Is there any way that registering a domain for a longer period of time could lead to more inbound offers?

Expired Domains

I got an email from a startup founder I’ve been friends with for years this morning. Their company has raised over $30M, they’re kicking ass and taking names, growing like crazy and making their clients and investors happy…and like most startup founders, they don’t know too much about domain names.

They are interested in buying a domain and asked me the following question.

“We want to buy a domain name, and luckily when we looked it up it turns out the owner is going to let it go and it’s going to expire this year, where is the best place to buy it to make sure we’re the first to get it?”

This isn’t the first time I’ve seen this confusion, it’s easily the 30th time. Many people have no idea that people only register domains for a year and then set them to auto-renew. They think that if a WHOIS search shows a domain is going to expire, that means the owner has decided to let it go.

Of course I explained to them how domains work and that while some people register domains for multiple years, most people register for a year and just let it auto-renew. This made me think, I wonder what the impact of registering a domain name for longer has on the number of offers it gets?

If someone sees a domain registered for multiple years are they more likely to reach out? My guess is there’s probably little-to-no impact but I do know in this case that my friend was planning to wait until the expiry date and then make a move. Whenever someone waits, things can change and a seller can lose a deal.

So I thought I’d turn it over to you, my readers and hear what you think. Does registering a domain for longer increase your changes of getting an offer? Like I said, I don’t think it does, but hey – what do I know?

I want to hear from you, comment and let your voice be heard!

{ 12 comments… add one }

  • Matt August 26, 2019, 7:54 pm

    I’ve thought about this a few times especially if there are deals where you get discounts for multi-year renewals.

    On the one hand, to some, having a domain with an expiry date 10 years from now may take the air out of their sails and leave them resigned to the fact that if they want it they have to pay up. No waiting until it expires and that the seller can more reasonably justify that “It was purchased for a big project, but make me an offer big enough…!”

    On the other hand, some folks might just move on and think that there is less chance that it is for sale – they may find another domain. Also they may be missing out on the emotional cycle a whois onlooker goes through, thinking the domain is going to be released, getting excited, then it’s renewed for another year – this experience may make them want it more and reach out.

    When I was more involved in the drops and catching domains, from memory they’d drop 92 days after expiring. Registrants (usually those with Nominet membership) would wait until 91 days and then renew. You’d be watching amazing names in expired status for 3 months just for them to be renewed at the last minute. Part of this was free advertising to folks watching the drops and part of it was to distract other catchers, dangling these amazing names so we’d waste EPP/DAC quota trying to catch domains that were renewed a few hours earlier while the guy running that strategy would have a better shot at catching other domains that were being released (focusing their DAC/EPP requests/allowance on domains that were really being released). Really couldn’t believe that registrants of premium domains probably valued at £20k+ would “risk” leaving them in expired status to renew them at the last minute. Those were fun days.

    The year by year renewals also help with cashflow, especially for bigger portfolio holders and it means that additional years renewals are not needlessly paid for.

    All in all I think one year at a time is a better net game plan.

  • Snoopy August 26, 2019, 8:05 pm

    I don’t think it would make a difference. Doesn’t sound like this startup founder is really serious about it if the plan is to wait for it to expire, that isn’t taking action and sounds like their budget is close to zero.

    The only thing I think is that registering for a long time out may send a message about value/importance of the name, even that is probably not much of a factor.

    • Matt August 26, 2019, 8:42 pm

      “Their company has raised over $30M, they’re kicking ass and taking names, growing like crazy and making their clients and investors happy” – Morgan

      Snoopy says, “Doesn’t sound like this startup founder is really serious about it if the plan is to wait for it to expire, that isn’t taking action and sounds like their budget is close to zero.”

      Snoopy, at school did your teacher go through main ideas in a text, making a claim, citing evidence?

      • Snoopy August 26, 2019, 9:15 pm

        Watch as they sit back and do nothing about the domain. They hope to get the name for $10 when it expires. That is the biggest “kick the can down the road” I have heard all week.

        Raising a lot of money does not mean they are serious about buying a domain.

  • Jason Of Florida August 26, 2019, 8:31 pm

    I’ve thought about this – but am unsure tbh. I think education is key, and part of that will be lifting the vail of secrecy that exists around domain names and how the internet works.

    • Snoopy August 26, 2019, 9:19 pm

      They probably just need to get a broker. No point trying to “educate” people or lift any “veils of secrecy” just like I don’t need to be educated about tires and engine gaskets when I go to the mechanics.

      If they were serious they’d take action.

  • Mark Thorpe August 27, 2019, 8:08 am

    “Does registering a domain for longer increase your chances of getting an offer?”
    You have a better chance of receiving a serious offer and less chance of a low-ball offer or no offer at all (in this case) IMO.

  • Joe August 27, 2019, 12:29 pm

    In my view, a domain name with a distant expiration date conveys the message that the owner wants to keep it for the long term and/or has development plans on it. That’s why you normally find them in domains related to corporations and solid brands.

  • CrankyOldMan August 27, 2019, 12:35 pm

    IF it’s a domain of some real value why wouldn’t a person choose to extend the registration period a few years ahead? I mean, timeliness often comes into play and life intervenes – accidents, illness, disease, death, etc. – and if your prime domains are forever a few months away from expiration aren’t you asking for trouble . . or messing with the kid’s . . . cough . . . gag . . . inheritance?

    I have no doubt that extending the registration period, at the very least, sends “the hopeful” in search of greener domain-drop pastures. It’s also reasonable to assume that an interested party will likely see an extended registration as a sign that the registrant means to do something with the domain, be that to simply hold onto it or develop it.

    As always, I defer to the superior domain wisdom of Snoopy.

  • Kevin Fink August 27, 2019, 6:59 pm

    I’ve actually been thinking quite a bit about this over the past year, as I have had some inquiries where parties seem to be interested, then disappear closer to renewal date, then hedge, then…etc etc.

    I agree with those that say it could insinuate that a domain owner has “long term” plans and turn off said buyer, who may go in search of something new.

    But I also strongly feel that someone / some entity that *absolutely* needed the name would *at least* attempt to negotiate – say, if they saw that it was out of reach for 5, or 20, years. I just don’t have anecdotal evidence to prove it, but it would be interesting to test.

  • Jason E. Franklin August 28, 2019, 5:52 am

    I believe it helps create more offers for the reason of perception. Like you said, just because it says it’s only renewed for one year doesn’t mean the owner doesn’t have auto renew on. However people looking to buy know someone who has the domain renewed for 10 years doesn’t plan on letting the domain go unless they are offered something appealing. Whereas a name that is set on auto renew the owner can turn that off at anytime before the renewal and there is a possibility it may still drop. Also longer registration that you can see shows the potential buyer that the owner likes or believes in the name so much they were willing to pay the renewal for 2,3,5,10 etc. years in advance. Those are my thoughts.

  • CB August 28, 2019, 2:38 pm

    I have received offers on names right after I extended the time by multiple years on names before. I’m guessing people were watching them, then saw a multiple year renewal so figured they better ask if the name is for same versus continue to just wait.

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