A quick bit of background: I run a small (single person) software company, and operate under a .com.au domain that I have had for around 8 years. There has always been a .com domain of the same name, operating in an entirely different sector and country, but with not much going on on their website. I have always wanted the .com equivalent of my current domain, just because over the 8 years not only has business improved a little, but I also left Australia and, of course, a .com is just a little more desirable. With that in mind, I had the .com on backorder with my Australian registrar for quite a few years - but it never came up.

In the last few weeks, I suddenly got an influx of offers to buy this .com domain, seemingly from a number of different entities. First thoughts - scam of some sort. After checking out the WHOIS, it does seem that the .com expired last September, but my backorder had lapsed (great!). Registrant details are hidden behind PERFECT PRIVACY, LLC in Florida, and the domain status is clientTransferProhibited and the domain servers are NS1.PENDINGRENEWALDELETION.COM.

I am really curious as to what is actually going on here. Is it just a scam, because people have scraped details of an expiring domain, or do these people actually have access? If so, how? Has it been purchased? I didn't (and don't) know much about the murky world of domain name transfers, but SnapNames came up in my search and I looked on there. I did find the .com domain there, with a status of "Closed". Does that mean it came up in an auction and was bought? Or is another possibility that it is coming up for sale, and multiple people are trying to work out if it is worth buying and flipping to me? If it has sold, is there any way of finding out how much it went for? That might give me a bit of leverage in any future negotiations.

It is not, I don't think, a valuable name. One of the potential sellers has offered it to me for $1299, which I might consider paying, but another question would be how does one go about purchasing a domain safely from an internet unknown?

  • Your question is offtopic here, but "I suddenly got an influx of offers to buy this .com domain, seemingly from a number of different entities" a domain name has only a single owner (registrant) so only it can offers you to buy it. Of course he can use intermediaries (brokers). But note that there is also a lot of scams with companies luring you into buying a domain which doesn't even exist or for which they are not the registrant anyway. Other than that you can not have proper answers without knowing the domain. See other answers on gTLD lifecycle. Jan 15 at 4:26
  • Thanks Patrick. Yes, I understand the basics which is why I am curious as to what is going on here. Choices are: 1. scam (many people are aware that this domain just sold, and are trying to scam me), 2. many different parties are acting for one owner (seems weird, but OK), or 3. the domain is coming up for sale somewhere and people are testing to see if they can sell it on if they buy it. If it was 3, I would be interested to know where this sale is happening.
    – Matt
    Jan 15 at 16:28
  • "3, I would be interested to know where this sale is happening." I don't think this is possible, you can check on various "usual" market places but exhaustivity would be hard to achieve. I would say your energy is better spent instead, either just discard communications if not really interested by the domain, or if interested either contacting directly its registrant to see if he wants to sell it (or finding it listed somewhere, but sometimes domains are listed not by the registrant...) and wait its "deletion", which is a risky choice. Jan 15 at 16:57
  • Suggested Google search: "domain front running". And if you're interested in that domain name, probably it currently resolves to a placeholder page saying the domain name expired and a link to Namejet, the entity selling out expired domain names from Netsol and a few registrars. It's also possible you missed the deadline and then the name will be deleted, possibly snapped by a dropcatcher but that's a different story.
    – Anonymous
    Jan 17 at 17:30
  • Thanks - I figured it must be something like this (front running), but I haven't been able to find where the sale might be happening. I have looked on snapnames and namejet. The domain actually points to a NetworkSolutions placeholder at the moment, but they appear to be linked to namejet. Oh well - I have actually responded to one of these people now, and if they actually do have/can get the name for a reasonable price then I would consider it, but I'm not too bothered either way (I've done fine without it for 8 years).
    – Matt
    Jan 17 at 22:24

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