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  Updated Tue, Dec 16, 2008 Version 1.0.4  
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A domain name I want to buy just expired. Why can't I register it?

Here are three possible explanations:

  1. The domain name is on ICANN's Schedule of Reserved Names.
  2. The domain name is not available for registration yet.
  3. The domain name can only be purchased through a pre-release auction.

The domain name is on ICANN's Schedule of Reserved Names

ICANN has a list of domain names that cannot be registered by anyone (they can only be renewed). These domain names are listed in their Schedule of Reserved Names.

The domain name is not available for registration yet

Even though a domain name's WHOIS expiry date may have passed, it can't be registered until it goes through the REGISTRAR-HOLD, REDEMPTIONPERIOD, and PENDINGDELETE domain name statuses. This can take between 65 and 80 days, depending on the domain name's registrar. Check out our article on the domain name expiration process for more info.

The domain name can only be purchased through a pre-release auction

Some expired domain names can't be registered through traditional means. These types of expired domain names are considered "pre-release", where instead of becoming available for registration by the general public, the registrar keeps them and then sells them to the highest bidder through an open auction.

To determine if a domain name is pre-release, perform a WHOIS lookup and find its registrar. Review the registrar's website or contact them directly to find out if they pre-release their own expired domain names. If they do pre-release their own expired domain names, make sure to find out where and how to buy it, as some registrars pre-release only their own expired domain names, while others have an agreement to pool their pre-release names and make them available for purchase on a single separate website (like SnapNames).

To find out more about pre-release domain names, check out our article on how to buy an expired domain name.

Dropscout.com provides free expired domain name research. Read more expired domain name articles, or send us your comments and questions.


Last Updated: May 14, 2007

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