Best Practices for Getting Names on the Drop

By now we’ve established how names travel through the domain name life cycle, and at what points they can be purchased. Let’s dig into the Drop a little further and share some best practices for getting a name as it’s released by the Registry.

“The Drop” is the point at which the name has gone through the expiry phase, past the Redemption Grace Period (RGP) and has spent 5 days preparing to, as I like to put it, leap off the cliff. It no longer belongs to a Registrar and is being released to the general public by the Registry.

domain name life cycle

The yellow box represents the point at which domain names drop.

Companies like SnapNames that have technology to grab the name the second it’s released, are referred to as drop-catchers. They have the lists of names that are going to drop in the next 5 days, and this is the time when domainers like to place orders on names they want, and rely on the power of the drop-catchers to grab the name as it’s released by the Registry. The chances of acquiring a name that is dropping by hand registering it and bypassing the drop-catchers is incredibly slim, so domainers utilize the power that of the drop-catching technology to grab the name for them. So how do you increase your chances of getting a great gem you found in the deleting domain names list? We’ll go through a few of the best practices of playing The Drop.

Do Your Research

Most drop-catching companies publish the lists of names that have just entered the Deleting phase and are dropping in 5 days. Download the list and scan through it to see if anything jumps out at you. These lists can be thousands deep, so take your time looking through it and know in advance what it is you are looking for. Some companies like SnapNames will also publish what they consider to be the best of the names that are dropping in the next 24 hours, so check again the day of the Drop and see if there are any others in this smaller list that you may have missed the first time.

Cast a Wide Net

There are several companies that participate in The Drop and can compete for the names that are being released. SnapNames is one of the first and is by far the most successful – we catch the majority of the names people order. However, we can’t possibly get them all. It is always in your best interest to place orders on the name you want with all of the players, like NameJet, DropCatch and Pheenix. It costs nothing to place an order, you only get charged by the company who catches the name for you. So you don’t lose money by increasing your odds of getting the name.

Choose the Right Names

If you’re just trying to grab some good names to build a portfolio instead of focusing on one particular one for your own use, don’t automatically go after the names that have the most bidders as an indicator of how valuable the name will be. Because if we get a name that has 50 orders on it, it will go into a private auction with just those people, and the name will go to the highest bidder at the end of 3 days. There is no need to shy away from names with a lot of bidders because of the auction that will follow, but prepare a maximum price that you are willing to pay for the name. Likewise, only trying to get names that nobody has bid on won’t necessarily result in you winning all of those names.

Know Your Max

This is a best practice for purchasing domains in the aftermarket in general – do your best to determine what a name is worth to you and know your maximum bid when you place the order. It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of having a name you ordered grabbed on the Drop and go into auction, and setting your maximum bid either when you place the order or when it goes into auction, will help you set a boundary and stick to it.

Playing The Drop can be fun and a great and inexpensive way of getting domain names you want. You will quickly learn what platforms you like best and which companies have a good record for fulfilling your orders. Use the tools wisely, and you will see the benefits of playing it smart.