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A relative let my wife's family .com domain name expire. Apart from that being annoying in itself, the domain now redirects to random spam blogs and is owned by someone with almost 5000 other domains according to DomainTools. They also want a fortune to return it.

The family name is pretty unusual and completely unrelated to the spam. So how did they manage to snap the domain name up so quickly and what value is it to them?

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Where did you register the domain? – Lèse majesté Feb 17 '11 at 8:14
@Lèse: I never had the domain, it was the family member that let it lapse. Almost certain they used GoDaddy. – Alex Angas Feb 17 '11 at 9:32
Well, Godaddy encourages squatting and works with domain speculators, so it's no surprise that that it got bought up so quickly. – Lèse majesté Feb 17 '11 at 12:26
up vote 7 down vote accepted

Why/How do expired domain names get bought so quickly?

"They also want a fortune to return it." - That's domain speculation and that's why.

How do enterprising domain squatters know which domains to buy? There are a variety of traffic ranking sites (including Alexa and SEOmoz's Open Site Explorer) which allow domain squatters to determine which domain names may be worth acquiring (in the case of common names, the domain is probably worth acquiring if only to ransom it).

Squatters can see when a domain will expire by reviewing WHOIS data - there are even sites which broadcast expiring domains after aggregating ranking and WHOIS data.

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They are bought so quickly because there a lot of services that do this the name of this practice is DomainDropping, if you google for it you'll find a lot of websites that offer you the possibily to buy domains. They use BOTS so as soon as a domain is available their bot crawls the website, buy the domain, register it and ask you a fee to sell it. This is business man, if you are looking for an expired domain you must ask your self what you wanna do online. In my opinion is better to imagine a custom new domain name than buy an 'used one' because you'll never know how it was used before!

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