Drop Catching: Seizing Expired Domains

Drop catching domain names is rising in popularity. In the vast landscape of the internet, domain names are the digital real estate that businesses, individuals, and organizations stake their claims on. However, not all domain owners are diligent in renewing their ownership. As a matter of fact, over the years, we’ve had our fair share of domain expiration blunders!

These domain expirations sometimes lead to the subsequent release of these valuable digital assets. This is where the art of drop catching comes into play, a practice that involves securing domain names immediately after they expire. In this article, we will explore the intricacies of drop catching and how individuals and businesses can leverage this strategy to acquire desirable domain names.

While reading this article, just keep this quote in the back of your head.

One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.

The idiom “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure” suggests that what one person or business may consider worthless could be considered valuable by someone else. Same goes with domain names and registering them after someone leaves them, or completely forgets about them.

Understanding Drop Catching:

Domain drop catching

When a domain owner fails to renew their registration, the domain goes through a series of expiration processes before being released back into the public domain pool. We’ve explained these domain cycles in depth in this article. This creates a brief window of opportunity for savvy individuals to snatch up these expired domains before anyone else.

Drop catching involves using specialized tools and services to monitor and register domain names the moment they become available. These tools are designed to swiftly detect when a domain is about to expire and automatically attempt to register it the moment it becomes available for registration.

At one point in time, even we decided to build a tool that notifies anybody with an email address when a domain name is about to expire, and when it becomes available for registration. It was called DomainWatch.

Key Elements of Drop Catching:

  1. Timing is Everything:
    • Drop catching domains is a race against time. The faster you can register an expired domain, the higher your chances of securing it before others have a chance to do so. Sophisticated algorithms and scripts are often employed to ensure precision and speed in the registration process. Power-players attack from several sources, making multiple domain registration attempts at the same time.
  2. Automated Tools and Services:
    • Numerous online platforms offer drop-catching services, employing advanced algorithms and powerful infrastructure to monitor and register expiring domains. These services often come with a subscription fee, but the investment can be worthwhile for those seeking high-value domains. We will mention them later.
  3. Research and Strategy:
    • Successful domain drop catching requires strategic planning. This involves researching and identifying potentially valuable domains, understanding their market demand, and creating a list of priorities. Knowing which domains are likely to be in demand can increase the chances of securing a valuable asset.
  4. Legal and Ethical Considerations:
    • Drop catching should always be conducted within the bounds of legal and ethical guidelines. Some registrars have policies in place to prevent abusive practices, and engaging in unethical behavior could lead to penalties or even legal consequences.

Benefits of Drop Catching:

  1. Access to Premium Domains:
    • Drop catching provides a unique opportunity to acquire premium domain names that may have been previously unavailable or too expensive. This can be a game-changer for businesses looking to enhance their online presence.
  2. SEO and Branding Opportunities:
    • Securing a domain with a history or relevance to a particular industry can provide SEO benefits. It allows businesses to tap into existing traffic and reinforces their brand image.
  3. Investment and Monetization:
    • Some domain investors engage in drop catching as an investment strategy. By acquiring valuable domain names, they can sell them at a higher price (also known as domain flipping) or monetize them through various means, such as domain parking, leasing, or developing a website.

What is domain backorder?

Domain backorder

It’s another term for domain drop catching. A domain backorder enables you to secure a domain currently owned by someone else. Should the domain expire, you have the opportunity to register it before it becomes accessible to the general public. Once you place a backorder on a domain, a domain backorder service conducts daily domain status checks and sends you email notifications for any changes.

Following the domain expiration of the current registration, the domain backorder service makes an effort to acquire the domain before it is released to the public by the registry. If their attempt is successful, and you are the sole backorder holder, you become the new owner. In cases where there are multiple backorder holders, participation in an auction is available to determine the eventual domain name owner.

Where can you order domain Drop Catching?

  • DropCatch.com : One of the oldest domain drop catching services. Their parent company TurnCommerce, Inc. from Denver Colorado is a proven leader in the domain industry. We’ve written about their domain registrar, NameBright. Since 2006 DroptCatch.com have acquired over 1,000,000 domain names through the Drop.
  • GoDaddy Backorder: The largest domain registrar in the World offers everything related to domain names. As such, they have a very powerful domain drop-catching service. Domain drop catching is also called domain backordering, which is how they choose to call it.
  • Dynadot Domain Backorder: Similar to other domain registrars, Dynadot offers domain backordering.

Who needs domain drop catching?

I think we already mentioned SEO companies. Entrepreneurs are another one. Sometimes you like a company name but the domain name is registered and you can do nothing but wait. Sometimes businesses let a domain name expire, and they hope to get it back some day. Domain investors and speculators flip domain names for profit are also monitoring domain expiration dates.

It’s hard to imagine, but sometimes there are several parties watching a domain name. You may think your domain name wouldn’t interest anybody, but you could be mistaken.

Could you build your own domain drop catching service?

It’s certainly possible. You would have to build two parts. One is the domain monitoring service, and that one is easy because you could use our Whois API and you could be getting domain expiration dates, and domain status code very quickly. You would also see where the domain name is registered. All very useful! Since we cover a lot of TLDs and ccTLDs, there’s a great chance we cover what you need.

Second part in building a domain drop catching service is a bit hard. We mentioned that timing was very important. Domain registration is very simple, but registering the domain name the moment it is available for registration, that’s hard. In some cases, when the domain is not in high demand, then it’s easy. But who wants a domain that’s not in high demand?

There are companies that managed to build a business drop catching and reselling not very popular demands (easier to catch) on not very popular TLDs (again, easier to catch) but with some demand. Finding buyers for these domains at couple thousand dollars proved a viable business.

Drop catching is a dynamic and competitive process that requires a combination of technical expertise, strategic planning, and ethical considerations. As the digital landscape continues to evolve, the importance of securing meaningful and memorable domain names remains crucial. For those with the skills and determination, drop catching provides a doorway to a world of opportunities in the vast and ever-expanding domain market.


Goran Duskic has been the Founder and CEO of WhoAPI Inc. since 2011, a company that specializes in developing APIs, including the well-known Whois API. He started his career in internet entrepreneurship in 2006 and has co-founded several online businesses, including a web hosting company that he later sold. Goran's work primarily involves creating practical API solutions to meet technological needs.