NOTE: This is Part 4 of a series of articles on Dynamite Domains
Domain names are virtual real estate, but unlike real estate in the real world – where people understand the value of that property (within reason anyway) and where people look after the deeds of that property (or their lawyers do) and where people understand when their leases are pretty much coming to an end – it's not the same with the domain name world, because domain names are totally misunderstood.
For this reason, understanding the full lifecycle of a domain name plays a major role in spotting opportunities where others don't.
The lifecycle of a domain name can vary between different country codes. For example, UK has a different lifecycle system. We're going to concentrate on Generic Top Level Domain names (GTLDs – which are .com, .org, .net, etc.) and we've used information to create this lifecycle from ICANN's website. ICANN stands for the Internet Corporation of Assigned Names and Numbers and they're basically the global coordinators of domain names.
This sequence can also vary between registrars (it can be at the discretion of registrars as well), so it's important that you check the terms and conditions of your registrar.
With that said, let's take a look at the main domain lifecycle.
If a domain name is available, it can be registered for between one and ten years and then, if it's not reregistered at the end of this period, it hits what's known as its expired phase.
Now, if the registered owner keeps the contact details up to date with the registrar then the registrar will usually bombard them with loads of emails before this happens (just letting them know that there's an expiration around the corner and they need to renew the domain or transfer it). It doesn't necessarily mean that the registrar loses the domain at this point because most registrars will allow it to go into what's known as the auto renew grace period, which means for the next 45 days you can still renew it and you can still transfer it if you'd like to.
If you don't renew or transfer it, at the end of these 45 days then the website and any associated email with that website will go down.
Again, this can vary between registrars, so make sure you check your terms and conditions.
It will then move into what's known as its redemption grace period for the next 30 days, which means some registrars will allow you to redeem the domain name, but it will usually cost you quite a bit more to do so.
If it's not renewed by the end of these 30 days then the registrar will lose the actual domain name and then it will hit its pending delete stage for the next five days where it sits in a kind of no man's land (where no one can get their hands on it) and then at the end of this period it becomes available again.
Opportunities in The Lifecycle
Now, there are opportunities to acquire or backorder domain names throughout this whole lifecycle, and the main areas are new domains, aged domains, deleting domains and deleted domains.
Most people are only aware that you can register new domain names. They're totally unaware that there are Dynamite Domains available way beyond this point.
Understanding the whole lifecycle plays a huge part in seeing opportunities where others don't and it allows you to capitalize on the various different lifecycle stages, so that you can maximize your SEO advantage and acquire dynamite domain names to help you dominate your niche.