getting it. After all, most places don’t charge you unless they get the name for you, so there is no financial risk to casting a wide net.
If more than one person placed an order for a particular name, it would then go into a private auction and be awarded to the highest bidder at the end of it. If you are the only one who placed an order for the name, and it was grabbed for you on the Drop, then it’s all yours! And you have just successfully “played the Drop” and should pat yourself on the back. Well done!