Snapnames – A Handy Domain Tool

In the domain world (the world that is constantly changing) – there are some tools that can help you keep ahead of the game. In particular there is a website called “Snapnames.com” that provides several domain services but none greater than being able to place a backorder on an existing (and taken) domain name…

Peter Beare, BeareWareSo What’s The Catch – How Much Does This Cost?

Well I would be the first to skeptical about a domain name service so I appreciate your question.  But as is with every other aspect of the web that we have come to work with  we gain our overall knowledge by using these products – not by theory or academics. We have used Snapnames.com for over 2 years – and to date we have acquired 4 domain names. I have to say it is a buzz when we receive an e-mail stating a domain name has been acquired…

How Exactly Do you Acquire a Domain Name?

OK – we are interested in acquiring a domain name that is important to us or our clients. It is usually a domain name that is rather the primary domain required by a client or it is a very good secondary domain name. The domain name is being held by an owner out their in the “Interland” (Internet Land). I have several options on how to approach acquiring the domain name – one being to contact owner and ask if the owners is interested in selling the domain name.

The general problem I have with contacting owners is their inability to quantify the value of their domain name (quite often a name they are not using or have not intention of using). As soon as you inform them you are interested the price they name is usually not justifiable – (nor quantifiable). It is usually a “pie in the sky” request for a large amount of money that generally should never actually be transacted.

So You Would Never Buy A Domain Name Directly?

Well yes I would and I have – but in general you are really rolling the die out their. You need to really know what you are doing – you must understand the real value of the domain name (to you and to the seller – which quite often are not the same).  Recently I acquired a fabulous domain name for a client – the absolute premier domain name for their business name (and a name that is used all over the country and every state) and we purchased the domain for $385.00 which was a tremendous deal.

The seller was a very decent business group and also a web design & hosting company and they were simply holding the domain without any real ability or plans to use the domain. All the same our client was very fortunate to acquire the name. At the same time when you can register a domain for a year with a discount domain company for as little as $8.00 it is easy to see how someone could site on a domain name perpetually with very little invested.

But Let Me Tell You a Great Snapnames Story…

Over the last 10 years (really from 1997-2007) I was actively involved in promoting Australia with an annual event called the Australian Festival. I am now since retired from this very challenging role (and a recovering Festival Director) but over the course of many years running the festival and promoting the event primarily thru the web we acquired a very good portfolio of Australian related domain names.

Last year we decided to start listing Australian Festivals that were now operating all over the world. When we started running the Australian Festival in Nashville in 1997 – I don’t honestly think there was an Australian Festival operating outside of Australia. Now it has been established as a solid business and cultural vehicle to promote global trade and friendship. I searched for the domain name – http://www.australianfestivals.com/ – and found that it was “For Sale by Owner”. It had no website and was “treading water” online picking up the occasional table scraps from Google Ads but basically just treading water.

I contacted the owner and requested a cost on what they were selling the domain name for. I waited a few days then received a cheery e-mail requesting $10,000.00 for the domain name. There was some “sales dribble” attached to the e-mail – which I don’t recall the exact wording but the seller had recognized I was involved in the Australian Festival and I assume he must have thought his ship had sailed in…. (It hadn’t!)…

Register Domain With Snap Names (and lets see what happens)…

Usually I will do a “Who Is” to establish the owner of the domain name (and more importantly the expiration date). This expiration date quite often helps you establish the possibilities of the site becoming available. You never know on a domain name – the owner has moved on – the web dude no longer is in business – lots of funny things can happen when the domain is up for renewal…

So realizing http://www.australianfestivals.com/ was not worth $10,000.00 and if it was we certainly weren’t in a position to buy it so I decided I would add it to snap names as a backorder. The domain registration was just renewed for a year – buy either way I could at least be ready if the domain name becomes available. The preset initial bid price was setup at $59.00. This means that is people from other services start bidding on the domain in the event it becomes available then this would be your starting bid. BUT if you are the only bidder – and the domain name becomes available – then it is YOURS BABY!

And Wouldn’t You Know It – Around a Year Later…

Sure enough just working away – another interesting day at BeareWare (every day is interesting) and I received a notification from Snapnames that the domain name – www.australianfestivals.com has been acquired.  For a grand total cost of $59.00. I must say that this was an e-mail that made me smile. Not sure what happened to my “mate” who wanted $10,000.00 for the domain name – but most likely he had some “bigger” investments to take care.

Domain Expiration – A little more to it…

And just to make sure I am presenting this snapnames option to you clearly – when a domain expires – it does not become immediately available on the open market (or whatever market “SnapNames” works with.) When a domain expires it is in expiration mode for approximately 15-30 dates. There is actually no guarantee to this time frame and each Registrar can set their standards on this time frame. This period is considered a “renewal period” – which means that no one else can buy the domain during this phase. The owner can renew the domain – sometime with a penalty fee from the registrar.

If not renewed the domain name then goes into “Deletion Mode”- which is when the registrar has now flagged the domain name for deletion – which will ultimately release the name back to “open market’. The owner of the domain still has the potential during this phase to renew the domain – but will most likely be charged “hefty” fees by the registrar (approximately $100.00 and up). Once the deletion mode is complete – the domain name is back in the open market.

I don’t know at what point Snapnames has access to the domain name in this process but it appears that they have the ability to purchase this name well before the name becomes available for any purchase again. And remember snapnames may not be the only organization chasing the domain name. But I dare say the method of waiting until the name becomes available again on your favorite registrar search is probably not going to get you in the front running to acquire it…

SO – if you have a domain name that you are interested in acquiring – and don’t have a the budget to pay the big bucks for it initially (or have tried that route unsuccessfully) then consider adding a back order to snapnames. It may take a year or it may actually never become available but based on what we have seen with the “wild and unpredictable” management of domain names you might just be pleasantly surprised…
 

Cheers Mate,

Peter Beare – Webmaster
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Peter Beare, BeareWarePeter Beare is CEO of BeareWare, a Website Design & Development Company located just outside of Nashville, Tennessee. Since building his first website for a local sports club in 1998 Peter has been a webmaster. Over the last 10 years Peter’s duties with BeareWare have included website planning, design and development, website marketing and sales, as well as database application programming & project management. But when all is said and done, Peter is still a webmaster and this is “Interview with a Webmaster“.


Peter Beare

Peter founded Bear Web Design in Nashville, Tennessee in May of 2000 and has been actively involved in web design & development, web content management & education, web hosting & management as well as internet marketing. His experience gained by working with clients from the sales cycle to launching a new website to overseeing a client’ s second generation redevelopment has given him a unique understanding and perspective of the internet. This allows him to serve our client base with expert leadership & service with a completely hands on approach.

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